Thursday, 24 April 2008

My original plan for this entry was to make you green with envy. It's really about time anyway...

But instead of telling you about the glorious weather and beach here, about living in a nice hotel room where other people take care of your laundry, where you are not able to cook for yourself (not that I'd want to) and have to order Room Service or about sitting at the pool doing f#%k all other than drinking strawberry daiquiris etc., I have come across something else you need to know about. And when I say need to know about, for some of you I really mean it. You can't afford not to know!

But let's back up one step. As some of you might remember from my previous entry, I am currently in Aruba on a secret mission. And while Room Service might be fun once in a while, trust me, you don't want it every night. There is also only so much diversion a hotel room or even an entire hotel can offer, so you will have to venture out once in a while. Especially if it is Stanley Cup Playoff season (that means Ice Hockey for those of you who might not follow US Sports as closely as you should) and the games are not shown on the channels available in your room and you have been to the Champions Sport Bar in your hotel 4 times in the week already.

There are plenty of dinner opportunities here in the direct vicinity of the hotel including a Tony Romas, a TGI Fridays, Benihana among many many others. Quite a few of them will show sports events. But the one place that caught my eye is located directly above the Benihana here.

It is a Hooters!!! I see the question mark in some of your faces. Well, Hooters is a restaurant chain that uses a certain concept to appeal to a certain type of customer. I am very excited! More explanations later. Believe it or not, I had never been to one before. That's not particularly surprising as in Europe they are relatively rare. There's only 2 in Germany, 3 in Austria & Switzerland and only one in the UK. I was very close to getting into one once about 10 years ago on a USA holiday, but the girlfriend at the time did not deem it a suitable dining option, what with all the sports on TV and the lovely waitresses and their very own asset structure.Hooters..

Which brings us back to the concept. Nocturnal birds like owls are referred to as Hooters, presumably because of the noise they make.homepagemain_03 The company actually uses an owl in their logo.  However, certain female body parts are sometimes also referred to as Hooters and I believe this is more what the founders had in mind 25 years ago.

So, you end up with a restaurant that serves about the usual American fare (i.e. onion rings, ribs, shrimps, burgers etc.) served by pretty waitresses with big smiles in a very distinctive outfit in a place showing all sorts of sports on many many TVs. It also has a certain knack for taking the mick out of themselves, which is something I like very much in everything. As I said, it appeals to a certain type of customer. As you might have guessed by this point, I am one of them. No seriously, if you haven't been, you must go at once! Take my car!

So while I could try to tell you that I went in there last Friday for a Caesar Salad, the New York Rangers game and a drink, I don't think I would be very successful. It is partly true though. They also had Happy Hour. So, I sit there with my 2 drinks watching the game with one eye and soaking up the atmosphere and all the information with the other. You see, we hospitality folks have a bad habit of always looking for flaws or figuring out how something works.

images Well, while I obviously don't know for sure, I would think the Aruba Hooters is a franchise run by what I would guess are a Filipino family, which comes maybe a bit unexpected. The kitchen is quick and puts out decent food. The whole place including the Used Beer Department (love it!) is clean and well maintained. Some of the girls are truly lovely and by luck I have chosen the section served by the prettiest one of them.  Her name is Natasha and with her wonderful smile she keeps me supplied with drinks for about the next 3 hours. During the game I proceed to befriend 2 American guys at the next table, one of which works at the local refinery. I have pretty much forgotten everything else they have told me. After the game is over I hand over a ludicrously large amount of money to the lovely Natasha and move on. Because I have lost the receipt, I can't tell you how many drinks I had exactly. I could also not remember any particularly funny behavior on my part, but supposedly I guess there must have been a lot of drinks as well as some memorable behavior on my part.images1

I went back there on Monday for the Boston Bruins game (really) and was immediately recognized and greeted with a big smile, which kind of tells me what sort of evening it must have been. Whatever, as long as I'm greeted like this and as long as the lovely Natasha is around I'll be more than happy to go back.

Today there is no Ice Hockey, so I'm not going, but nevertheless, you'll have to excuse me now. Room Service has just arrived and I really was out to make you full of envy after all....

Life's good, take care...

Thursday, 24 April 2008 04:03:06 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
 Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Well well well. Actually I wanted to tell you more about my holiday back home and in London.

I wanted to tell you in detail about my friend Tefo and me going to see Bayern München play Leverkusen and win in the Allianz Arena and also some facts about this amazing place.

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I wanted to tell you about my reunion ten years after I finished my apprenticeship at the Platzl hotel;Wuschi & Sophie

I wanted to tell you about the new OBI (a German DIY chain) in Erding and about all the cool stuff you can can get there...

I wanted to tell you about my friends Julia and Wuschi and their babies and Wuschi's extraordinary attitude towards the little lady (and also how she already farts like a pro)...  

