Bon Bini, Bienviendo and Welcome to Aruba: A Nation That Thrives on Multiculturalism and Multilingualism
Beyond hosting some of the most beautiful, sugar-white beaches in the southern Caribbean Sea … and being surrounded by regional waters that are so pristine, clear and blue that they shame the cloudless sky above, Aruba draws tourists due to its natural beauty, its multicultural and multilingual convictions, and its promise and slogan that it is "One Happy Island."
Nearly a decade after the unfortunate disappearance and death of 18-year-old Natalee Holloway, her name and details of her abduction dominate perceptions of the Dutch-governed island nation. But the small, energetic island that’s located just 15 miles off of the coast of Venezuela is so much more than the scandalized abduction and the exhaustive, yet fruitless, investigations. It is a country comprising 100,000 inhabitants, who have mixed ancestry from African-Caribbean, Asian, Latin American, Indian and European cultures, who all live in "racial harmony."
Natives of the island acknowledge the existence and presence of racial tension and prejudice, but claim they experience race-based togetherness at a higher rate than other nations, stating that they "get along well with others, no matter if [their] skin is deep brown or chalky white."
The seamless blend of over 40 nationalities, and the mainstay use of Dutch, Spanish, English and the native language of Papiamento (a Creole language, which is the ancestral tongue of about 70 percent of the population, borrowing vocabulary from Spanish, Portuguese and English) creates an immediate sense of familiarity and camaraderie among Aruban strangers, unlike anything experienced elsewhere.
Likewise, Trinidadians, Filipinos, Jamaicans, Dominicans, Venezuelans and other immigrants feel a sense of inclusion. The same can be said of the one-week vacationer or seasonal visitor, who will likely be drawn into the culture and community, and treated like a local.
From the posh downtown area to the pulsating High Rise clubbing district, from the tourist-centric Oranjestad to the activity-geared Palm Island, Aruba fails to disappoint. The long list of attractions are scattered across the beautiful island, which is just a little over 19 miles across at its widest point.
When Latin Post asked a native Aruban which country he wouldcompare Aruba to, he responded, "There is no other place in the world like Aruba. Nowhere. I've traveled to America, Venezuela and many Carribean islands, and I know that there is no home like my home."
To learn more about Aruba, check out the nation's official website.
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