Published on:

Coconut Telefax 08/27/18

Coconut Telefax logo - Rona Coster Aruba

Loretti Design Creates Memorable Jewelry

Local artist Deborah de Weerd of Loretti Design & Art regularly shows off her creations at local events while also keeping pieces on permanent display at Paradera Park Apartments.

Loretti Design Aruba
Loretti Design Aruba

Together with her husband, Henk, Deborah owns and manages Paradera Park Apartments, and in her spare time, she creates beautiful jewelry, officially certified as made in Aruba‎ by the National Artisan Seal of Aruba. Her jewelry, combining glass, fabric, and leather, can be found on Facebook under Loretti Design. It is already worn by Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, who was given a piece by the artist on the queen’s visit here a few years ago. The Loretti Royal Collection, naturally named in honor of the royal fashionista, offers sculpted Murano glass of the most amazing colors threaded on leather strands or fabric ropes, finished with silver hook clasps. The more casual collection, which is more reasonably priced, is named Loretti Streetwear, and can be worn all the time. Debby also makes flameworked soda-lime-glass sculptures, in addition to digitally manipulated photographs she calls Landscapes of Imagination.

Loretti Design Aruba

Loretti developed gradually after Debby was introduced to glass and other materials as a student at the Academy of the Arts in Maastricht, Netherlands. The Loretti Studio in Aruba can be visited at Paradera Park Apartments. Learn more about Loretti Design here.


New Cocktail Party at The Casino at Hilton Aruba

Patrons are invited to the casino’s Managers’ Cocktail Party on Mondays at 7 pm to meet the team, have a drink with snacks, and win great door prizes. The event, with live entertainment by band leader Papito Raphael, is chased by a Blackjack Happy Hour from 7 pm to 9 pm, with $5 minimum bets.

Hilton Casino Aruba
Hilton Casino Aruba

The casino’s Poker Room is also promoting an exceptional offer for the end of the month, with a first prize of $10,000 in the upcoming Aruba Poker Series, starting Aug 30, with the finals on September 2. The tournament buy-in is set at $150.

Additionally, a fundraising bingo benefiting Fundacion pa Nos Comunidad, FPNC, is set for Sunday, September 2, at 4 pm. The foundation, headquartered in Oranjestad, was founded in 2009 with a mission to inspire, cultivate hope and confidence, encourage compassion and understanding, and create opportunities for the less fortunate members of our island.

BINGO pa Nos Comunidad tickets are on sale for $15 per card, and will be $20 at the door on September 2. The bingo will feature a $200 reward for the first two games, $250 for the three following, and $300 for games 6 and 7. The giant progressive jackpot will be up for grabs on game 8, with $65,000 (if not won) for a bingo landed in 50 calls, or $1,000 thereafter in 51 calls and up. Game 9 will carry a whopping reward of $2,500.

For information about the promotions and the Poker Room, call 526-6930, 630-3899, or 526-6917.


Aruba Hosts the Caribbean’s Largest Vow Renewal Ceremony

The big “I do” took place on August 22, 2018, for the second year in a row. The Aruba Tourism Authority dubbed it Vow Renewal 2.0, held on the World’s #4 Beach, spectacular Eagle Beach.

Aruba wedding vow renewal ceremony

Couples from all over the globe made it to the island to renew their “I dos” and participate in the fun amorous affair, which coincided with Romance Awareness Month on the One Happy Island.

Reverend Andy Osborne conducted the official ceremony, and the after-party included Carnival dancers and a traditional Hora Loca celebration with the Bamboo band.

Participants enjoyed the complimentary ceremony with Champagne, hors d’oeuvres, and transportation to and from the event.

Aruba vow renewal ceremony
Aruba vow renewal ceremony
Aruba vow renewal ceremony

Some of the couples were newlyweds, and some were married for decades, including two lovebirds who have spent the last 61 years together!

Ambiance and décor were inspired by real destination weddings in Aruba. Letz Aruba did a great job, and so did wedding planner Lissy Lampe, whose company, Ceremonies & Celebrations in Aruba, was part of the organizing team. Couples were encouraged to embrace their inner bride and groom on the occasion and dress in white with pops of Caribbean color.

The ceremony started at 6 pm, just in time for a spectacular sunset. The Aruba Tourism Authority reports over 200 couples, including some LGBT couples, in addition to a number of locals who just walked in.


Gandelman, Official Jeweler of the #ARUBAIDO

Each couple renewing their vows at the Caribbean’s biggest vow renewal ceremony got an elegant, blue goodie bag from Gandelman. It contained a raffle ticket for matching his & hers Cartier bracelets. Hers was a bracelet of 18k yellow, pink, and white gold Trinity Rings on a silk cord, and his was a bracelet of white gold and ceramic Trinity Rings on a silk cord. The winners, a young honeymoon couple from Chicago who got married three days prior, were elated to present their starred winning ticket to Jonna Gandelman and collect their prize, right there on the beach, posing for a photo opportunity in front of the stage with their iconic Cartier bags.

