After a fun post 4th of July cruise over to Sydney, BC and Butchart Gardens on the back side of the Sannich Peninsula, we parked Endless Song in Anacortes, drove to Seattle to pick up our son Christian, and headed to SeaTac Airpot. The time had come to see the Caribbean…specifically, to see One Happy Island; Aruba.
This jaunt to the warm breezy island off the coast of Venezuela may sound more like a wintertime destination, and in a way it was. Just not our wintertime. More on this in a minute.
It all goes back more than twenty years when my sister first hosted a teenage Uruguayan named Antonio Bazzino as a foreign exchange student. He was a great kid, and as he was here for a year he went to all the family events and we all got to know him. After she got to know Antonio, my sister Rebecca and the Bazzino family said, hey…we’ve got other kids…you’ve got other kids. And for a number of years…there were a lot of kids coming and going. One of my nephews, Jared, went and lived with the Bazzinos for a year, coming back fluent in Spanish. Antonio’s sisters Victoria and Laura had their turn spending a year on Ashmead ranch in Idaho. My niece Leah followed her brother down to Uruguay, again coming back fluent in Spanish. Another Bazzino daughter, Clara, came for a long visit, not a year, but enough time for us all to meet her too. My sister, her husband Jeff and others went to Bazzino family wedding in Uruguay. You get the idea. Lots of fun family contact that continues.
So today, Alvaro and Fiorealla Bazzino have a big happy extended family at home (all those kids are growing up and making babies)…and some folks they are very fond of in the US. They also don’t like the cold of wintertime in Canelones, Uruguay. For years they have been escaping the winter cold by staying in, you got it, Aruba.
Now our wintertime trip is making more sense. We normally have a big family event/reunion/campout in Idaho in July. We’ve moved the Galena Summit around in some years. This year, it was a really big move….Wet Galena:Aruba.
So with 19 of our family coming, we needed a lot of space. My nephew Jared pounded Air B&B and found a three condo complex, each condo with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a kitchen. It also had a pool, BBQ center outside, sand area for kids, and a rooftop lounge for adults. It was a ton of money, but divided by all of us….not so much. But the space was perfect.
What can we say about Aruba. It really is “One Happy Island”. All the folks we met were the nicest, and just wanted you to love their home while you were visiting. We did a lot of our own cooking, and we explored all the nearby beaches for snorkling.
The week was a social whirl, with some days and evenings spent at our condo with it’s pool, and some days and evenings spent at the resort where the Bazzino family was staying. Since the two locations were only 7 minutes apart by car, it really wasn’t hard to get back and forth as needed.
We also found the time to wander Aruba to figure out where folks made a living if they weren’t in the tourism industry; oil refinery and, surprise, aloe farming. We also found historic churches and lighthouses to climb, and restaurants where the locals go to eat. Yes, we’re talking about you ZeeRovers
So will we go back? Hard to say. The Caribbean is large, and there are so many other islands to explore too. But if some large group of our friends wanted to get away somewhere warm, that was easy…we’d be back to Aruba in a minute.