Break something

There are little things in life that remind me of my German origins over and over again. I hold the German virtue of punctuality very high. That makes me one of the few in Aruba. I can make an appointment with Anneke at a certain time. With her, I know for sure that she will be on time, most of the time she is even at the meeting point before the agreed time. So I stand in front of the Animal Shelter at eight o'clock in the morning and am once again the first.

One of the cats that live in front of the shelter

In addition to the cats that live in the shelter, there are also a few outside the door. A particularly beautiful lady is waiting with me for the key to the front door. Little by little the other helpers arrive, and at some point the lady with the key appears. So far so good. Then the cats can get their food and water in front of the door.

Elvis

This is Elvis. He is five years old and has lived in the Animal Shelter his entire life. The beautiful tomcat is somewhat shy of people. That's probably why no one adopted him.

Wooden ceiling with water damage

I am continuing my renovation work on board. The wooden ceiling in the salon has to go down. It is no longer beautiful anyway. You can clearly see different places where it has suffered severe water damage. In addition, power cables that are routed under the ceiling must be replaced.

Break it - first part. It starts above the navigation corner.

Screw by screw, board by board. Gradually, the wooden ceiling moves into the cockpit. Little by little I find the construction sites for the coming weeks. I expected most of them.

Break it up - part two. Now all the boards are down.

Four years ago I messed around with the electrics in a few places. That fell on my feet after the water ingress. Instead of just reconnecting the existing cables, I would have better swapped them for tinned cables. Then I would have more than 7V voltage on the lamps on the port side. I'm doing it right this time.

The wooden ceiling is history

All you have to do is drive the boards to the dumpster, then another important step has been taken. My construction is going slowly but it is going on. I have some work to do on deck that I have to do before 9am in the morning - after that the sun is too hot. I can do the work below deck at any time of the day, I always work up a sweat.

Three new donkeys in the Donkey Sanctuary

Three new donkeys have arrived at the Donkey Sanctuary. They are very beautiful, not too fat and still a little shy of people. They like my carrots. When they are neutered, they can join the other donkeys in the large group.

Kerstin also arrived at the Donkey Sanctuary this week. This is important to me in that Kerstin is very nice, she was here once before last year. Because she's so kind, she put some things in my suitcase for me that I can't buy in Aruba. No, no cider, it would have been way too heavy. I now have a new phone.

Almost burst

The old phone has almost stripped its back and grown to double its thickness. I'm glad the battery didn't burn out while charging. So I'm sitting in the inhospitable salon and transferring the data from the old to the new device when it starts to rain heavily outside. Hurricane Elsa has moved on, we have wind again and the typical heavy rain events. It drips onto the coffee table. It's dripping where I would have last expected it to be.

Leak

I think the previous owner tried it before. Unfortunately, water comes through here and that already during a commercial Aruban heavy rain. A construction site that I did not expect. Of course, again in an extremely accessible place.

This is what it looks like from above. The water does not get into the boat through this hole, the leak is almost exactly below the tip of the green arrow. Inside the base for the fan.

One day later, my right elbow answers. It reminds me that the constant use of the computer mouse gave me a golfer's elbow years ago. Oh how fine, even lifting a full coffee cup causes me pain. Now I have to keep him calm too.

Heavy metal

A few days ago I wrote about the destruction of the closet and the removal of the fittings. I then took the broken fitting to a specialist and discussed what the replacement part should look like. Then a week went by, I haven't heard from the good man. This is unusual even for Aruba. So I call the following week and lo and behold, the part is promised to me for Thursday or Friday. On Friday morning I received the message that the hardware can now be picked up. Very nice.

Old and new side by side in comparison

However, Saturday is first dedicated to the game of the German team. Soraida and I are looking forward to the result. This time we benefit from the own goals and in the end it doesn't matter who scores them for us. I fondly remember a game of our Eintracht against Mainz, in which Eintracht didn't score a single goal in a 2-2 final score. Why not also at the EM?

