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Charles' Stories Stories by Charles Croes, true Aruban :)

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Old Saturday, October 16th, 2010, 05:13 PM
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Default Grains of sand

Some weeks ago, there was a wedding on the beach in front of one of our hotels. When it came time to put the ring on the Brides finger, any observer would have been hard pressed to admit that we really are in any kind of a global recession. Crystal Champagne poured and the loving couple walked into the surf in what must have been ten thousand dollars of clothing - not counting the shoes that they had thrown in moments before the fully clad couple decided to swim.

Makes you wonder and certainly makes you think. Anyway -

Years ago, when the current WESTIN was the splendorous CONCORDE HOTEL AND CASINO and when those that came to Aruba for a vacation were the chosen few that had discovered our island and did everything in their power to keep it a secret – in those times there was a comfortable small resort/motel/club& restaurant called the BASI RUTI. The BASI RUTI was located smack dab in the middle of where the current Playa Linda swimming pool is today. The BASI RUTI was as different as it was elite. It hosted the likes of Her Majesty – The Queen of Holland while on her visitation trips as well as Harry Belafonte while he was down here water-skiing with the recently deceased Mr. Morris Neme. Harry and Morris carried on endlessly and travelled to all of the islands. Eventually they went to Bonaire on one of their many trips and bought the small island off the coast of Bonaire (Klein Bonaire) as well as some other very attractive pieces of land on Bonaire (one of which they called BEL-EM in honor of their own names). It was by all accounts a Heady time on Aruba. Aruba was undiscovered but by few and there was little in place to tend to the sophisticated tourists that visited us. We knew that tourists needed casinos, bars and beaches with clear blue waters and, just then - we had the right mix at the right time and we were friendly.

The beach between the Concorde and the BASI RUTI was devoid of any structures with the exceptions of the remnants of the, gone forever, Aruba Zwem Club. Sitting on the beach for a prolonged time brought the double curse of sun and sand burn. The sunburn came from the same conditions that exist today and the “sand-burn” was caused by the relentless cutting of the miniscule bits of sand that constantly floated in the wind and whipped across your skin. No one minded and it was, for lack of a better phrase, “an expensive in-thing” to go back home with a combo sun-sand burn. Yes, it was a ‘heady time.

For a while, the BASI RUTI had elevated itself to the level of having “Bank Checks” for preferred guests. These large and important looking Checks were blank with absolutely no banking or personal information. The guests came, signed for everything and then at the end of the stay, filled out one of these checks with the amount they owed, including tips (of course) and promptly left to go back home. I never knew how these checks worked but then again, all seemed to work out just fine. If there were thieves, they were honorable ones. In any event, that piece of history fell by the way side and “traveler’s checks and real money (the predecessor to plastic) became the way to go.

During that brief era - that spot of time in our history. During that small sprinkle of time, some boys played on the beach in front of the BASI RUTI. They sat innocently and dug into the sand to make castles. Not rich boys and not elite by any sense of the imagination or in any manner of the word. Just simple Aruban boys that forgot to notice that there was a building directly in back of them. They were intense in their quest and dug into the sand endlessly. And during these “diggings”, one of the boys, the most humble of them all, found something. He held it and then walked to the water where he washed it off. He looked at his ‘finding’ for the longest time and then went off to the side by a palm tree and put his hands together and prayed. As if struck by a wealth of knowledge, he stood and went into the manager’s office to show him his find. The manager looked out of his window and smiled and then put the finding in a small envelope – then in his desk. The boy came back out and started digging again. The other kids, of course, asked what he had found. He told them and by his demeanor; it was understood that this topic was a closed one.

Some twenty years later, there was a wedding in a small Church in Boston. When it came time to put the ring on the Brides finger, some of the observers wondered how this young man had been able to afford such a lovely ring. There were many hugs and finally the loving couple was preparing to go out the front and on to their honeymoon in Aruba. The Brides’ father thought about the ring and inasmuch as his new son-in-law was still a student, and a “foreign” one at that, he decided to ask him where he bought the lovely ring. Before going out the door, the young man told him about the digging in the sand and then added that while the digging was going on, the Manager of the BASI RUTI was looking out of his window and saw what happened and also saw him in prayer seeking guidance. The envelope with the ring was given to his Mother in safe-keeping until he made the decision to be married.

Makes you wonder and certainly makes you think. Anyway –

The BASI RUTI is gone and the sand there has been moved and dug too many times to count. Sand-burn is not frequent since the many structures play havoc with the wind and the grains of sand are much to heavy. Boys still dig in the sand and managers still look out their windows but something has changed.

Makes you wonder and certainly makes you think.

be well
charles
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Old Saturday, October 16th, 2010, 05:30 PM
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Elaine S Elaine S is offline
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I Love Aruba Re: Grains of sand

Hopeless romantic that I am, I hope part of the 50% fact was this young man putting that ring on his bride's finger on their wedding day...

Love such simple stories, Charles.. and, love the history you bring to us.

Thank you...
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Old Saturday, October 16th, 2010, 11:40 PM
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Default Re: Grains of sand

Your stories always make me wonder, and think. Yes, on our first visit almost 35 years ago (of course we were very very young lol), I remember a simply beautiful island, lots of donkeys, goats, parrots, very few structures, 1 traffic light (the guide on the bus pointed it out as a tourirst attraction), and a wind that was so strong and constant I even had to hold onto a scarf tied around my head. If there was a casino, we didn't know about it then. But we were very young (did I already mention that?) and hadn't discovered the world of gambling yet. We rented motorcycles and climbed this really big mountain called Yamanota (whew!), traveled through the Cunucu countryside, stopped in quaint watering holes, and fell in love with this wonderful island. We felt like we were in another world, a truly undiscovered world. I thought we were so lucky that some travel agent (remember travel agents?) suggested this place called Aruba that she had heard about instead of Florida for our honeymoon. And for the same amount of money too. Lots of things have changed, but not our love for the island of Aruba and its people. People like you Charles. That love will always be as strong and constant as the wind used to be.
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Old Sunday, October 17th, 2010, 06:36 AM
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Default Re: Grains of sand

charles, you always make me smile. thank you.
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Old Sunday, October 17th, 2010, 07:18 AM
ozzbo47 ozzbo47 is offline
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Default Re: Grains of sand

Charles, i stayed at the basi ruti in 1973 and had the time of my life. Max ran the place. Spaghetti every night under the thatched roof with wine bottles hanging with the humming birds. Every sunday max had a children's steel band from one of the schools play on the beach. This was my first aruba trip and have been coming ever since. A stay at the basi ruti was something you never forget.
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Old Sunday, October 17th, 2010, 11:16 AM
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Default Re: Grains of sand

the ring find was true

max was real

they got married -- not in Boston

no - it wasn't me

be well
charles






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Originally Posted by ozzbo47 View Post
Charles, i stayed at the basi ruti in 1973 and had the time of my life. Max ran the place. Spaghetti every night under the thatched roof with wine bottles hanging with the humming birds. Every sunday max had a children's steel band from one of the schools play on the beach. This was my first aruba trip and have been coming ever since. A stay at the basi ruti was something you never forget.
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