10176245_525 I wanted to tell you about the journey to and from London, the new restaurant at the Grosvenor House Hotel and how it must be bleeding money left right and center. How the hotel had the biggest chocolate Easter egg in town (made by their German pastry chef). How I was asked many many times by many many people when I would come back (and how that warmed my heart). About meeting many dear friends and celebrating my friend Steve's surprise birthday party and about how people like to hear my stories (even over and over again).

I wanted to tell you about my ankle and how the German Health system and Capitalism really work. And about Family lunches, Schnitzels, the journey back, being back in Curacao, having Brazilian soccer legend Romario at the hotel and god knows what else....

Alas, it is not to be... Things are happening too fast in my life and I need to try and stay on top of things...

And so, to different matters.....

Due to reasons I cannot really discuss in a forum like this, I was on the road again last week. With that I mean, that only 10 days after arriving back in Curacao I have left the country again.

The first part of the adventure was (as usual with me) the actual traveling itself. This was due mostly to the type of aircraft. For those of you who are taking notes, it was a Shorts SD3-60 and, apart from the flying contraption that took us sky-diving last year, it was the smallest plane I have ever been in.

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I am happy to report though that it is perfectly capable of making small trips like the one I have just made.

And so it is that I find myself in Aruba, the westerly neighbor island to Curacao and the A of the ABC islands.

They have put me up in a nice, newly-renovated room at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino (www.marriott.com/auaar) so who am I to complain? In fact, I am enjoying all the amenities the place has to offer, including the gym and the pool (bit of a sunburn actually) and I’m happy to report that the notorious ankle, which has featured in this space a couple of times over the last half year, seems to be holding up! Depending on how long I will be here (and that is the Million Dollar question at this point), I might be running a 8-minute mile again soon. With all this beach and pool and stuff, the beer belly has to go anyway.

I have decided that I really like this hotel. I have inspected most other hotels on the strip here in Aruba, with the notable exception of the Riu Palace, which takes their All-Inclusive-Guest-Only-Policy really seriously and did not let me in (cheeky buggers!). I think I am confident to report that the Marriott, somewhat unusually in my experience if I may say, is actually the nicest place to stay on the island (at least of the high rise hotels). You see, unless you include Ritz-Carltons and JW Marriott hotels, Marriotts are usually the most profitable hotels but not necessarily the nicest to look at or the most innovative.

The Hyatt here is putting up some considerable competition but due to the fact that they, just like all other hotels here with the exception of the Marriott, have incarcerated a number of parrots for people to look at and take pictures, does not get my final vote. Why in god’s name do hotels do that? Who wants a picture of a big colorful bird in a CAGE? I guess they take them out once in a while, but anyway.

Honorable mention also goes to the Westin hotel, which I liked as well, even though I can’t put my finger on why exactly.

But really, if coming to Aruba, stay at the Marriott! But enough Marriott advertising and back to the island itself.

The island is a bit smaller than Curacao and I would say it’s also drier. From what I have seen, in general it is very different to Curacao. Everything caters to the American market and there are far less Europeans. Strangely enough, I think that makes it somewhat more attractive.

There seems to be more to do and when it comes to entertainment and dining options, Aruba blows Curacao out of the water.

At this point I would like to thank Ester and Joris who were my exploring and dining companions last week and without who I would most likely have been pretty bored (though a bit fitter perhaps and definitely less hung over on Friday).

Really people, if you like steak, come here, you will not be disappointed. There is a couple of excellent places. Just bring enough money.

And if you're a Marriott associate like me and you go to the Steakhouse at the Renaissance Hotel to have a good dinner thinking you can get your associate discount, think again. They don't give it to you, the misers, using some lame Franchise excuse!

But I do bet they did not count on someone like me coming along telling everybody what tight geezers they really are. Ha! They do cook one mean steak though...

Notably, there is also Dunkin Donuts here, which is something that does not exist on Curacao. Trust me, this is of vital importance to Curacalaneans, especially the ladies in my office... Thank you for reminding me every day!

In general I would not go as far as saying the people here are friendlier or happier than in Curacao, but they all seem to be genuinely nice and happy. They are so happy in fact (or at least pretend to be) that they put that on their cars' number plates. One Happy Island.

On second thoughts they can't all be that happy really. The last few days quite a few people have been on strike here. Customs, Immigration even the Fire Department!

Be that as it may, I know what I would put instead: The island where nobody seems to know what time it is. No really, I have rarely been so popular due to the fact that one my (previously lesser thought of) skills is telling the time. Amazing! Whether it's tourists or locals, I get asked all the time.

I guess it goes to show that everybody here is a bit more relaxed... and I'm afraid that is exactly what I will do now. Relax.

So, that's it for today. With all the stuff that is going on though, there should be more soon, I promise.

Until next time, take care

Wolfi

Wednesday, 16 April 2008 00:42:20 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  |