On Sunday I noticed that I didn't have a reasonable sealant for the fittings, on Monday I went to the animal shelter and then bought the sealant, so it would take until Tuesday before I could start installing.

Morning visitor to Sissi

I get up with the sun. I want to finish the work on deck as early as possible. While I am still enjoying my morning coffee, I notice a four-legged visitor on board. How sweet! I'll give him some treats. Then I get to work and after just under an hour the fitting on the starboard side is in place. This is real heavy metal.

Starboard side

Now I can put the closet back together. Before doing this, the autopilot control is screwed on properly. Of course, the longest screws available on board are a few centimeters too short. That means - of course - a detour to the nearest hardware store. I also lay a power line, then I can finally let the lamp on my pillow shine again.

The giver it autopilot and the new light pipe

The cabinet puzzle does not return to its original state entirely correctly. A couple of boards, which I have freed from their glueing with too rough force, unfortunately refuse to work with me. Sooner or later, however, it is me and not the closet that will win. It almost looks like nothing happened again. If I want to get to those bolts again, I can get to them in five minutes. Maybe 10 minutes, because the autopilot transmitter has to be removed non-destructively beforehand.

Almost finished, all that's missing is a strip on the ceiling

It is printed on the tube of the sealant that it must be used within 24 hours of opening. Actually, I wanted to give myself a day to put the clothes back in the closet and dismantle the closet on the port side. Then I would have to buy a new tube of the stuff, it would have been another 30 florins away. I'd rather do my job and do everything in one day. I got up early, it's not even ten o'clock.

At 10:30 am my things are all back in their closets. Then I make a plan because if I fiddle with the closet for two days, the sealant dries up too. All I have to do is break a single board out of the cabinet structure and then I can reach the two bolts that I need to get to.

New fittings on the port side. Heavy metal.

First remove the old sealant from the area, clean the surface thoroughly and then apply the new sealant. The two bolts slide into place without grumbling. Then I can tighten the nuts from below. With a few drops of wood glue and a screw clamp, I bring the cabinet back into shape. What I would not have dared to believe is that I can replace the fittings on both sides within a day.

The port closet. I marked the board with a screw clamp and an arrow.

What is left? After the project is before the project. The backstay is back in place. For the fine tuning and the correct shroud tension, I'll have the rigger come again. He can then immediately check whether the rig survived the breakage of the fitting. The next project is the ingress of water in the forward cabin, which is particularly noticeable on the starboard bow. The cause needs to be found and remedied.

So I clear out the front cabin and put everything on Jens’s mattress. Genoa, mainsail, dozens of pillows and blankets. What you don't have lying around on your ship. Jens' bunk is full before I can even empty half the front. I can also accommodate the steel part of the cake stand here.

Sail and ceiling storage

The work goes into the next section. But I can't have fun on board all day, I want to do something with animals. Starting again with the donkeys is unfortunately an impossibility. Desiree will probably hate me all her life. So I check out one of the local animal shelters that Aruba Animal Shelter. The donkeys are pretty cute, but so are the cats. Not only little Jip will make it into the blog.

Oh yes, there is still a choice. Parliamentary elections will take place in Aruba on Friday. The election campaign is still very loud and is present on the streets. Today there was a report on the radio on the topic, because alcohol is not allowed to be sold on Thursday and Friday because of the elections on the island. Neither in supermarkets nor in the bars and restaurants that are frequented by the locals. Only the hotels are allowed to serve foreign tourists, because after all, their vacation should not be spoiled.

The football rolls - EM in Aruba

In Aruba, too, people are talking about the European Football Championship. Aruba is not a big football nation, its own kickers are just about to fail to qualify for the World Cup. However, football has a few fans in Aruba, one of them being Soraida. Before we tried to leave Aruba, Jens and I made some fan articles available to her so that she could decorate the bus and house, because she is a declared fan of the German national team. Since we have enough German flags on board, one of them went to Soraida's house. Likewise a scarf in black, red and gold.

