Bon Bini

David & Valerie Allen
Thu 12 Nov 2009 13:47

12:30.56N  70:01.99W


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 and English. 


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 TWICE!!!