"We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have". - Frederick Koenig

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Photohunt 263: Square, Aruban Excursion

It's been a while since my last PhotoHunt, but when I saw the subject for this week my mind went straight to one place -- Aruba.  This photo, taken from inside of the Bushiribana ruins, is one of my favorite shots from a trek up the northern coast on our first visit to the island.  Obviously evident is the square 'window' overlooking the beach and the vivid blue of the Atlantic Ocean.  Less obvious is the journey it took to get to that spot.

Bushiribana at a distance.

Rock stacks along the beach at Bushiribana.

The fierce waves against the rocky northeastern coast of Aruba.

Aruba is a very interesting island to me.  So sparse is it on the northeastern shore that our map was blank except for a few landmarks and, what I suppose were considered frequently traveled routes that had finally given way to a path.  You may or may not see another tourist playing adventurer for the day -- most of the time it's just you and your travel companion(s) all alone your little rental jeep battling together to cross a vast expanse of dry sand and rock.  Just about as soon as you think you can't take another view of dusty terrain, or you get tired of driving endless stretches of sand and rock, you catch a glimpse over the horizon and realize that there is the most serenely beautiful beach just across they way that keeps you going.  I suppose in that way, the island can be a lot like life.

The climate is so arid and the vegetation so sparse that everything is a dusty sandy beige contrasted directly by the most gorgeous blue everywhere you look along the coast.  Driving along the rocky dirt "roads", you almost feel a bit depressed by the endlessly dry, sparse terrain, and very unsure of exactly where it is that your path will lead (or even if you're on a path at all).  After Jay decided to drive us through a live military firing range (imagine how thrilled I was), we actually ended up getting our rental jeep quite stuck at a certain point in a particularly severe part of the "road"  (which might be more aptly deemed a chasm).  I was almost in a full-out panic thinking that we were going to be stuck there forever - just us and the occasional goat that wandered by.

Fortunately for us, we did not get eternally lost, shot, or end up getting stuck long enough to spend the night with the goats.  We were wonderfully able to trek ahead through the disparaging landscape back towards our little slice of resort heaven to indulge for a bit in some of the gloriously clear water, pink sands, and fruity drinks.  I think because of the earlier events of the day, we were actually able to enjoy the comforts and ease of our surroundings that much more.  We didn't make that same explorative trek on our subsequent visit (once was enough for me), though I would no doubt recommend it to anyone who hasn't yet struck out on their own to explore.  Had we not ever felt lost on our map, gotten stuck in the rough and rocky terrain or taken the risk of crossing the firing range, we never would have seen the beauty of the island in it's entirety to really know where we were, or appreciated the comfort and luxury of the resort quite as much as we did for the rest of our visit - a lesson I, for one, would be wise to remember more often.

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