German flag at Soraida, the MEP canvassing for the neighbors.

The Teuton looks much more decorative than the neighbour's election advertisement. This is also a greeting to the neighbors across the street who support the Dutch team. Note the palm tree in the lower right corner of the picture. The television is switched on, we don't see anything of the Greenpeace stunt. The game begins ... you know how it turned out.

I'd rather write about traffic lights now. It's a lot more fun. In Oranjestad there are at least five or six exciting crossings with traffic lights. As you can see, you can't see anything. The lights are off.

Traffic light intersection with switched off traffic lights

Depending on the direction, this intersection is very difficult to see and deserves its traffic lights. It is a mystery to me why it is turned off. This is not only the case at this intersection, it is the case at almost all traffic light intersections in Aruba.

Also switched off - the traffic lights at this intersection

This intersection is also difficult to see, the traffic lights are also switched off. I saw traffic lights in Noord that only glow black, also in San Nicolas. Wherever there is a traffic light on this island - it is off.

Really? No! There is only one intersection in Oranjestad where black is not the dominant traffic light color. Why? Nor is it worse or more dangerous than the other hybrids. Not every puzzle on earth can be solved.

Only working traffic light intersection in Aruba. At the top right the logo of the largest petrol station chain.

There is a gas station just a few steps away from this intersection. No comparison with our petrol stations, where you get your hands dirty and the vehicle has to fill the tank with the fuel itself. Here you have a choice. A job that has long since died out here makes it possible, the gas station attendant.

Few of them drive to the self-service petrol pumps here, because that is a very cumbersome solution. You go to the cash register, pay for the gas, then you go to the gas pump and fill up. If you want to fill up, the treasurer would like to have a deposit. Then he activates the gas pump. Then a second course to the cash register and pay. No thanks.

Gas station attendant at work

The gas attendants fill the tank and collect the money. You don't have to leave the vehicle. Very practical, comfortable and it creates jobs that are not or only slightly dependent on tourism. Such jobs are rather the exception in Aruba, the largest part of the economy here is tourism.

Back to football for a moment. On Saturday the kick-off is here at 12 noon. Some passengers will feel that, because there is one less bus on the route.

Decoration on the garden gate and in the bus. Sad the result.

The day after the first soccer game, we work a little in the garden. It urgently needs a makeover. In particular, the two palm trees on the left and right of the entrance stairs are extremely annoying. They block access to the stairs and spread more and more. I shorten the palm trees, thin out the palm fronds a little, and use them to fill the trunk of my car.

Donkey with delicacies

The green waste is recycled. So then everyone becomes a winner after all. Soraida wins nicely trimmed palms and the donkeys win a delicious additional meal. At least the ones standing at the entrance fence. It's not that much green waste either.

This is what winners look like!

Hardware stores

I was a little confused last year. When I was helping with the donkeys, the manager explained to me how often she goes to the hardware store - usually four times a week. That seemed very common to me. I now understand why that is the case. I now visit one of the hardware stores almost every other day myself. For example today I was at Kooyman's.

Kooyman. Open on sundays.

The story is quickly told. A few weeks ago, the battery of one of the two multimeters on board was empty. That's not a problem at all, because I have a second multimeter whose battery I replaced last year. These batteries usually last for many years, and humans don't have to measure that much. The second device isn't quite as good as the first, but that's usually why it's second choice. So the battery (a 9V block) comes on my eternal spiritual shopping list and joins various kinds of screws and other things that I would have to get at the hardware store. Should. Could. Things that I don't need right away.

This multimeter was initially measured empty. Now with a fresh battery again

All of Aruba is packed with hardware stores. There are Kooyman, Doit Centers and the countless Chinese hardware stores - the Chinese specialize in selling small quantities. Whenever I need a slice of sandpaper, I always have to buy a whole pack at the big hardware stores. The Chinese also sells them to me individually.

