We left from New York City after Christmas, taking a quick flight for a last minute holiday trip. One last taste of sunshine before the cold New England winter set in.
The wind is always blowing in Aruba, the sun always shining, even when small clouds will spit rain onto the sands. We rode horses through Arikok National Park and swam in a natural pool on the oceanside, diving deep to the bottom to bring up treasures.
Everywhere you look is blue - blue sky, blue sea, blue eyes. This is one of the first significant trips I took with a significant other, and it was just as magical as the island. Snorkeling might have been my favorite thing to do there, and we did it every day. The water glistened and the scales of the fish sparkled as we dropped frozen peas into the ocean, the mouths of the parrot fish puckering as they ate.
I love going to new lands, especially to learn and admire the flora and fauna, everything new to me. To be able to see a cactus in bloom, the divi divi trees bent in the shape of the wind, as I whisper their names over and over so I remember.
The entire island ignites with fireworks at the breaking of the new year. We sat on the roof, drank beers and lit sparklers, as explosions went off all around us. In every direction, cracks and sparks bloomed in the sky for what seemed like hours. Car horns blared and people cheered as we chased out the last of the past year.
There are a number of stray donkeys on the island of Aruba. They wander up and down the beaches, sticking their head in cars and requesting snacks, licking the salt off our fingers as we fed them potato chips.
There is a donkey sanctuary on the island that you can visit, run entirely off donations. The volunteers do a number of rescues throughout the year, catching known feral donkeys, or saving them from abusive situations.
Cars accidents are a major threat to the donkeys, with many of them sadly being fatal.
While there are many stray dogs and cats, there are also many pets. A number of the beaches are dog friendly, and the neighbor of our homestay cared for quite a few street cats in the neighborhood.
Never have I met so many animals while on vacation, nor saw so many fish, nor had so many mini bottles of beer, nor stepped on a sea urchin for the first, and hopefully the last, time.