Aruba vow renewal ceremony Gandelman jewelers

Each couple participating in the ceremony also received a voucher in their goodie bag, which entitled them to a gift with purchase at Gandelman. Established in 1931, Gandelman is renowned for exclusive fine watches, jewelry, and accessories, all at Caribbean duty-free prices. Built on a solid family business, Gandelman represents what is the finest in the field of luxury shopping, offering brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, Cartier, David Yurman, Bulgari, Carrera y Carrera, Carla Amorim, Ana Morris, Pesavento, Lisa Nik, Tudor, and Victorinox.


The Local Experience

In search of an authentic experience last Friday, just past sunset, we arrived at Djiespie’s place at Plaza Nikki Habibe in Oranjestad.

Djiespie was a hard-working press photographer who worked for the Amigoe di Aruba newspaper. He was close with the undertaker Zepp Wever, and when Zepp transitioned to another world, Djiespie’s wife and daughters took over Zepp’s refresqueria across from the Amigoe di Aruba offices at the end of Main Street. The refresqueria occupies the street level of a gorgeous Art Deco building. Zepp and Djiespie had coffee every morning at the refresqueria’s long counter with red vinyl swivel stools before heading to work, one to host funerals, the other to photograph them.

So now you know what a refresqueria is—a place that offers snacks, ice cream, coffee, nothing complicated. Djiespie’s is that to this day. Drinks and snacks, the basic stuff.

Five days a week you can get your pastechi, morning newspaper, and coffee there; on the sixth day, Etty Toppenberg gives his weekly Friday-night concert—you haven’t lived until you’ve attended.

Djiespie's Aruba
Djiespie's Aruba

Last Friday, Etty was accompanied by the equally fabulous Eric Escalone and 14 other old-timers, including a spoon player.

Etty is a troubadour. A rare talent. I can listen to him talk and sing for hours and enjoy every second. He sings folkloric compositions and old songs while strumming a guitar. But what’s special is the audience: his elderly fans do the quick-quick-slow, quick-quick-slow, and shuffle effortlessly on the pavers in front of the refresqueria, gliding smoothly and seamlessly to the music. Dancing—it’s something you never forget.

Gallo wine—White Grenache Rosé from a small plastic bottle—never tasted so good.

The old-timers still have a lot of life in them; don’t underestimate the septuagenarians.

Next Friday, take out your comfortable shoes and your glittery top, sprinkle on a bit of Old Spice Eau de Toilette or Tabac Original—4711 Eau de Cologne is welcome too—and join the party.


Mussels at Papillon

Zeeuwse Mosselen have been served at Papillon restaurant for the past nine years. You guessed it. The restaurant is celebrating the ninth anniversary of this tradition this summer. The fresh delicacy is flown in from the Netherlands, from the beginning of July through August. “We fly them in directly from Holland, and they arrive on Thursday’s KLM flight as fresh as they can be,” says Tina van Mal, restaurant manager, who is fast to add that besides Dutch mussels, the same flight also delivers famous fine de clair oysters from France.

The oysters are served different ways: the way nature intended them to be served, in briny seawater with a wedge of lemon, or with a bit of teriyaki sauce and slivers of red pepper. Eating creamy, delicious oysters is like eating a small amount of pure ocean.

I also had a pound of mussels, the classic recipe, all on my own. The mussels were cooked in a two-tier steamer pot in a rich broth with wine, carrots, and onions, and served with the world’s best French fries and three different sauces: remoulade, garlic, and Russian. Using a mussel shell as tweezers, I extracted the meat out of the popped-open shells, down to the very last mussel.

Dutch mussels at Papillon Aruba
Papillon Restaurant Aruba

The bread with an olive tapenade, the delicious choices of wine by the glass, the garden-terrace ambiance, the fire torches, the nostalgic French chansons, and the gracious service all contributed to a very charming dinner experience.

Papillon restaurant was named after a famous book (later made into a movie) depicting the adventures of Henry Charriere, a French writer convicted as a murderer by the French courts. In jail he wrote the famous novel Papillon, a memoir of his incarceration on a penal colony in French Guiana and his later escape. The movie, a 1973 Oscar-winning saga with Steve MacQueen and Dustin Hoffman, was a global hit. The movie was remade in 2017 with Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek to lesser acclaim, but it keeps the extraordinary story of survival in the Caribbean alive, as does the lovely French/Caribbean restaurant.