Yong Chang

It takes almost nowhere on the island more than five minutes to get to one of the many hardware stores. So the storage at home is replaced by storage in the hardware store and the three required screws are bought individually. Storage in the hardware store is also much cheaper because I only have to pay for the parts that I actually need. Since most of the shops are also open on Sundays, there are never any supply problems. Almost never, because sometimes a certain product is sold out. Then it is usually sold out everywhere because a container is delayed again.

Doit Center. Closed on sundays.

At the checkout, I am always in good company with my mini-purchases. The other customers don't buy anymore either. The actual demand is bought. No more. The waiting time at the checkout is always very limited, the time required for such a purchase is minimal. The reader in Germany may find this method extremely inefficient. However, it is only half as bad if you bundle shopping with other purchases, such as groceries. The only thing that I couldn't concentrate on was today's visit.

Soraida's bus doesn't really want to start on some days. A few weeks ago I had already measured the starter battery, at the time it was inconspicuous and seemed in good shape.

The second multimeter. Fewer functions, now with a fresh battery

This morning I get a message from Soraida that her bus has starting problems again. Of course, I immediately offer her to measure the battery again. Of course, I use the remaining multimeter for this. That doesn't look good at all. The rotatable switch was accidentally moved during the last transport. The switch is in a different position from “Off” and the not-so-old battery is definitely empty. So I go to Kooyman's and get three 9V blocks. It has to be Kooyman because I've definitely seen those things there before. I've looked for them in vain elsewhere.

All four cats on one counter

The street election campaign is in an annoying top form. Anneke was too late with the donkeys because she got stuck twice on her route in a traffic jam caused by election campaigners. In the meantime I've got used to not following the main roads, but instead driving across them and using smaller side roads. This gives me new insights into Aruba and usually I'm not stuck in traffic. In any case, not many visitors found their way to the Donkey Sanctuary yesterday, in my opinion it is due to the election campaign.

In addition, I still had to think about Klaus today, who wrote to me a while ago that I have probably adapted to local habits a lot more than I might even realize. That may be.

On the boat and on the road

The new corona rules have been in effect with us since today. The new rules mean that there are actually no more rules. For example, the obligation to wear masks has been lifted, the masks are only recommended. Soraida, for example, immediately said that with her no passengers could get on the bus without a mask. I would keep it that way if I were you. The number of active Covid-19 cases is 35 today, and there have only been two to three new infections per day in the last few days. The vaccination program pays off. Even the beaches can now be re-entered in the evening, you can sit at the bar and when artists perform, it can even be a full symphony orchestra again. Up to now, a maximum of one artist inside or three outside was allowed. So much for that, but now I have to get to work.

I'm still waiting for the new fitting for the backstay, but that doesn't mean I'll run out of work on board.

The lost screw

I have to climb. Not on the very big mast, only on the second highest mast. He carries the wind generator, which always blows our batteries so nicely on the way. Unfortunately on the last trip we lost the screws that hold the generator in place. That didn't harm the position or the output of the power plant, but it has to be done.

Before I can climb up there, all fenders have to be cleared out of the way. The lines of the wind vane are also in the way. I dismantle them before my way up. This is difficult at first, all the blocks are screwed very, very tight - we don't want to lose them. After a good hour I have stowed all the lines below deck, I don't have to grill them in the sun for a whole year. The way up is finally free.

Freed from all unnecessary lines

Has the mast always been that high? Did I really go up in the middle of the Atlantic to replace these screws? And why do we no longer have screws of the right length (M6 with 10mm length). The screws go on the shopping list.

I won't be using the watermaker for the next few months. So I have to winter him. No life should develop in the tubes.

The cleaning solution for the watermaker is mixed.

I have never done that. The company where I had the watermaker installed has integrated two hoses into the system that can be used to create a circuit. Exactly for this purpose. I read through the relevant section of the operating instructions again, then off we go. The device starts its work with a sonorous humming and after a few seconds the bucket with the cleaning solution is empty. I beg your pardon?

