EP67: Listening in on a conversation with Ann Fontaine

This episode of One Happy Podcast featuring 30 year Aruba visitor Ann Fontaine is one of my favorites. It’s a bit unique not only because it was recorded on location but also because there are four active participants in the conversation.  It wasn’t planned out that way but sometimes you just have to go with the flow.  While there were audible challenges that came with 4 people being limited to 2 microphones, the end result is something pretty special.  

So the interview took place at the Passion’s Beach Bar at Amsterdam Manor, during one of the bulletin board meetups.  The four of us commandeered a table and had a bit of a round-table discussion about Aruba.  The end result is a recording that gives the impression of a conversation being eavesdropped on from an adjacent table.  I really like doing the in-person interviews and would love to do more such interviews in the future.  

Over the course of this hour-long episode, we find out how Ann first discovered the island 30 years ago and what circumstances led to her purchasing a home.  Ann tells us all about her experience buying their home and also about the Aruba residency requirements.  We finish off the episode by talking about some of Ann’s favorite places on the island to eat.  While most of us can tell you about all the popular tourist places, it’s always nice to find out about lesser known establishments from someone who actually lives on the island.

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EP66: Maggie and Curt Aruba September 2016 Recap

So on today’s episode of One Happy Podcast, you get Maggie and I talking about our most trip to Aruba. Mostly we recap what all we did during our latest visit, but since this was supposed to be a more budget focused trip you also get us talking about costs.

This trip down to Aruba was definitely atypical to our norm. Not only did we set and more or less keep to a budget, but we did so without sacrificing any fun. While we didn’t partake in a few of our vacation staples, this gave us a chance to see what was truly important. As it turns out the number most important thing in any trip is not what you do, but who you are with.

On this trip standing side by side with my best friend we actually avoided Palm Beach almost entirely. For this visit to Aruba Eagle Beach and Arashi Beach were our stomping grounds. Also, as much as it killed us, we stayed away from most of our favorite restaurants. This trip down there was no Quinta Del Carmen or Tango Argentine Grill. Instead we went to more local type places such as Ramada Columbiana and Mi Dudu.

While our culinary and entertainment choices may have changed, our trademark fun continued on. Episode 66 of One Happy Podcast is a recap of that fun, with elements of education. We talk about our food choices, our entertainment options and our budget. In this episode everything is laid bare for you, so I hope you enjoy it.

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EP65 – The Arubian Taste by Jerome Nahr

One Happy Podcast Episode 65 is a podcast that I absolutely could not wait to get posted. This one is an interview with Jerome Nahr of the Arubian Taste Rum shop. If you have never been to The Arubian Taste let me explain what it is. Located in the Orange Plaza, Arubian Tastes is a rum shop owned by Jerome and Marcia Nahr. Here Jerome makes and sells his own flavors of rum. The selection is absolutely astounding and many are unlike anything I have ever tasted anywhere else. To top it all off, you can sample any or all of the rums in the shop.

My last trip down to Aruba I walk into the Arubian Taste and absolutely fell in love. Not only is the shop an absolute paradise for a rum lover but Jerome and Marcia are two of the most amazing people you are likely to meet. Their fun-loving demeanor and welcoming attitudes are the absolute essence of what Aruba means to me. I wanted to record them ever since I visited that first time but this wasn’t one that could be done over skype. In order to get the full spirit and capture the love of rum, Jerome has it had to be done in person. So, for this interview, I was able to sit down with Jerome to pick his brain a bit on how all of this got started.

I know many of you listening don’t really venture too far from the beach during the day, but after this interview that is all going to change. Over the next half hour prepare to fall in love with not only the concept of a rum shop where you can sample more than 50 different products, but also the man behind the rum.

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EP64 – Maggie and Curt Sept 2016 Trip Primer

On this episode of One Happy Podcast Maggie and I discuss our upcoming September 11th vacation to Aruba. I know you are probably saying something like, “didn’t you just come back from Aruba?”. Well, you wouldn’t be wrong since we were just there at the end of September. Now we are coming back not even two months later. This is a completely unplanned trip and is our 3rd of the year. Things just sort of lined up, where we would be able to do the trip relatively cheap, so we decided to go for it.

