Start of 780-word article


From the start we can see it is unlike other Caribbean islands. Cacti, some six to nine metres tall, dominate the landscape, along with the ubiquitous divi-divi tree so teased by the tradewinds it resembles flowing hair. Inland the ground is virtually desert, in places reminiscent of the lunar surface. There are no tropical jungles here, or plantations yielding luscious fruits for your breakfast table. Instead garden produce is brought from neighbouring Venezuela by boat and sold dockside in the island's capital, Oranjestad. Aruba's only sizeable town, Oranjestad is a colourful mix of old Dutch gabled architecture and modern North American, both with a Caribbean flavour. At times we are hard pressed to remember where we are. What we do know is that we love it all.

We love the long stretches of pale pebble-free beaches. We love the low humidity, and that constant fanning by tradewinds keeps temperatures at an ideal 26-29 deg C (80 - 85 deg f) year round. We love that the sun shines every day and hurricanes simply never come this way. And we love the upbeat atmosphere born of prosperity.