Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Foodie Paradise

This tempting dish is Arroz con Mariscos (Rice with Seafood) purchased at a local eatery, La Granja.  It's really paella with an Aruban twist.  I'd like to report that I devoured this bad boy in one sitting, but it actually took about three days!  The local seafood in Aruba is fresh, abundant, and outstanding--yet another reason for "foodie" travelers to visit.  And the RCs add a touch of home. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Aruba's Best Beaches--Eagle Beach

 As you can see by these pictures, I'm enduring many hardships here and this is truly a difficult assignment (lol).  Seriously, I can't think of a better place to teach, learn, and conduct research.  Yes, Dr. Harrill is a beach bum!  I love sun, sand, and surf and having traveled all over the world, I can attest that Aruba's beaches are among the best.  Eagle Beach is frequently cited as one of the world's top beaches, suitable for almost any activity.  I will continue to explore and post pictures of Aruba's many fabulous beaches.
Blue in Green:  One Of My Favorite Jazz Tunes
Iconic Divi Divi Tree
The Joys of Research!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Language Lesson--Papiamento

Today class we will have a guest speaker tell us a little about Aruba's native tongue, Papiamento (pa-pay-ah-mento), and teach us a few basic words.  Tracey is a senior at the University of Aruba's Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management Studies and a student in my Destination Marketing and Tourism Planning classes.  She represented her country as Miss Aruba in 2007.  According to Tracey,

"Aruba's native language is Papiamento.  Papiamento is unique to the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao.  Papiamento evolved from a basic dialect, used for the purpose of communication among people with different native languages, into a more complex language it is today.  Papiamento is based on an Afro-Portuguese Creole, but which over the years has also the English, Dutch, and Spanish influence.  Papiamento is FUN!! J

Here are Tracey's 10 fun words in Papiamento:

Word:  sunchi     pronounced:  (soon-chi)     meaning:  Kiss

Peluchi       (pe-lu-chi)           Stuffed animals, e.g., teddy bears

Coi kibra     (coe key-bra)      Dishes, e.g., plates, glasses, forks, knives

Cadushi      (ca-do-she)         Cactus

Nanishi       (na-ni-she)          Nose

Dushi          (do-she)              Good looking or delicious

Tutu            (to-to)                  Cute

Stima          (ste-ma)              Love

Bonchi        (bon-chi)             Beans

Cocolishi    (co-co-lee-shi)     Seashells

Learning a few words of a native language is often considered respectful among local residents, as well as insightful into Aruba's rich cultural and linguistic heritage.  Personally, I like being called "dushi" (honey or sweetie) around the island--very much indicative of the warmth and kindness of the Aruban people.  Thanks Tracey!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Global Classroom--University of Aruba

As educators, students are why we do what we do.  These are students from my Destination Marketing and Management class.  The University of Aruba students are serious, smart, and hard-working.  The university attracts students from all over the world, including native Aruban, Dutch, and from Latin American countries such as Colombia.  These students are very interested in owning tourism and hospitality related-businesses or working for destination management organizations (DMOs).  Although many of them have some first-hand experience with tourism by working in local hotels and restaurants, they appreciate learning about the industry from a global perspective.  But hey, this is Aruba, and as you can see from the second photo below these students also love to have fun!  Currently, three University of Aruba students are attending the University of South Carolina's College of Hospitality, Retail, & Sport Management.  As part of the exchange, USC students will have the opportunity to attend the University of Aruba's Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management Studies.  I also envision USC student groups traveling to Aruba during the summer to conduct tourism research with their Aruban counterparts, similar to USC's May research program in the Dominican Republic.

Friday, August 19, 2011

O is for Oranjestad

When I get around to penning a book about my travels, with each trip beginning with a letter of the alphabet, "O" will definitely stand for Oranjestad. Oranjestad (O rahn ya stahd) is Dutch for "Orange Town" and is the capital and largest city on the island. Here you will find great hotels, restaurants, casinos, and luxury shopping, including Gucci, Polo, and Rolex. There are also numerous jewelry and fashion boutiques. The buildings are quite colorful and very reminiscent of our own Charleston, South Carolina. The orange structure is the nation's Parliament building, the seat of government. An excursion through Oranjestad will remind visitors and students from South Carolina just how historically and culturally intertwined our state is with the Caribbean. The USC/University of Aruba project will allow students to explore those roots, gaining perspective on the origins of our state's tourism assets and attractions. Come on down y'all!

Parliament of Aruba
Fort Zoutman Historical Museum

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I Love Stroopwafels!

One of my favorite things about Aruba--Stroopwafels. Originating in the Netherlands, Stroopwafels are waffle-like cookies made from two thin layers of baked batter with a carmel filling in the middle.  Sweet, but not too sweet; chewy, but not too chewy, these goodies are extremely addictive and you "can't eat just one."  Dean Mihalik of USC's College of Hospitality, Retail, & Sport Management goes into hysterics when I mispronounce the name of these tasty treats.  Tip-of-the-day:  place a stroopwafel over your coffee cup until it starts to melt a little and morphs into a gooey, coffee-tasting confection.  Beware, the grocery stores here are filled with delicious cheeses, breads, and baked goods.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sweet Pad--Quality Apartments

Check out my sweeeet Aruban pad.  Only blocks from the beach. Close to the university. Grocery store down the street.
Gym not too far away.  I know, I know--you want to see pictures of the beach.  Don't worry, the beach isn't going any where. Plenty of time for that later.  Just chill.  Hmm, I think I'll take a dip in the pool :)
I Highly Recommend Quality Apartments, Oranjestad--In the Center of Everything!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

University of Aruba First Days

In Aruba since Wednesday and looking forward to my first day of teaching Monday at the University of Aruba in Oranjestad (left).  On Friday we took 27 UA freshmen on a nature hike into the island's interior.  Led by a local environmentalist and park ranger who also works part-time for the university, the students were amazed to learn about the island's geological and cultural past.  The highlight of the hike was the site of a shell mound left by the Arawak natives, not unlike what we might find along the South Carolina coast.  After the hike, we were treated to a barbeque and pool party put on by the staff from the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management Studies--fun people!

My first impressions of Aruba:  Friendly, safe, peaceful, exciting, and did I mention fun?  The island's residents exemplify hospitality.  There is always a nice, constant breeze that cools the island day and night.  Especially easy to drift off to sleep at night after a day on the beach to the peaceful sound of the winds.  Again, comforting and familiar like my native South Carolina, yet a different and fascinating Caribbean culture, steeped in history, and only short plane ride (about four hours) away.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Aruba--One Happy Island!

I'm leaving tomorrow for Aruba at the invitation of our friends at the University of Aruba--the first step in an exciting new partnership between the University of South Carolina's College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management and the University of Aruba's Department of Tourism Management Studies. Together, we will exchange students, faculty, and collaborate on research. This project will allow students and faculty to experience and explore the Caribbean as a natural tourism lab, learning first-hand about life in a world-famous resort destination. Definitely an opportunity not to be missed. 

In this blog I will share my experiences on the island and celebrate all things Aruban!