April 26, 2015

Aruba Day 1

Oh Aruba! We thoroughly enjoyed our stay!

I'm going to break things down into manageable portions here on the blog -- I'll be sharing photos and stories, and also details for my future scrapbooking...I hope you enjoy this chronicle of our amazing travels! Here we go! Day 1!

The Aruba welcome sign in their airport -- their island motto is "One Happy Island!"
Billboard sign of I Heart Aruba that we saw on the shuttle ride from the airport to
our hotel -- and Balashi is the local Aruban beer
We stayed at the Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino -- our room was so nice! We were on the second floor, and room 209 overlooked the adult pool (the quiet side!). The bed was very comfy, and we had a balcony! The bathroom was huge -- two sinks, a dressing table, a huge walk in closet, and around a corner was the toilet and bathtub. Very nice place to spend a week!
Upon arriving, we took our first selfie -- on our balcony!! Excited to be in Aruba!
This is a photo of our resort, taken from the beach. Every room had a balcony and an ocean view, and it was beautiful grounds. In the photo, bottom left, you can see La Vista, which was the main restaurant. There was a buffet for breakfast and dinner, and menu for lunch. We were blessed to have all-inclusive bracelets, for food and drinks. We would have spent thousands of dollars on food without the bracelet, so thank you FDLIC!!!
Our first day in Aruba was a bit overcast and cloudy...and windy. We were soon to find out that Aruba is always windy! It never stops. But it is actually kind of nice, because it helps it to not feel so hot. Being on the equator, the sun is pretty intense!
Our first evening, FDLIC hosted a Welcome Reception for all attendees -- about 250 of us! They set it all up on the beach...a fabulous buffet, open bar, and lots of tables. It was fun getting to see everyone, get hugs, etc. It was a fun evening! This is me and my friend Kim, right before we headed to the reception. We had fun hanging out with her and her husband Jason all week!
Our first Aruba sunset...cloudy, but still beautiful! The water in Aruba is the most gorgeous pale blue color...I don't think I've ever seen water this color before.
At the Welcome Reception, our CEO Kris called up the three people who would be celebrating birthdays during our stay in Aruba...it was a bit embarrassing because he then had the group of 250 sing Happy Birthday to us! Not my favorite moment, to be sure :)
Chris enjoying his first local beer! With all-inclusive drinks, and an open bar at the reception, he had quite a bit of fun! :) It made his snorkel trip (on day 2) a bit more adventurous!!

: Stayed the night before at the DFW Marriott, and left our car there for the week.

: The night before, we had dinner with Mark and Lori Owen and Craig and Caleb Loper at Pappacitos. Mark treated us!

: Monday morning, we caught the 4:00 a.m. shuttle to the airport. Our flight was at 7:15 a.m.

: Our flight from Dallas to Miami was quite rough for awhile, spilling Chris' coffee everywhere. The pilot said we were experiencing "aeronautical potholes". It was the roughest commercial flight I've been on.

: After a short layover, our flight from Miami to Aruba was good.

: A bus took our group to the Marriott Resort and we arrived there around 4:30 p.m. Along the way, we were able to glimpse the downtown area and some of the housing. Everything was painted in very bright colors of blue, yellow, orange, etc. There was a lot of shopping, but oddly it was mostly very high end shops like Louis Vuitton.

: We were in room 209. Our balcony overlooked the adult pool, and we were able to see the ocean in the distance.

: We had green all-inclusive wrist bands for food and drink! These bands worked in most areas of the hotel.

: Our first stop was to Ketsu, the Sushi bar -- it was delicious! We thought we would eat there so much throughout the week that we would be sick of sushi and not want to eat it upon returning home...but this ended up being the only time we ate there.

: We walked around the resort to get the lay of the land and check things out. Everything was so clean and beautiful. There were a lot of waterfalls, a hot tub, a main pool, an adult pool, multiple bars, two restaurants, a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse (not included), and straw huts on the beach. The beach itself was very clean. The sand was never hot. And the floor of the ocean was smooth and I didn't even have to wear my water shoes!

: We enjoyed our first round of drinks with Anna and her guest Pillar. Together, they were a hoot!

: At 7:00 p.m., we attended the Welcome Reception -- a delicious buffet! It was great to see everyone and get to visit. They were from all across the U.S.

: I turned in after awhile so that I could unpack and get some rest, and Chris enjoyed a few more drinks with the fun crowd :)

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