Everything is relative in life. Just a few weeks ago I lamented that we were stuck with various defects in Aruba, that the entry regulations of other countries were preventing us from continuing our journey and that the time would be long. In less than a week, Barbara will be here and the crew is complete. We have a rental car for a week, we will show Barbara Aruba, do a bulk purchase and set sail. It's harder for me than ever.
Regular readers of this blog will have noticed that the number of posts has dropped dramatically. Only a small part of this is due to the fact that there is hardly any news here, and the greater part is due to the fact that the news is not suitable for the blog.
On the Tuesday after Easter I go to get a new V-belt. Soraida knows all the auto parts stores and drives me from one to the next. Unfortunately, that's not enough. I was very happy when I bought the Mercedes car engine when I bought Sissi. The model has been sold millions of times around the world. So I had the hope that I could get spare parts for this engine all over the world, after all, there are many more cars than boats on our planet.
The first stop is at Morgenster. The shop is named after its address, by the way, because the street on which it is located is also called Morgenster. I have the old V-belt with me, the clerk looks in his computer and then disappears into the warehouse. I am optimistic. After half an eternity, the young man comes back and says that he should actually have one, but couldn't find it. Okay, that's the way things are in Aruba. Off to the next store, just across the street.
This business, like so many others, is run by the Chinese. There is no computer here. The boss calls his wife and shows her the fan belt. She knows immediately that she doesn't have this model. It takes less than two minutes. I'm waiting for Soraida, who picks me up again after a few minutes.
In the jR Autocenter, the employee does not use a computer. He notes the number on the V-belt and measures it again to be on the safe side. It starts off well, there is no regretful “no” right away. Nevertheless, the waiting time until the “no” is quite short. Soraida picks me up again and drops me off at the next store.
I can at least order the V-belt from NAPA. He should come by the end of next week.
To be on the safe side, I ask Barbara to get another one in Germany. The good old Mercedes 190 did not make it to Aruba in such large numbers that there would now be a significant number on the island. Aruba is dominated by Japanese cars, with Europeans being the big exception. If the Netherlands had an automobile industry, it would be different, but the car transporters that regularly unload their goods here usually have the Japanese flag blowing in the wind. Incidentally, there is a large selection of V-belts for Volvo Penta or Yanmar engines at Budget Marine.
So I've spent a lot of time on the bus in the last few days and weeks and was able to combine the pleasant with the useful. On the way there are sometimes strange sights, such as this group of goats that have crossed a roundabout and are now walking on the expressway.
Or this funeral: This is where the members of the drag club gather and have brought their racing cars on trailers to pay their last respects to one of their club members. This does not happen without a certain amount of noise, because the motors of the drag racers are in operation and are revved up every now and then.
A little ritual has become common with Jens and me. About once a week we go to the Flor de Oriente, a Dutch restaurant in Oranjestad. They cook very tasty from fresh ingredients and there is not only the usual fast food, which is otherwise very common in Aruba. The taste of the food here is more geared towards European tastes than American tastes.
We can also stroke the cute little kittens in the pile from time to time. They are still very young, but they have super soft fur. If they're not frightened by a falling chair, you can even take them on your lap and stroke them. Sometimes there is also a special kind of encounter.
The Freewinds has often been the topic of the blog. During our last visit to the Flor, these three figures suddenly come running down the street. Inwardly, I think that's really annoying me right now. When I usually see them doing their “work”, they mostly disinfect the tables in the restaurants, then they move on to the next restaurant. I don't want them to disinfect our table, I'm eating. But it doesn't get that far. The three of them position themselves with laser rangefinders and measure the restaurant's terrace. The owner is watching. She was not asked for permission, but neither did she stop the hustle and bustle. The distance between the tables is also measured. Technically, that's not a problem here, because the tables are even further apart than required by the rules. It feels weird though.
In order to be able to spend an undisturbed weekend together with Soraida, I was able to get an apartment through a donkey friend. I prepare dinner on board and package it so that it only needs to be warmed up in a water bath. I'll get us a magic hat because the bus is known on the island as a sore thumb.
With this small, inconspicuous rental car, we can move around Aruba undetected. For Soraida, the passenger seat feels a bit strange. But the oncoming bus drivers do not react to their greetings, which they apparently send fully automatically. We are invisible.
It's going to be a wonderful weekend. It's great to spend a weekend with someone you love.
So I'm traveling for my pleasure. And what is Jens doing during this time? He is feeling well. And he makes sure that our cockpit gets a nice new coat of paint. Otherwise he rides the on-board bike all over the island or puts on his running shoes for evening physical exercise.
Four coats of paint and four coats of varnish should be enough for a long time. The last coat of paint only lasted two years and consisted of two coats of paint and two coats of varnish.
I didn't sleep well last night. A big American fishing boat filled thousands of liters of diesel in the afternoon and then parked next to us all night with the engine running. The air conditioning must be running. I do not like that.