Southern Caribbean Cruising — ABC Islands; Bonaire

The “B” in the ABC Islands stands for Bonaire, and we’re going to look at this destination over the next two weeks. That’s because, unlike “A” (Aruba) we did a lot more than just shopping. We went on a brief foot tour of the capital city Kralendijk, followed by a minibus tour that would take us to the southern end of this Caribbean Netherlands island in the Leeward Antilles.

Historical Kralendijk Walking Tour map conveniently located at the port

Upon arrival Ursula and I picked up a paper copy of the walking tour map you see above and set out on foot. The more historical foot-tour stuff I’ll show next week. Today I’m going to concentrate on the unique, colorful buildings we saw along the way starting with this charming little shop on Kaya Grandi (Main Stree):

Colorful retail shop for rent on Kaya Grandi (Main Street)

The storefronts along Kaya Grandi are awash in bright color. Take for instance the Mona Lisa Bar & Restaurant:

Mona Lisa in yellows and reds

But that image doesn’t give you the full impact until you get a line up a whole row of brightly colored buildings along this main shopping area:

Kaya Grandi near Kaya Isla Riba

Continuing our trek northward along Kaya Grandi:

Kaya Grandi

Beyond Kaya L.D. Gerharts the colorful building begin to peter out, but keep trekking:

Kaya Grandi at Kaya L.D. Gerhardts

You’ll still find some interesting photo subjects if you do:

Tiki and Company bar

It was beyond the Tiki bar pictured above that we stumbled upon a rather colorful car rental agency, Rento Fun:

Rento Fun

Yep. Those are Land Rovers for rent. The chartreuse one is a particularly nice touch. But that’s not what really caught my eye. What drew my interest was this circa 1945 Dodge truck:

Dodge truck, circa mid-1940s

Much beyond here interest waned, and we headed west for the parallel Kaya J.N.E. Craane for a look along the water’s edge. Under construction was a new pier, and efforts were underway to relocate coral:

Brain coral being relocated

On Wednesday I’ll show you our trek south on a guided tour we picked up near the cruise port. Until then:

Caribbean Blue

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Fun Photo Friday — Southern Caribbean; ABC Islands — Aruba

Royal Plaza Mall

Today’s Fun Photo Friday brings to a close the “A” in the ABC Islands. Next week we move on to “B”. That would be Bonaire, and we covered a lot on that visit so I’ll be running articles over a couple of weeks. Until then, here’s today’s photo gallery:

A fun reminder of where you’ve been is to photograph a local license plate
Ursula sharing a bench with a friendly cow
Blue on White
SharQy’s Cantina

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Southern Caribbean Cruising — ABC Islands; Aruba shopping at Noble Jewelers

Noble Jewelers — Across from Royal Plaza Mall

The store I alluded to on Monday’s article was Noble Jewelers, which shares a building with Kay Fine Jewelry (yep, that Kay’s; like the one in your local mall). But before I begin, let me assure you that I was in no way compensated for this article, nor was it requested by the proprietors at Noble Jewelers. Indeed, this article will probably come as a surprise to them once I send word of it to them. Here is the gentleman who helped us on our quest to secure a reasonably priced yet nice example of an emerald for Ursula:

Ursula and Noble Jewelers sales consultant Mukesh “Max” Kumar

And, yes, Noble Jewelers is indeed the top seller of Hearts on Fire diamonds. They had a couple of awards displays to prove it. In addition to the one I presented on Monday, here’s another, again with Mukesh “Max” Kumar’s name plastered all over them:

A sampling of Mukesh “Max” Kumar’s many Hearts on Fire sales awards

But diamonds do not constitute the sole gemstone sold here. Neither is Hearts on Fire their sole source for diamonds. Here is a gallery of some of their other samplings:

As I mentioned before, this is a very modest store. Totally unexpected when one considers the amount of sales in Hearts on Fire diamonds alone. Here is the interior shot of this unpretentious outlet:

Noble Jewelers

But looking around they definitely won’t let you forget that one specific source for which they are known:

Hearts on Fire posters

On Monday I told you that I am well aware of Ursula’s tastes in jewelry. Indeed, I frequently find something she’ll like well before she does. This visit to Noble Jewelers proved no exception, as I was the one who discovered a pair of earrings that mesh perfectly with Ursula’s tastes. Alas, Ursula does not wear earrings, so it would appear that finding this gem was all for naught:

One half of a pair of emerald earrings

The emeralds had color, depth, were relatively clear, and as a bonus they were haloed by a tastefully arranged complementing ring of ten round and eight trapezoid diamonds. Quite the quandary, until Max presented a solution. Max offered to break the set and at no additional cost set one of the earrings as a pendant. Astonishingly, he held to that no-cost pledge even after I negotiated a better price. He asked what I wanted to pay, and to my shock and amazement he accepted my first offer, which I thought was on the lowball side.

Max and Ursula on our next day visit to pick up her emerald

Fortunately Grandeur of the Seas was overnighting in Oranjestad, so Max had more than enough time to get the work done for pick-up the following afternoon. The work was very nicely done, as you can see from this photograph:

Ursula’s first emerald

Okay, that’s it for shopping tips in this series. My apologies if it bored you to tears, but I just thought some might want a tip for shopping in the Southern Caribbean. The rest of the series will be shopping free.

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