Hmmm. I forgot to close the valve on the outlet. Instead of circulating, the liquid found the path of least resistance. In the Atlantic. I mix up another portion of the solution, set the valves correctly and it's all over the place. After the end of the process, I take out the filters and then it's done. Now I don't have to worry about the device anymore, the last official act is to turn off the power.

Deep inside Sissi - the Watermaker is wintered.

Then I want to do a little something on the car - I don't like the tires. In addition, the car does not drive particularly well with the four different slippers. On the way to the hardware store, I pass the tire dealer. Not just at one tire dealer, I visit several. First, I'll go to Jay's. Edward recommended it to me, and Soraida also has Jay's adverts on her bus. A specialist in used tires. I am offered four tires for my car for 200 florins including assembly. Of course, the tires are in stock.

I am even allowed to look at the tires and even choose the ones myself that will be put on my car later. That was a misunderstanding on my part. My association with used tires was that they were retreaded tires. No, you thought wrong. These things are really used and have been sorted out by their previous owners. I can't find four identical tires. I wouldn't improve.

Get ready to change tires

At Jay's, they send me to Napa. There they would have the tires in new, but would not assemble them. I could come back with the Napa tires and have them fitted here. A quick detour to Napa makes me realize that I have to pay 62 florins for a new tire, but that there are currently no tires in stock. Good to know. No, you can't tell me when the next delivery is coming. It will come at some point.

Soraida thinks I'm stupid. I should ask her. For new tires you go to JR. There is an offer there, four new tires for 200 Florin including balancing and assembly. That's the price of four used Jay's tires.

Now the transformation of the car is taking place. From a junk truck to a good car.

At JR you have the tires in stock. The assembly will be done immediately, I am announced a waiting time of one hour. That’s okay. I keep an eye out for Soraida's bus, the route of which passes by JR. After just five minutes, an employee comes and tells me that the car can now be driven into the hall. That was fast. People get to work right away.

It's very convenient. I can take a good look at the brakes. When braking, I always had the impression that something was wrong with the brake discs. Or the brake pads. I can rule that out after a good visual inspection. At this point I haven't bought a construction site.

Installation of the new tires

Fantastic. I drive from the yard and realize that I just have a brand new car. The car now drives straight ahead without my intervention and stays in the lane even when braking. I think the vehicle's value has just doubled. So off to the hardware store. The first hardware store doesn't have metric screws. The next one not made of stainless steel. The third hardware store can offer me the M6 with a length of 10mm.

I think it is like the bolts for the wind vane control. I'll buy a whole dozen. Since we have had so many replacement bolts for the wind vane, none have been lost. And a new tube of screw glue, the old one has been open for two years. But it's too hot for me now for a new climbing tour. I do that the next cloudy day or early in the morning.

Night mood in Varadero

Destruction of the closet

In the last few days I have made the next step in Jens and me’s plan. I destroyed the closet in my bunk to get the hardware that kept us from traveling to the Azores. It wasn't that easy, because the furniture is solidly built and not particularly easy to repair. It feels more like a smartphone to me, the manufacturer of which is careful to ensure that no one can open it or even repair it.

Reason for the permanent stay in Aruba

A hundred miles after we left, that fog broke and made us turn back. Fortunately, the mast stayed up, so I couldn't imagine what would have happened if both sides had been torn off. I need new fittings. But in Aruba you can't buy it in stores, a specialist has to make it for me. To do this, however, I have to expand it first. If I look with my fingers, I can find the anchor in the GRP laminate. But I can't find any nuts that I could loosen. Did the manufacturer really build it that way?

This is what the closet should look like when I put it back together.

The first step is to establish the ability to work. This includes moving to the Marina Varadero as well as buying a car. I am mobile and can drive to the hardware store. Or to the dealer for boat supplies. And of course Soraida. The second step is also done, Jens flew home and left an empty bunk for me. So I can move everything from my side to his side. I am not wondering how much fits in these cabinets. What can be seen in the picture is just half of it. The other half is in the forward berth.

