We arrived in Oranjestad, Aruba, for a quick 12-hour stop. While I'm sure all the guide books tell you to stay with the group, we made a deal with a cabbie and left to explore island without the trouble of adult supervision. Turned out to be a good choice. We spent less on our private, air-conditioned SUV than others spent on the crowded buses. When we arrived at an old stone fort listed on the "must see" tourist spots, some of our shipmates arrived on their tour in the contraption below. As an old Army guy, I've ridden in the back of a hot truck more than I want to think about. This is NOT how I want to spend my time on vacation!
I had never been to Aruba and didn't realize it was a desert environment. There were cacti everywhere, and the ground seemed parched and hard. I shot a few shots around an old gold mine. The sun was too high in the sky (and much too hot for me) for the kind of light most photographers would prefer. In this kind of situation, you have to shoot in the direct sunlight since it's better to take a photo in bad light than to get no photo at all.
After the running around the island, we all went on a little, impromptu photowalk. That's Matt Kloskowski, from NAPP, chimping. We call it "chimping" because photogs look at the rear CRT and say - in their best chimpanzee-style - "ooh, ooh!" I put a vignette around him since he is the king of vignettes. As usual, we got lots of strange looks as the group walked down the streets and through the markets and wharfs. Even in a tourist town, they seldom see such a large group of folks stopping every couple of feet, pointing cameras in every possible direction. We had better light conditions, since it was getting later in the day (as you can see by the clock on the church). Then it was back to the boat and the quick trip to Curacao.
All-in-all, Aruba was a fun day.