Weekly Photo Challenge: Nighttime, Or: Renaissance Marketplace, Aruba

Renaissance Market, Aruba

This week’s challenge focuses on nighttime photos, something I sorely lack. However, I remember going out on my last night in Aruba. This was taken at the Renaissance Marketplace in Oranjestad. Oh, and there was some live music being played at the time.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sailing In An Aruban Sunset

Aruban Sailboat

I took this one evening at Eagle Beach, Aruba. The sunset was beautiful enough, but the silhouette of a sailboat made it even better.

Renaissance Marketplace Stage, Oranjestad, Aruba

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Renaissance Marketplace Stage, Oranjestad, Aruba

There’s this nifty little stage built into the back of the Renaissance Marketplace. Free concerts are played there on Friday and Saturday nights. For example:

The Night Falls In Aruba

Hey, did someone order a Caribbean sunset? Because I’m pretty sure this Weekly Writing Challenge calls for one.

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These are just a sampling of the many, many photos I took during my trip to Oranjestad, Aruba this past April. It didn’t feel exotic; it had all of the American creature comforts, yet I struggled to find new things to do as the week wore on. However, I knew that I had to be back at Eagle Beach every night to see the amazing sunsets.

Oh, and I happened to be listening to this song on that fine evening:

Anyone else suddenly feel like going to the beach?

Daily Prompt: Simply Irresistible, Or: Spicy Around The World

Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about temptation. No, not the trashy novel kind. This is about the food that you just can’t turn down, regardless of better judgment and/or guilt tripping. I’m not a big eater by any means – people marvel at the carefully portioned, home-made lunches I bring every day – but I’m a sucker for a few things. My sweet-tooth yearns for Cookies and Cream in any style; I even got some cupcake ones for my last birthday! The best part of the holidays is my family’s awesome homemade spumoni. In terms of regular meals, however, I’ve got to go with chicken and fish. Salmon with freshly-squeezed lemon? Yes, please. Chicken marsala? I will hunger.

Here’s the thing about chicken and fish. They’re fine on their own, but they’re even better when they’re spicy. I’ve always loved spicy food, even as a child. Lemon and herb, cayenne pepper, rosemary, jalepeƱos, garlic, onions, basil…There’s so much potential. Sure, my breath may cause an environmental disaster afterwards, but I don’t care. You think that stuff stinks? Try eating a durian. There’s a very good reason why some countries ban it from public places. Oh, and if you want a place that has a huge variety of spices and really good food in general, I highly recommend the casbah in Tangier, Morocco. You will never find another place with such a ridiculously huge amount of fresh products. Moroccan saffron (no, not the Pokemon city) is almost criminally delicious.

After traveling and tasting all of that, I didn’t think I could be surprised anymore. Especially not in Aruba, where I was visiting just this past April. That island is an incredibly popular tourist spot for a reason: it’s quite possibly the most hassle-free place you can find. Aruba is all about tourism, for the better and worse. The staffs are really accommodating and speak English well. Multilingualism is a huge part of their education system. But it doesn’t feel like a foreign country; it has all of those tried and true fast food places and services you’d see back home. There’s no thrill, just the ever-present trade winds and utterly stunning beaches. I never thought I’d find great Caribbean food in this hive of sand and tourism…until I went to downtown Oranjestad and came across this:

Iguana Joe’s Jamaican Jerk Chicken Sandwich

Take a good look. Jamaican Jerk-seasoned chicken breast with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and a chunk of fried pineapple. This ensemble was further enriched with Iguana Joe’s legendary Caribbean spice hot sauces. I’m not kidding. That stuff is so good that the restaurant sells and ships it worldwide. I don’t remember all the ingredients, but scotch bonnet was definitely part of it. The resulting wonderful, tongue-blisteringly spicy dish was the best thing I ate the entire time. After I returned home, I stocked up on Caribbean spices and had chicken sandwiches every day for a week.

…Yeah, I’m going to make some more of that tomorrow.