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Oranjestad, Aruba

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We took a vacation over the winter to Aruba.

We chose Aruba because I am a big fan of Holland and hoped to find a little bit of that in the island of Aruba. I'll admit that I was a little disappointed, I think I wanted a more authentic cultural experience. It's a tourist island, but not without it's charm. If I were to make a suggestion, I would say go to Jamaica for a more traditional native experience. I wonder if there are any traditional island experiences out there that haven't been watered down by tourism.

This is the harbor in Oranjestad, notice the Celebrity X cruise ship docked and assume that this is the most touristy part of the city.

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There aren't much for undisturbed beaches on the island, but if you point the camera just right, you might cut out the rest of the world.

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I get excited by Euro-looking traffic signs, and pretty girls.

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So this is the arcade (I think that's what it's called now). It's pretty much a tourist trap kind of outdoor mall, but the building is quite ornate and striking.

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A view from the 3rd floor of the arcade looking out at the cruise ship peer.

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This is the luxury mall right in the center of Oranjestad. All the highend shopping, duty free for the cruise shippers. It's built out just like a luxury American mall, but the corridors are open to the street (no doors). Better, but still I don't like malls at all.

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This is a courtyard (in a rainstorm) in the center of the city. From what I can tell, before the luxury mall and the cruise ship district, the name brand stores and shops were here. Some still are, we went into a Nike Store. I know it's all the same product, but I would have been happier to see the stores lining down the narrow cobblestone streets, rather than in a marble floor luxury mall. This is the most authentic area I found in Oranjestad.

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Here's a wall mural.

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Balashi, the beer of Aruba, light - kind of like Stella Artior.

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This small sidewalk bridge allowed a canal to flow under the street and inside the Reniassance Hotel (directly to our right). Guests at this luxury hotel could take a boat from INSIDE the hotel, under the street and to a private island.

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