Tuesday, November 3, 2009.
Another productive day (the
best kind of day)!
Most importantly, at the
internet café we managed to post the first few entries into the blog site. Hooray!!!!!!
After dropping the laptop at
the boat, we walked to the General Store (hardware) and PriceMart (the
Caribbean Costco) for future provisioning.
Dave escorted me across the
busy channel for a fantastic swim along the reef.
Then began our cultural
evening with everyone from KARA DREAM,
BREAK & RUN AND DARRAMY. We walked over to the BON BINI festival at FORT ZOUTMAN. It is the oldest example of Dutch
architecture on the island (1776).
The WILLEM II TOWER was once located on the shore, but land reclamation
has pushed it back a block from the sea.
It has served as a lighthouse and as a home to the government, police
and even a prison at various times throughout its history. The entrance fee is only US$4.00 and a
home cooked typical Aruban meal is only US$&.00. The menu varies from one time to the next. This time it was beef and chicken
kebabs with fried rice, corn, fried plantain and fried rice. There were also fried pastries filled with ham and
cheese called pastichis. Local
handicrafts are available at small booths. My favourite booth was the dessert lady’s- especially her
sweet potato treats.
Tonight’s programme began with a presentation of the barrel
organ (tingalingi box), which was accompanied by a metal grater-like instrument
called a WIRI. Aruban dances are
traditionally accompanied by these two instruments.
A traditional band presented
several songs. The TUMBA (or TAMBU) music was especially lively. TUMBA derives from the Spanish and
French words for “drum” and the
focus is, of course, on the percussion instruments.
The traditional dances this
evening were performed by children’s groups- the primary grade aged MINI POPS,
the junior grade aged DANCING BEEZ and the youth group LOLLIPOPS. There has been a concerted effort in
the schools to teach Aruban culture and it has paid off handsomely. Some of the dance s demonstrate a
European influence, such as the WALS and MAZURKA; the TUMBAs reveal an African
cultural basis, and the DANZA shows the Latin influence of its origins. The local people demonstrate these
influences as most speak at least four languages- Dutch, Spanish, Papiamentu
These backgrounds were also
demonstrated in Sharon Rose’s polished vocal performance.
The finale was a presentaion
of the Carnaval marching band dance music,
With the full moon sailing
overhead, it was a memorable BON BINI,
especially for Karen, who was asked to dance on stage with the children