When it comes to beach bars in Aruba, you pretty much have to head to a pier to find one. Due to the mega resorts taking up most of the prime real estate, beach bars in Aruba are squeezed out, only finding a footprint somewhere on a pier. While the sand might not be present, the charm is and those views – well, they’re just as spectacular. As guest author Jim Greer found out and describes in a manner only he can, sometimes the best laid plans …. At the end of the day, he found himself at one of those “beach bars on a pier” sipping a cocktail and enjoying the view. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.
“Mama said there’ll be days like this. There’ll be days like this my mama said.” Mama Said, The Shirelles (1966).
If everything always worked out, the truly special times would actually seem ordinary. As has been said by kings and queens, these are not ordinary times.
Aruba. My Civil Procedure professor in law school constantly referred to Aruba as the ultimate reward of an effective litigator. “Honey, the jury just came in for the client. Book us a week in Aruba!” The way he said Aruba evoked visions of long stretches of sand, shaded with palms gently swishing in the sea breeze. Comfortable lounge chairs, attentive servers slinging rum-based boat drinks that never seemed to get warm, in glasses that were never empty.
If every beach bar essay was awesome, fabulous, best ever you’d wonder if we’d actually visited. Well, we did. Visit Aruba. In person.
We got a late start. Suffice to say both my wife and I own small businesses that are portable, fitting neatly into the hard drives of our travelling laptops. It isn’t always possible to close the lid, load a backpack and head out. By the time we’d paid the bills, noon cast a shadow over our shore excursion plans.
Never give up, never surrender. We crossed the gangplank onto solid ground and found the taxi stand. It was deserted. We caught the pier shuttle, which took us two hundred whole yards and deposited us in a collection of small pavilions hawking souvenir wares. That taxi stand was also deserted. Working our way through other small business owners trying to make their living, we found our ride, asking to go to Baby Beach…on assignment.
The price he quoted – we wanted to grab a ride, not buy his van. He suggested a closer destination and we bit. It turned out to be the resort strip.
Now, there is nothing wrong with resorts. One of the complexes, nestled right on the sand with thirty or forty thatched cupolas shading beach chairs, belongs to a vacation company with which we have a membership. It would be a great place to spend an all-inclusive week.
We selected, instead, a small bar on Pelican Pier. Near as I can figure, they are all pelican something. But, the drinks other people were having looked great and the food smelled delicious. We found chairs along the water and waited. And, waited.
We are familiar with island time. Why rush, when the calm, clear turquoise water, beach bodies and seaborne recreation unfold in front of us. What’s the rush? Where would you rather be?
Well, I’d rather be drinking while taking it all in. Not wishing to be unkind, I found a server and asked if we were sitting in the right place to be served. Of course we were. He handed me a menu, and promised to be right over. So, we waited some more.
You get the idea. The drinks – me rum and pineapple, her a hibiscus margarita – were fine. The fish finger appetizer was actually exceptional. Our server, harried and hard working, apologized for the length of time we waited and said he’d buy our appetizer.
Then charged us full price for everything.
We’re on a beautiful island, on a beach to which we’d gladly return. While we were eating, a small boat eased up to the pilings directly in front of us. Cool Runnings. Peace be the journey. We chatted with the boat captain briefly. Nice guy, loud reggae on a boom box by his feet. The cab driver who took us back to the boat was tremendous, full of stories about growing up in Aruba, places we might stay the next time we visited – which is distinctly possible. It was a beautiful place, the beach really was delightfully vibrant, clean… Beach heaven. What’s the big deal. Expectations are for amateurs. We take life a beach, a boat and a beer at a time.
After dinner that night we settled into a martini bar on board and had a delightful chat with a couple from Pennsylvania. My wife likes the occasional martini, and I’ll keep her company. We told our favorite martini story. They talked about Aruba.
They’d gone to Baby Beach via rental car, and loved it! They’d had lunch at a secluded spot where the day’s catch was selected for them, fried up and…
That’s sort of when I stopped listening. Mama said there’d be days like this.
About the Author
James Greer is a freelance writer who lives in Lakewood, CO with his wife Pat, two Portuguese Water Dogs and a cat of uncertain lineage. He and his wife travel extensively, believing that if there is not a beach bar nearby, it is not a destination. It is merely a way point.
Find more articles from James Greer.
If you’d like to contribute to a blog post, please send me an email at info (at) beachbarbums (dot) com. You can write it yourself of just send me a synopsis and I’ll write it. Probably not as well as you would write it but hey, it’s guaranteed to get posted. Either way, I’d love to feature your story!
Find out more about Aruba and its beach bars.