Alone Like a Rolling Stone

Once across Aruba on foot

 In the last week I had the idea to take a look at the north coast of Aruba. Across the island are, from the Surf Side Beach, a little over 10 kilometers. The distance is given in Google, on foot, with under two hours. I call that sporty. Either there are no hikers in Google or they were all once in the armed forces and put the seven kilometer march with 20 kilos of luggage as a basis. This one must master under one hour. Anyway, I set off and actually make it in just over two hours, from Surf Side Beach to the chapel Alto Vista.

Chapel Alto Vista, Aruba

You simply can't talk Aruba up, that's unfortunately the case. Neither for people who pay attention to sustainability in their travels, nor for those who expect a certain infrastructure. Only cruisers and beach vacationers get their money's worth here. On Aruba you are dependent on a vehicle. As a pedestrian you have simply bad cards. Either you will be attacked by an aggressive farm dog - and there are not too few of them - or you will be run over on a busy street by an over-motivated driver who thinks you have no business here. By the way, the dogs also think that you have nothing to look for here. As the wind dies down in the center of the island, a desert-like climate with high temperatures develops. The sandy soil on the unpaved roads creates a dry air. Although the island is heavily urbanized, I keep passing cactus forests, with columnar cacti up to five meters high. 

Column cacti, Aruba

If one meets then a house row of for example three houses, the first dog creeps out, lying in the shade, under a car or small truck. Mostly there is then a second one, which sneaks up from behind. By the yapping, the neighbor dogs become attentive and although, otherwise spinning enemy, they join together in a solidarity community and encircle the intruder, in this case me. If you keep them in sight and face them without fear, they keep their distance. The more there are, the more difficult this becomes, of course. If they are approached loudly and fixed with their eyes, they usually give in. In any case, a very uncomfortable situation, which is repeated many times on this day. Finally I reach my destination and am almost run over by a quad because the driver is inexperienced and struggles with the technique. Quads and beach buggies can be rented on the island and you can race through the desert landscape. However, this is pretty expensive fun, so a beach buggy costs 200US$ for 4 hours. It is all the more amazing that there are countless of them roaring through the landscape here. 

North coast of Aruba

Since the attractions on the island are sparse, the small chapel is well visited and also the starting point for many off-road tours. Apart from that, the landscape on the north coast of Aruba is rough and beautiful. The Caribbean Sea hits that coast with an impressive wave and the water splashes up like fountains. Such a natural spectacle always impresses me immensely. Despite the wind on the coast, it is hot here like in an oven and there are no shady places. One is completely at the mercy of the blazing heat of the sun. I make my way back. To avoid the dogs, I choose a slightly longer way, with a higher traffic volume. There are no dogs here, but the traffic on Aruba is huge. In one of the numerous supermarkets, which are mainly in Chinese hands, I try to buy something to drink. Quite unfriendly the Chinese gives me to understand that he takes only cash. When I point to the sign at the door, he only meant credit card only from 10$. A woman who is about to put her purchase on the conveyor belt interferes and says, "I'll pay for your drink." I thank her but decline. "I've seen you walking down the street and I'd be very happy to take payment for it." I again decline with thanks because the Chinese man's attitude annoys me and I just don't begrudge him the sales, even if they are small. I leave the store and, using Google Maps, look for my way back. After about a kilometer, a car stops next to me and the nice lady from the supermarket, hands me an energy drink. She says goodbye with the words, I should take care of myself, turned her vehicle and drives away, in the opposite direction. Which proves once again that women must always have the last word. No, of course they don't. I was insanely happy about this gesture and am also incredibly grateful to the woman. 

A flower for the nice lady

Obviously, I must have looked pretty beat up for her to go to such lengths. With all the aggressiveness that is otherwise so spread in the social media, such moments are true highlights, but seems to exist only in real life, as a small hint. Nevertheless, the kilometers drag on and at the end of the day I have a floppy 23 kilometers on the speedometer. A for me nevertheless considerable distance. The next days I will probably again somewhat calmer going on. Nevertheless it remains exciting and what happens further so everything, I tell you next week. Until then, as always, fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip.



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