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.

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