I wasn’t particularly interested in visiting Aruba at first. A few months prior to my trip Mary and I had spent a week in Curaçao, its sister island in the Leeward Antilles, which has strikingly similar Dutch-influenced culture, colonial architecture, arid climate and cactus-strewn landscape. But my daughter and I hadn’t taken a trip alone together in quite some time and the opportunity fell into our laps when she was out on Thanksgiving break, so how could we pass it up? We ended up having a great time, from exploring the sea caves at Arikok National Park and climbing the Casabari Rock Formations to snorkeling off De Palm Island and learning to windsurf on Palm Beach. Our outdoor adventures didn’t leave us much time to experience Aruban culture, at least until the dance performance offered on our last night at the Marriott Hotel. The show was like a walk through the history of traditional Aruban music and dance, from the early Afro-Caribbean folk influences up to the more modern sounds of Aruba’s annual Carnival celebration. This lovely lead dancer caught the attention of both my daughter and myself, though I’m guessing it was for quite different reasons. Regardless, the show was a wonderful end to our week in Aruba. –Bret Love
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