We act like tourists. For a donation equal to the usual weekly rent for a car, I rented the donkey cart for a week. With that Jens and I make the island unsafe. It's now a home game for me, and I could work as a tour guide in Aruba.
The California Lighthouse is located on the northern tip of Aruba. For me it's a kind of culture shock, because when I last visited the island in April there was a complete shutdown, the border was closed and the airport closed. Everyone is talking about the fact that there aren't enough tourists on the island, but for my purposes the number is easily enough.
We briefly enjoy the beautiful view in the clear air. Then we continue to the famous Altovista Chapel, a small Catholic chapel with a Way of the Cross. During his stay in March, Jens could practically not see anything of the island.
For this shot I had to twist myself quite a bit so that no other tourists would come into the picture. I was just able to hide the booth with the knickknacks behind the church. As we approach the interior of the church, we are almost besieged by knickknacks and candle sellers.
Why did I park the car on the other side of the church? If the sellers had seen the license plate on the car, they'd leave us alone. You can easily differentiate between rental cars and private cars.
Close to the chapel is a kind of zoo, Philips Animal Garden. The business started as a shelter for animals from private ownership, which made too much work for their owners. That's why there is a lonely monkey, various snakes and even a crocodile. I haven't seen this zoo either. It was closed on my rental car tour in April.
A bored young man collects an entry fee of five dollars per person, but we get a small bag with carrots and pellets to feed us. Just feed the animals with legs, no birds, no fish. Okay, we can do that. We shouldn't feed the monkeys either. Do they have no legs? We walk into the area. There is a sign at the first enclosure that says “Shetlandṕony”. The residents approach us immediately and we see familiar faces. The pony on the left is a normal sized horse, we don't need to talk about the long ears on the right.
We find several rabbit houses in which quite a few rabbits live in a confined space. They look lively and cute, but I still wonder if the enclosure wouldn't have been one size larger.
The pigs look lively and happy, the enclosure also looks a bit small here. There are no employees on the lonely grounds of the zoo to talk to about the animals. That's a shame, we do it a little differently at Donkey Sanctuary.
The big ratites look into the camera lens. In the picture it looks like they have plenty of space and exercise, but the fence is so close that you can't even see it in the picture. The two birds have about 50 square meters of space. I repeat myself.
Why? Why do you have to put goats in an enclosure in Aruba? Goats get along well here in the wild, find enough food and there are no accidents with cars. Why? Because, unlike the donkeys, the goats simply run away when they are afraid. When in doubt, the donkey stops in the middle of the road. The only reason I can think of is that the goats are in the cage because of their cuteness.
I don't want to do anything bad about this zoo either. The dromedary is from a private home and would certainly not have survived if this zoo had not existed. A lonely dromedary with his baby. I would have liked to ask a member of staff about the history of the animal.
Feeding a dromedary is like feeding a donkey. They can even do the cute facial expression too. The baby, of course, has the usual cuteness factor. All baby animals are cute, aren't they?
We leave the zoo with mixed feelings. Or the animal shelter. I don't think it's worth another visit. And now I know what I'll tell Donkey Sanctuary visitors when they ask me about it. So far I could only say that I haven't been there yet.
In Aruba it is only a few minutes' drive to the next attraction. A rare rock formation unique to Aruba is Ayo Rock.
Jens is excited, so am I. On my last visit, which was before the rainy season, the whole landscape was sandy and red. Now it is mostly green. We climb the stairs to the summit and enjoy the view.
The so-called Natural Bridge is very close by, just a few minutes' drive away. It is also considered one of the really big tourist destinations.
With the best photo light and between two guided tours, we manage to photograph the bridge without people. There is really a lot going on on the island. Jens doesn't think it's too tight.
The view over the coast, which is so beautifully green, is wonderful. We are exhausted, have seen a lot in a short time. We choose to relax in the water. Only a few minutes drive from the Natural Bridge is a natural pool. In front of that, tons of ATVs are waiting for customers. That is new.
We drive up to the entry ladder, only see a guided tour splash down. That's good, they usually go away after a few minutes. This tour is no exception. While Jens is going down the ladder, the group is getting ready to leave. Wonderful, we have everything to ourselves.
It is only a few meters over sharp-edged corals until we are floating in the cool water. The big waves from outside transform the pool into a flow channel. It's wonderfully relaxing.
Jens is thrilled. Now he's arrived in Aruba. We set up a small loudspeaker box, the acoustics are great. The vaulted walls reflect the sound, the dull rumble of the waves gives the music a very special charm. We regret not having any chilled drinks on hand. This is not the last time we are here.