2014.4.4In the morning, I got up at 6:30 and went to Alto Vista Chapel to shot sunrise. Someone said watching sunrise at Alto Vista Chapel is a spiritual experience, but it took me much longer time to get there than I though. The sun already rose up.

I drove about a mile north off road. Aruba’s northeastern beach is rocky. I didn’t want to get the tires damaged so I stopped and took some pictures of the rocky landscape. On the surface of the beach, there are a lot of igneous rocks, broken and rugged. The other type looked like coral reef, mostly beneath the surface. They seemed to be composed by narrow and parallel pipes in rock formation.

Northeast coast near Alto Vista Chapel, Aruba
Northeast coast near Alto Vista Chapel
Sand formation at Northeast coast near Alto Vista Chapel, Aruba
Stone formation at Northeast coast near Alto Vista Chapel

Returned to the hotel, after having the breakfast, we set off to see some landmarks of the island. Driving to the north, the road runs along the coast. Beaches become quite narrow and sand are coarse. There are no grand hotel anymore. Between Hadicurari Beach and Malmok Beach, not far from the coastline, there is a small shipwreck. A more famous shipwreck is Antilla Shipwreck, located between Malmok Beach and Boca Catalina Beach, further in the sea and cannot be seen from the coast. It’s a popular place for scuba diving.

A shipwreck near Malmok Beach, Aruba
A shipwreck near Malmok Beach

At the very north tip of the island, it’s California Lighthouse. It’s named after another ship wrecked nearby. Adjacent to the lighthouse is an Italian restaurant called La Trattoria el Faro Blanco. Both the lighthouse and the restaurant sit on a hill. The balcony of the restaurant offers a beautiful view of the western beaches and coastline and golf course Tierra del Sol.

Overlook the northern tip of Aruba from Restaurant La Trattoria el Faro Blanco
Overlook the northern tip of Aruba from Restaurant La Trattoria el Faro Blanco
A colorful lizard, Aruba
A colorful lizard near California Lighthouse
California Lighthouse, Aruba
California Lighthouse
California Lighthouse, Aruba
View California Lighthouse from the beach

We then visited Alto Vista Chapel, the place I just went to in the morning. The chapel itself itself was undergoing some construction. The surrounding area is semi-arid, almost fully covered by tree-like cactus.

Alto Vista Chapel, Aruba
Alto Vista Chapel, Aruba
Alto Vista Chapel, Aruba
Alto Vista Chapel, Aruba

The closest town to Alto Vista Chapel is called Noord, which has only a couple streets. We drove through the town back to the Palm Beach. We saw several Chinese restaurants by the road, but mostly empty. There were even a Chinese supermarket but also seemed closed. It’s said most of grocery stores and supermarkets are actually owned by Chinese in the island.

Village store by the road, Aruba
Village store by the road, Aruba

Near Palm Beach, along J.E. Irausquin Blvd. are the shopping area. We enter a store at Paseo Herencia Mall selling Mopa Mopa Artworks. These are woodcraft, masks, animal figures, boxes, with vivid colors. However, the colors are not painted on. The procedure to make these pieces are quite unique. The buds of the mopa mopa tree are boiled until they become a resin, like a gum. After adding vegetable dyes for the color, the artisans stretch the resin with hands and mouth, yes mouth, to make it into a thin sheet; then, it’s cut and applied to the wood. The tradition comes from Columbia. We bought a small fish from the store.

Fish, Mopa Mopa Artwork
Fish, Mopa Mopa Artwork

We went to a beach bar recommended by several locals to have the late lunch. To get to the beach, we have to cross Holiday Inn hotel. I have to say, Holiday Inn as well as Marriott are much more vibrant than Ritz-Carlton.

Holiday Inn resort, Aruba
Holiday Inn resort, Aruba

At the corner of Bubali road crossing island’s main road, L.G. Smith Blvd, there is a supermarket called Super Food Plaze. This is a huge place. It’s the Safeway of Aruba.

Fruits in super market, Aruba
Fruits in Super Food Plaze, Aruba
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