In addition to this being a vacation for us, I am also turning it into a case study on how to do Aruba as affordably as possible. However, the key is, to not sacrifice any fun. So what I will need to do is, be careful not to be extravagant while resisting the urge to skimp. I think this is something that will be of interest to a great number of podcast listeners. Who wouldn’t want to sneak in an extra trip to Aruba if it can be done for not much more than a long weekend (insert your local drive to getaway place) close to home.

This episode of One Happy Podcast features Maggie and I discussing how this trip came about and our plans for our latest visit to Aruba. There isn’t a ton of actual information about Aruba but it is a fun listen detailing what’s gone down so far. You also get to hear about the plans that I have for the type of broadcasting a plan on doing from the island. Lastly, you also get clued in on how little preparation we’ve done for this trip thus far. I’m not saying it’s going to take a miracle for me to execute flawlessly. However, as I sit here it is Wednesday night and I have until Saturday to get everything worked out. Yikes!

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EP63: Checking in with Debbie and Patrick of Fortuna Villas Aruba

One Happy Podcast Episode 63 features a couple of repeat guests Debbie Mitchell and Patrick Mallison. They were guests on the podcast about 9 months ago on episode 34 – Creating Fortuna Villas with Debbie and Patrick. You may remember from that episode that Patrick and Debbie visited for the first time and purchased a home on the same trip. Then the next trip was a 9 week project to completely transform that home into an incredible rental property. Well now that all of the work has been completed and the rental is flourishing, Debbie and Patrick were able to actually enjoy a visit to Aruba.

This episode of One Happy Podcast is all about what Patrick and Debbie did once they touched down with a goal of just getting to know the island. Over the course of this 45 minute episode we talk about some of the activities and restaurants they enjoyed. We also discuss the Savaneta area where their home is located and why it could be the ideal place to stay on your next trip to the island. I actually learned a lot about the area surrounding Fortuna Villas Aruba and do plan on considering their home for a future vacation.

So many visitors to the island are funneled towards the Palm and Eagle Beach areas, understandably so, but there is so much more to Aruba. Savaneta is one of those areas that doesn’t really come to mind when thinking of a rental. However, that should not be the case. While the Savaneta area is a completely different vibe than the main tourist area, it is equally wonderful. Not only is it a fantastic area to experience total relaxation but the location on the island makes it an ideal base of operations for exploration of Aruba. So if you are looking for a different Aruba experience try Savaneta and Fortuna Villas Aruba.

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EP62: Liz Ginocchio and Golden Reef Hospitality

One Happy Podcast Episode 62 with Liz Ginocchio of Golden Reef Hospitality is one you don’t want to miss. On this incredible and very inspirational podcast episode, you hear directly from Liz why it’s important to remember that you only get one life, live it to the fullest. It all starts in South Jersey and eventually ends in Aruba but, man are there some twists along the way. Liz tells us all about her journey from New Jersey to Bonaire back to New Jersey and eventually Aruba. This is an episode you may want to listen to twice, it’s so action packed.

Liz first visited Aruba in the early 90s on a layover to Bonaire and little did she know at the time, eventually she would call the island home. Throughout this 45 minute episode, Liz explains to us several different processes that so many of you are curious about. We learn about relocating to Aruba, as well as what it’s like to purchase and also build a home on the island. Liz also tells us about her experiences with the health care on Aruba and offers insight into the education system, for those who are thinking about relocating with children. All in all, I have to say this is one of the most informative episodes of the show we have ever done.

It’s funny. One of the questions I struggle with is deciding if Aruba is the perfect vacation spot or a place I could someday call home. Depending on the day of the week, I go back and forth on this issue. Well, let me tell you, after spending nearly an hour speaking with someone who has made the switch, I think I know the answer. Hopefully, after listening to episode 62 of One Happy Podcast – “Liz Ginocchio and Golden Reef Hospitality” you too will be able to answer the question of could you really move to Aruba.

