Fear and the Afterlife in Aruba: My Personal Journey in The New York Times (and Photos!)

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We had been in the lobby of our hotel in Oranjestad, Aruba’s capital, for only a few minutes when the Dutch territory’s Arcadian “One Happy Island” front was shattered by a desk clerk whose petulance hit me like a left hook straight to the temple. As she delivered the rules and regulations like a stern lecture, scolding my daughter and me for the simple offense of standing before her, my mind drifted back home to New York City. There I was, at Mendez Boxing gym, and there she was, standing in place of my favorite heavy bag.

Eventually, spurred by my husband, Sacha, she produced a set of room keys. But when we finally made our way down the spare beige hallway and into a room facing the busy boulevard (with dingy beds smaller than advertised), I realized I was relieved to have seen the front desk clerk’s vitriol. It countered the tourism board’s Stepford-ian remake of Aruba. And that was a good thing.

CONTINUE READING THE STORY HERE. 

BELOW ARE SOME PHOTOS FROM OUR TRIP, MOSTLY TAKEN BY DJALI BROWN-CEPEDA.

COPYRIGHT, 2014.

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