The first thing I distinctly remember was the stifling temperature and humidity. Although it was summer back in Pennsylvania, I didn’t have the slightest idea of the meaning of “heat” until I stepped out of Queen Beatrix National Airport. The warmth rattled through my body, and I immediately wanted to crawl back into the air-conditioning.
We drove by the hotels and massive structures before beginning the journey back to our rental house. Now, my aunt was the one who had booked our house, and she had neglected to conduct proper research. As we drove farther away from the bright lights of Aruba, I began to notice a drastic change in the landscape and surrounding homes. At first glance, anyone passing by could tell that this was not the normal surroundings for tourists.
We arrived at the home, the tallest building in the neighborhood. However, this wasn’t saying much, as most of the homes around ours were small and run-down. The area surrounding the house was barren, and stray dogs wandered the streets.
We would adventure down to the shopping area of Aruba, and all would be beautiful and nice. Tourists would walk along the shops, talking and enjoying their vacation. The same thing held true for the beach, with hundreds of tourists along the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean Sea. It is astonishing how close the paradise of some is to the poverty of others.
We began getting ready for the 45th anniversary wedding of my grandparents. As they exited the church, hundreds of tourists applauded for them. They all expressed well-wishes to my elderly ancestors, and we began the drive down to the beach for the photos.
Tourists were, by far, not the only ones to wish them well. The driver of the car was so polite, and I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed his presence. Later, on the beach, both tourists and native Arubans watched, and many clapped when my grandparents had their “kiss at the beach” photo.
This just goes to show you the beauty that all people truly have within. Although the island may seem separated by the tourists and the Arubans, they are all still wonderful, working men and women with families and lives. We cannot look at their homes as a representation of who they are, as no matter what it may seem, all of us are equal.
As Ikechukwu Izuakor once said, “Don’t only learn from the rich and successful men, also learn from the poor and those that failed woefully, for in their failures lies the secret of success as well.” This very much relates to the welfare gap of Aruba. On one side of the country, you have the “elite” tourists of the island. Just a few minutes away, however, you have the other end of the wealth line.
However, beauty can be found anywhere. In the area of tourism, the people are all well-dressed and have beautiful jewelry. This, to many, is the epiphany of beauty. However, I find beauty on the face of those around us. Many did not fully speak English, and yet they would try to help them the best that they could. That, to me, is the true form of beauty.
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