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EP61: Scott’s Brats with Scott and Leslie Steeno

Today is a very special episode of One Happy Podcast, as it features a couple of Aruba locals I have been trying book for about a year now. However, due to their ridiculously busy schedule, things just never worked out. Recently their situation has changed and due to the good fortune of being in the right place at the right time, we were finally able to get the show booked. So here we have my interview with Scott and Leslie Steeno from Scott’s Brats.

Scott, Leslie and I sit around for about 40 minutes talking about their journey from Wisconsin to Aruba. It all starts about 15 years ago and progresses not only until today, but also discusses the future. During the episode, we discuss how they met, what fueled their decision to relocate to Aruba and how a Palm Beach institution came into being. If that isn’t mind blowing enough Scott and Leslie also break news on what their next venture will be.

For as long as Scott’s Brats has been in existence I have followed their progression. For me, it started on the Aruba.com forums where they solicited feedback, through my first visit when operation began and now culminates in this interview. If you have eaten at Scott’s Brats this is a must listen podcast episode and if you have never visited this is a great introduction. While it’s true Scott and Leslie are now only there one day each week, their concept, their standards, and their essence are present each and every day.

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EP60: Aruba Ambassador Sherry “jello” Pence and the Aruba Beach Club

On this episode of One Happy Podcast, I am joined by Sherry “Jello” Pence, who is this amazing Aruba visitor who has been coming to the island for 20+ years. Sherry started coming to the island with her mom. Recently Sherry passed away and Aruba, in true Aruban, fashion played a part in Sherry being able to honor her in a way she deserved. On this episode of the show, we hear all about this process. We also learn about how Sherry’s long term relationship with Aruba Beach Club has become instrumental in her love for the island.

Today Sherry and I speak about all the things she has experience over the years that makes Aruba her special place. We start at her mom introducing her to the island and end in present day Aruba. If you have ever had the pleasure of getting to know her, you’d know just how fun-loving Sherry can be. The crew at Aruba beach club is one she considers family and she considers them the same.

I have personally never stayed at the Aruba Beach Club but this last vacation I took some of Sherry’s recommendations and visited some of her haunts. When I returned home I made certain to thank Sherry for the places she turned me onto, with Matthews, being a highlight. I look forward to being able to talk to Sherry in the future to get more recommendations because those I already experienced were spot on.

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EP59 – Top 5 Takeaways from our July 2016 Vacation

On episode 59 of One Happy Podcast Maggie and I discuss our top 5 takeaways from our July 2016 visit to Aruba. That’s not five altogether, I am talking about 5 things from our July trip that absolutely made things special. While compiling these lists, it’s hard to narrow things down, which explains why this great from 3 to 5. However, by the time I was ready to hit the record button I feel that we were ready to move forward.

Now one thing that won’t appear on this list but did make our trip phenomenal is Jay’s Car Rental Aruba. Jays has been serving the community for about 5 years and the reviews have been phenomenal They are located in the Sabina Lieber but will soon be expanding their fleet and moving to an even larger location. This change will allow them to service even more Aruba visitors. Visit them at jaysrentalcararuba.com for more information.

When compiling a list like this the problem is trying to narrow it down. It started as 3 each but that just simply wasn’t enough. As always, Aruba showed me much love and as tribute I present this podcast. We talk about all sorts of topics; food, comedy, athletics and of course the beach. The trip was not nearly as long but the memories as always, will last foreve

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EP58 – Liliana Gracia from the Aruba Renaissance to Lock N Roll Superstar

Liliana Gracia joins me on episode 58 of One Happy Podcast. Many of you already know Liliana from her work at the Renaissance where she specialized in making visitors happy. During her 23 years at the Renn, Liliana met thousands of Aruba visitors in the numerous roles she filled. Having worked everywhere from the reservations department to the front desk to her eventual position of timeshare coordinator at the Ocean Suites, it’s safe to say Liliana is well versed at making people happy.

Over the course of our 40-minute conversation, Liliana takes us on a journey from her beginnings at the Sonesta all the way to the present with Lock N Roll. She also shares what it’s like to be partially responsible for so many visitors vacation experiences and what that meant to her. Along this journey, Liliana has met so many Aruba vacationers that she thinks of as family.

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