The Outsider: Red lights and shy lizards
|By Will Jones - The Outsider | February 16, 2017|
Ladies of the night are much easier to spot than iguanas.
And by ladies of the night I don’t mean some species of pretty butterfly. I use the term in its most poetic bent, to describe, well, ladies of the night. You know the ones I mean. And I say that they are much easier to spot than iguanas because in Aruba they are, at least in the neighbourhood where we stayed on our recent vacation.
You see, when the Outsider goes on holiday he likes to do it a little differently. Why would I want to go spend a week in a luxury resort, having drinks brought to me by the pool and choosing meals from a selection of multiple restaurants each evening? Why, oh why, when I can book an Airbnb apartment at the wrong end of the island and find myself five minutes from Aruba’s legal red light district.
Now, in my defense, the description of the apartment was a little misleading. It stated that the property was five minutes from Aruba’s national park, which it was. It stated that the apartment had its own private pool, which it did. It even stated that some of the best ‘undiscovered’ beaches were within a 10-minute drive, and you guessed it, they were. It did not state, however, that there was a street full of girly bars and ‘gentlemen’s’ clubs at the end of the road. I guess that’s what you call selective marketing. And, perhaps the same apartment is advertised with a whole different description on another website aimed at a different clientele.
And so it was that we struck out when it came to spotting iguanas but got quite good at recognizing the aforementioned working girls, while trying at all costs to avoid eye contact. This should have been easy but we quickly discovered that our favourite of those undiscovered beaches was Boca Grande, a wild and windswept stretch of sand, pounded by the deep blue waters of the Atlantic ocean, about 15 minutes away, if we drove down ‘girly bar lane’. The road wasn’t called that but oh my, it should have been. Speeding through the partially pedestrianized streets of San Nicolas, a full 10 km/h faster than the 30 km/h speed limit, I wished for the blacked-out windows of my old Chevy truck. Instead, Little Z waved out of the rear passenger window of our little rental car as we drove past the ladies, and they chuckled and blew kisses back.
“Let’s stop and see if they want to come to the beach,” suggested Little Z. His mother shut him down with a glare, which she then redirected at me, for what reason I am at a total loss to guess. Thankfully, once we were at the beach the mood lightened and we had a great day on the giant swathe of sand that was visited by only one other couple. My guess would be that the island’s prison, which overlooks the beach, puts off most tourists: more fool them is what we say.
Sandy and sunburnt, we headed back to our apartment for a dip in the pool and a cool beer. I was really, really looking forward to the latter but, in one of my more wise moments, I opted to take the, how shall I put it, other scenic route home. The drive took a good half an hour, meandering through the national park. Still we didn’t see an iguana, and my beer was delayed, too, but more to the point, I didn’t have to run a single red light, if you know what I mean.
WILL JONES - is The Outsider