Every Christmas, we escape the crummy cold weather for the sun and beaches of the Leeward Islands, a trio of three small isles that make up part of the Netherland Antilles, just a couple miles off the coast of Venezuela. Loaded down with a medley of SPFs, sarongs, trunks, and sandals, we’re always ready to kick back and just chill out. It’s rather odd to see any semblance of Christmas in such a tropical place, almost an artificial holiday paradise. But it’s really quite catchy, all of it, with all the Christmas carols remixed with a bit of island twang.
Arubans live by the motto “One Happy Island.” Seriously, how can you not be happy with such gorgeous beaches, weather, and an island that stops for iguana crossings? I love the mingled heritage of the people here, each distinctive yet fused together through history and time. There are the Dutch and Indonesian flavors, the spice of Venezuelans and Latin Americans, the local Papiamento with their strong West African influences, and the more recent addition of Chinese immigrants and their cuisine. I picked up some various local recipes of which I will write about later… iguana soup, anyone?
If you ever get a chance to go, I am more than happy to introduce some great restaurants, hole in the walls, quiet beaches, and things to do.