Cabinet content

Why are the books in the closet? I don't have a bookcase in my bunk, the books are all stored in the forward bunk. Except for the wedge books. On the way from Cuba to Aruba (or was it the other way around?) The electric autopilot setpoint device fell from its position on top of the closet. That didn't improve its functionality. Sissi behaved strangely, the troubleshooting has brought the setpoint generator to light. But it couldn't be screwed properly at sea, so I wedged it in place with books. With the wedge books. Now I'm going to screw it tight.

Setpoint adjuster of the autopilot

After clearing out the closet and distributing its contents across the boat, I get down to disassembling it. It's easy to do at first. It is clear which bar I have to dismantle in order to get to the next bar. Screw by screw work my way to the goal.

Emptied. The aim is to make the area behind the panel in the upper row of shelves accessible. To the right of the window.

The workflow comes to a standstill. I can no longer find a way to unscrew the boards. At this point I start ranting about the ease of repair. The individual parts are glued and dismantling is not intended. I have to use brute force. It is getting loud. With the hammer and a narrow wedge I can separate board by board. At some point I succeed with the last board, the lower end of the broken fitting is accessible.

Finished!

This is the end of my first day at work. I need a shower and shower time ends at 5pm. Then the gate of the area of the marina where the boats are dry and where the shower is located will be locked.

Arrived at the goal

There is not much to do on the next working day. First of all, the backstay has to be detached from the fitting. I temporarily tie it to the tail cleat with a rope. The mast stands fine even without a backstay, as long as it doesn't have to carry sails. Then I can loosen the nuts.

This is what it looks like under the fitting.

The nuts are surprisingly easy to loosen. As if they weren't really tight. This is probably not necessary as long as the train is on the backstay. After assembling the spare part, however, I make it a little stronger. They will certainly loosen up again on their own. I think about the accessibility from the inside and plan to convert the closet.

He lost. The culprit.

I will order two of these fittings and also destroy the closet on Jens' side. I get a visitor in the evening. More precisely, I lure the visitor to my boat with a few treats. The sweet cat from Paul, the owner of the marina, runs his evening round on the jetty. I can't resist that. I've already fed it a couple of times, and now I can touch it too. But that's not why I'm unfaithful to Shrimp, Sunchi, Socks and Swa.

Sweet boat hangover

After work is done, dusk feels particularly good. An important item on my repair checklist is ticked off. Now there are only 99 more points. The open points are the ongoing flow of water in the forward berth, which no longer takes place through the windows, but is still too much. The likely location of the action is a leaky stanchion. The electric bilge pump with the gooseneck at the outlet. Or I'll put in a check valve if I can get one. I don't even want to think about what else needs to be done here. I have enough time.

evening atmosphere

Technical inspection service

DTI. That reminds me a little of Cuba, where an authority was called DIT. Of course, the DTI has nothing to do with the Cuban secret police other than using the same letters. Despite the different order, I have negative associations with it. Also, I don't like taking a car for a general inspection that, in my opinion, doesn't deserve the badge. So that would not get the badge in Germany. After all, that's my benchmark for “earned”. Aruba and Germany are two different things, I prepare the car for inspection according to local standards. The seller said that I only had to convert the headlights (from xenon to halogen, xenon is not allowed in Aruba). In addition, new protective covers must be put on the seats.

The new seat covers.

Edward helps me convert the headlights. He's happy that I'm giving him the xenon stuff. I'm happy that I don't have to get my fingers dirty. Soraida made an appointment for me at 8 a.m. first thing in the morning when the DTI people start their work.

Coffee. A lot of coffee is needed so that I can get going in the morning before sunrise.

