Our Nightmare in Aruba
So, we land and rent our teeny clown car, otherwise known as Budget's economy class.
And after trying to discreetly cram our luggage in (and weighing whether or not we should leave a child behind or a suitcase), we successfully fit everyone and everything in and we begin to go!
Immediately, we're facing a massive roundabout when exiting the airport. Do you know how your life can flash before your eyes when faced with a roundabout littered with foreign directional signs, and zooming miniature cars racing by you?
I let out a little scream. Angus frantically tries to pull up the GPS on his phone. The kids were puddles of sweat between suitcases stacked on the backseat.
My first thought: Why did I do this to myself?
My second thought: Am I an idiot?
My third thought: I am wholly unprepared for this experience.
My fourth thought: I can't wait to write a blog post about this.
After having a personal moment of desperate prayer, we quickly learned a few things about driving and GPS in Aruba:
1) there is no GPS
2) there are no street signs
3) there are a handful of stop signs, primarily yield signs and roundabouts
4) rent-a-car agencies put giant company stickers on the rear windshields of every rental car. There was no subtle blending in for us. We might as well have had a giant neon sign blinking, "Alert, Locals! These are tourists!! Yes, tourists, meaning, idiot driver...Beware..."
As we drive, trying to orient ourselves, we give our Airbnb host a call. He doesn't answer. So, we have a street name, but no way of knowing where the street is. Our phones have no data signal, and the only landmark our host has given us is "We're located right next to the SuperFood Mall."
I suddenly ache for a paper map; you know, the ones our parents used that you could never fold the same way twice. Damn technology!
Is that big mall a superfood mall? What's a superfood mall? That Asian grocery store? It's big. Is it what islanders would call supersize? Ok, wait. There's a big 2-story food court. That's got to be a super-food-mall, right?
My husband and I are like contestants on The Amazing Race. We have no idea where we're going and our children are now suddenly thirsty in the back seat. Can we drink the water here? I doubt it? We don't have any Aruban Florin (currency). Will they take a Visa card?
WHERE IS OUR AIRBNB HOST???
Not to mention it's like 105 degrees and our tiny mouse air conditioner is barely kicking out any cold air. Our children stare at the hand cranks on the door and I'm sure they think that contraption belongs on the covered wagon exhibit at the pioneer museum. "Mom, how can I roll my window down, there's no button?"
Yes, these were our first hours on Aruba. We were sure we made a huge life mistake coming here, much less staying for a month. We can't understand how 60% of people are repeat tourists. This feels like a disaster!
*This is the second post in this Aruba series. In case you missed the first post, here it is!