January 19 - 21, 2002
Across the bay, from Sonesta Island OK, so I live in Florida - Jacksonville in north Florida, to be specific - but even here, when the cold winter temperatures dip down into the high 50s, it's time to take a trip to the south and warm temperatures.  So, these Florida snowbirds - Elaine and Chuck Allan, along with our son Jim, took a quick trip to the Caribbean Island of Aruba.
Aruba, part of the lesser Antilles chain of islands, sits a mere 40 miles north of South America - you can even see the lights of the mainland at night.  The main city in this Dutch territory is Oranjestad, located on the south central portion of the island.  We arrived late in the afternoon on Saturday and checked into our hotel, the Sonesta Resort in Oranjestad.  There are two main tourist areas, Oranjestad - the original town and port, and farther to the west, another series of resort hotels, with familiar names.
Elaine and Jim on the balcony of the Sonesta Resort To the left, Elaine & Jim on the balcony of the Sonesta Resort.  Right, is the same view at night, with the Marketplace lights in the background.  Oranjestad, Aruba harbor at night
Among the interesting anomalies - Aruba has it's own currency, but the U.S. dollar is the preferred currency.  Most restaurant menus and other prices are quoted in U.S. dollars.  Also, many of the local merchants do not take credit cards, so we spent more real cash on this trip than usual.
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