I set the alarm for 6:30 a.m. While I am making the coffee, I notice that it is a completely alien time to me. The light is unusual, the sun has not yet made it over the Hooiberg. The first pot of freshly ground coffee practically drinks itself, I divide a second pot between myself and the Togo mug. Then I'm ready and drive the carriage to the TDI. No, DTI, the other one is a Volkswagen.

Open-air office

I have to walk around the outside of the building to get to the open-air office, where the papers are handed in and the car registered. So far so good. The papers are perfectly fine, I would not have expected anything else from Soraida. She's a professional after all. Then I can drive the car to the door with the number 3. Since my Papiamento is not quite enough for the conversation, I get the instructions in English words as explained for toddlers. It is 7:55 a.m.

The car is waiting for an inspector to find time.

Then I can walk around the outside of the building and wait. There is only one place in Aruba that does the main inspections. Another waiting person, who is employed by the local water company in his overalls, is also waiting hard and gossiping about the state employees, who are not in a particularly hurry with their work. It looks like they're going to take their breakfast break right after starting work. Next to us is a woman who seems very impatient. We all have our appointment at 8 a.m., the clock now shows 8:15 a.m.

It's 8:20 a.m. The tests of the cars are in full swing.

At 8:25 a.m. it becomes too colorful for the impatient woman. She goes to the open-air office and complains about the waiting time. The waterworker next to me laughs and says he would only do it with a brand new car. His old car would never pass the inspection if he complained. However, the woman seems to have done everything right, the inspection of her car begins immediately. Then an employee runs to my car and that of the waterworker. First, the vehicles are disinfected.

The main inspection is in progress. My car is on the brake test bench (right, headlights are on), the impatient woman's car has already passed the brake test.

Let's come to the shortcomings. In addition to the rather worn brake discs, the tires are too bad in my opinion. Two of the four tires practically no longer have any tread. In addition, all four tires are different - different ages, different manufacturers and in general. The car will not go straight when the steering wheel is in the straight ahead position. In general, it pulls a little to the right when driving. The streets were poorly lit with the xenon headlights, and with the halogen headlights I can't see at night either. The illuminated area is also not what I know from Germany. The seat belts on the rear seats are well hidden behind the backrest, the seat belt buckles no longer exist. The warning triangle, reflective vest and first-aid kit are of course not in the car either. So far so good. Edward already signaled to me that I had found a very good car. He has a lot of experience tinkering with junk-ready vehicles and can tell junk from a great vehicle.

Passed!

After checking the brakes and lights, the examiner takes a cool swerve around the pit, parks the car on my side of the building, and tells me the car passed. I am happy and will send Soraida a message right away. Then the papers still have to be changed, they are still in the name of the previous owner - now they are in Soraida's name. The car is now completely legal. Or as Edward says, it's more legal than me to go.

It should also be noted that, as expected, the waterworker's car did not receive a badge because the seat belt on the driver's side is jammed. He now has 30 days to release the seat belt and demonstrate the car again. He is satisfied with that. He was also right in his assessment of the situation. The impatient woman noticed a list of flaws and drove away quite angry. Apparently the complaint was resented.

The speedometer. Failed after the main inspection.

A passed general inspection is no reason that the speedometer might not fail immediately. On the way back to Sissi the time had come. Never mind, the sticker sticks and doesn't know anything about the speedometer. Now I'm waiting for the man who is supposed to fix our rig. He wants to come by today, but has not given the time. Completely normal in Aruba. I still can't really get used to it.

Election campaigners

The weekend before last I went to Soraida. Upon arrival, I am amazed at the large number of cars parked on their doorstep. A convoy appears to be forming. Right at the front in the first row is a pickup truck with one of the largest loudspeaker systems you can imagine. People wear yellow T-shirts, throw notes into the mailboxes for residents and seem happy. Happy? They are election campaigners for the MEP, whose government recently had to resign due to a corruption scandal. I park the car in front of the house, notice Soraida in the back garden and go to her. She is currently busy turning her bus in the direction of escape. She wants to escape the election campaign. We escape the growing din with my car. It is less noticeable and is already in front of the property. The election campaign in Aruba is loud. Campaigning in Aruba is great fun for those involved. The election campaign that has been raging here for weeks only really annoys me.

