A day in DePalm-adise on the Atlantis Submarine Adventure (pt. 1)
|The downtown flea market|
With a brand new pad of paper, a red Pilot Razor Point pen (I just looove the way the ink smoothly glides against the paper), and my Nikon camera I head out for my next excursion. This time I don’t get to walk a simple 20 steps from my office like I did for the Natural Pool Jeep Adventure; instead I have to make my way through the heart of Oranjestad, Aruba’s capital, where I chug along bumper to bumper towards the marina. Along the way I see buildings on the left-hand side whose architecture reflects that of an old colonial Dutch town (as Aruba used to be a colony of the Netherlands). Painted in pastel yellows, greens, blues, and pinks one would think the town celebrates Easter all year round. On the right-hand side is a waterside flea market selling trinkets like old license plates, sand in a bottle with puff paint seashell designs, crayons made out of carved tree bark, and a mix of other handmade Caribbean charms.
Suddenly I spot a Velociraptor. Am I dreaming? Have dinosaurs come back to life? I pinch myself to make sure it’s not one of those modern dinosaur and zombie dreams I often times get from watching shows like "The Walking Dead," or from having been traumatized at a young age by the "Jurassic Park" movie series. No, on the contrary this relic stands still (looking as though he’s ready to pounce with his enlarged sickle-shaped claw) on the roof of a black and white cow printed building where it preys on passer-biers next to an old school and elongated four-door Volkswagen Bug (I don't get it?). I pull up next to it to a stratosphere-like building that’s held up by four stone pillars as it sits on a wooden dock that outstretches to the Sea. There is a sign in the windowsill that says, “A Real Submarine. A Real Adventure.” That’s right; today I’m taking a plunge 135 feet below the Caribbean Sea aboard the 48-passenger Atlantis VI Submarine.
|The Atlantis Submarine ticket office|
|Achmira and Evelin :)|
I walk inside to get my ticket and am greeted with smiles from Evelien and Achmira, the two ladies that work here. They tell me that there will be a briefing in 25 minutes or so, which is a perfect amount of time for me to browse around and take notes. Background beats of steel drums and brass bands fused together signal that Carnival music has not been put to rest (ours wrapped up nearly two weeks ago). Plastered up on the wall is the depiction of an underwater scene made out of foam and spray painted: Starfish, pink conch shells, cockle shells and orange coral arrangements lay sporadic along the panorama accompanied by turquoise, sea green, and beige trimmings dangling about as they represent the underwater vegetation life with gold fish that catch the light of the Sun as they hang from the ceiling by a clear plastic line. Oh, and a manikin is captured swinging from the rafters in a dive-like position only adding more of a deep sea feel.
As I continue to peruse around the shop, I notice knickknacks for every age, especially the pirate-themed souvenirs in the front– like the shot glasses that say “Pick your poison,” famous pirate playing cards, and photo albums covers that have a “Me Gots Dis” or “My Treasure” saying on the front. My personal favorite is the tropical-themed section in the back – like the 54 tropical drink recipe playing cards. After flipping through, I come across one that’s called Fuzzy Chocolate Nut. For my friends freezing their bums off around the world, I decide to take a sneak peek at this magic potion so I can warm you up with a little bit of tasteful love from Aruba:
In a warm mug pour the following:
4 ounces of hot chocolate
1 ½ ounces of Peach Schnapps
½ ounce of Amaretto
Dollop whipped cream
A sprinkle of cinnamon
A pinch of chocolate shavings
And for those of you who want a sweet bite out of Aruba, I snagged this Banana Binja Aruban recipe from the Tropical Treats book for just for YOU:
Directions: Peel and cut plantains lengthwise. Melt butter in skillet. Sauté plantains until golden brown on one side and then turn over. Combine the sugar, water, port wine, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Pour over plantains. Simmer until liquid thickens.
Ingredients (serves 4):
2 very ripe plantains
3 tablespoons of port wine
3 tablespoons of dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons of water
3 tablespoons of butter
Dash of cinnamon
My 25 minutes are just about up, and Evelin motions those of us inside the store to head out to the dock. Stay tuned for next week’s part two of the adventure, where I’ll take you along with me as we head towards our dive spot.