Aruba is great. They keep getting better and hotter. Aruba is very afluent. Very very afluent as compared with the other islands visited thus far. Obviously dutch in origin, but, like holland, everyone it seems speaks english (among 3-5 other languages).
We had a great day. We hadn't booked a tour on this one, but as we were leaving the ship to visit the city a cheap tour was nearby, and as they were ending at the beach later, we decided to join the tour for the morning, spend an hour or so at the beach (all our still pasty Canadian bodies can take), and then visit a few shops before going back to the ship.
Aruba is a classic desert island. They have cactus forests like we have pine and birch. It was amazing. We visited a rock formation in the interior of the island which, despite being only about 10 meters high, affored a great view of the cruise ships, and the surrounding city. We went to visit the Atlantic (north east) coast and the mixture of volcanic rock, pounding ocean, and desert was amazing. The ocean pounds away natural bridges and interesting inlets in the hard and rugged rock. There were small salt flats formed on the rock where sea spray evaporates in the desert sun. It was amazingly rugged, and wonderful. We stopped for the required beer (Balishi), which, like all Carribean beers (except Barbados) is quite light and refreshing...
Then we visited the 'California' lighthouse, named for a shipwreck in the area, and followed on to Palm Beach. The water wasn't as clear as we've seen elsewhere (Virgin Gorda for example), due to all the people, boats and activity... but it was warm and refreshing. The sand white. The sun hot. I think I finally got a bit of sun that might show.
Then, we took a local bus into town, and did a bit of shopping. Then, just before departing, we stopped at a small seaside restraunt. I had grouper prepared Italian style. I wanted to try Iguana... but they didn't serve it. Apparently it's used in stews and soups... and is particularly good for men, if you know what I mean.
We're 120 nautical miles off Jamacia right now on our way to Grand Cayman. Tam and I are hoping to be able to see Jamacia as we pass closer this evening.