Promotion for the MEP. At least the poster just stands around and makes no noise. It doesn't get in the way either. But on many properties whose owners make their political views public.

With us, it is rather rare that a normal citizen makes his or her political position public - for example through election posters, flags or stickers on their own car. It's almost normal here. The campaign part is fine with me. Information stands in the pedestrian zone are also normal. Then there is the part of the election campaign that is barely bearable. Fortunately, I am now in Varadero with Sissi, it is quiet there. As long as I was still lying in the Renaissance Marina, I could enjoy the car convoys of the party supporters every half hour. Supported by loud music and horns, they drove down the promenade. They probably still do that, but I don't hear it anymore.

Advertising from the AVP. And signatures are still being collected while the traffic on the main road jams back halfway across the island.

Especially on the weekends you have to expect to get caught in a party advertising campaign again and again. That happened to me in Noord, where the AVP probably collected signatures and sold stickers. Out of the blue I am in a traffic jam on the main road, it is only inching ahead. Sometimes it stalls for minutes. The music from the advertising stand drowns out your own car radio by far.

It doesn't always have to be the AVP, the other party can also set up a small “roadblock” at every corner at any time. Sometimes, however, they only drive their convoy in a circle at one of the roundabouts. This inevitably leads to traffic jams.

The POR. There are only a few supporters of the small party on the road. They practically don't bother.

In addition to the MEP and the AVP, there are a number of smaller parties. They don't have that many followers and are therefore not so present on the streets. And they seem to lack the money to rent the large loudspeaker systems. This small group from the POR doesn't bother me. I am glad that the elections are over this month.

My new car. It adapts perfectly to the environment.

To be able to stand in a traffic jam at all, you need a car. I got myself a Toyota Yaris from so many hands. The car is registered on Soraida, which was even able to pass on its 70% discount on the insurance premium to me. Tomorrow he has an appointment for the general inspection. I'm excited, very excited. The seat cushions are pretty rocked, so I had to put on new seat covers, without which there would probably be no TÜV here. Let's see what the brothers have to say about the rather thin brake discs. According to the locals, no problem. The four different tires are fun too. But the car drives great.

I looked at other vehicles before buying. It is exciting to see how little the people here value a properly functioning engine cooling system. The Nissan Almera I first looked at didn't even have a cooling water tank anymore. That probably only works because short distances are always driven here. The BYD (model unknown) that I was able to test drive also had no cooling water. Remarkable - the Chinese are much younger than the two Japanese, but really rusts on all parts.

Jens took a picture of Shrimp on his last donkey visit in 2021.

Jens left Aruba just a few days after his first vaccination. He flew to Amsterdam on time and the train to Frankfurt was only a few hours late. I am slowly starting the repair work and the preparations for it. We haven't had the best experiences in the past with planning the future, around 100% of our plans have failed. That is why we no longer plan today, in the coming year we will act spontaneously.

Mango tree in Soraida's garden

I am very curious what the mangoes will taste like that are just ripening in Soraida's garden. With us there are apple trees and cherry trees behind the houses, here it is mango, papaya or banana. Soraida collects the rinse water from the washing machine to water her plants.

Bananas

I don't care that the papayas season is over. I can't do that much with these fruits. In Aruba, a hot sauce for seasoning is made from papayas, the taste of which I like very much.

This prickly fruit is said to help against all kinds of cancer and high blood pressure. Here, too, I'm curious about the taste.

The watermelons that were harvested yesterday turned out to be grenades in terms of taste. No comparison with the watery stuff we can buy in our supermarkets, but sugary and delicious. Incidentally, the melons get the condensation from the air conditioning, not the water from the washing machine.

Delicious watermelons

I will soon be writing more regularly again, especially to document the progress in boat building. There's not much to see on board yet.