Monday, June 7, 2010

Movie: Hachiko, A Dog’s Tale

Based on a true story, this feel-good, tear-jerker will have you running for the Kleenex. Produced and starring Richard Gere, this little indie film proved a hit at the inaugural Aruba International Film Festival. Gere was there to introduce the film himself as ambassador of this year’s event and with true, heart felt sincerity gave a humble overview of the film's plot.
The storyline revolves around the disarmingly cute, Hachiko, an Akita puppy found abandoned at the train station by Professor Parker Wilson (played by Richard Gere). After finding no owner, the Wilson family takes the Japanese pure bred into their homes and hearts. Over the years Hachiko and Wilson become inseparable showing the kind of unconditional love only an animal can provide. Without giving away the story’s pivotal moment, it’s needless to say this movie personifies the kind of unconditional love, loyalty and compassion seldom found in mankind.

Whether you're a dog lover or not, Hachiko, A Dog's Tale is well worth a watch. Along the lines of The Notebook my only advice is to be ready to wail.

Despite dignatries, media personalities and celebraties present at the opening night screening, there was not a dry eye in the house. An occasion stiffled snort even managed to escape from the well dressed.

Aruba: Aboard the Mi Dushi

Under the gorgeous Aruban sky, the Mi Dushi set sail for crystal blue waters with a crew of suntanned staff and a ship full of enthusiastic holiday makers on board. The first stop: Antilla Shipwreck.

Admittedly, I'm not the first to dive into open ocean (thanks, to my Australian heritage which includes a healthy respect for things that eat you) however, after much reassurance I dove in and swam out to the decades old shipwreck—a WWII remnant with a rich history, even richer marine life. In rough waters, myself and my crew (fellow journalists Shira Levine and Jessica Herman), stuck together to battle the waves. It was the most exercise I've done in years!

Next stop was much calmer and in fact, I stayed in the water longer than ever, possibly because of the company, possibly because of the little fishies on show in the warm, crystal clear water temperature. From there it was lunch and cocktails as we sailed through the bluest water, Bob Marley playing in the background, the sun warming us from the inside out.

After several other adventurous endevours (I did a tandum, rope swing, back flip into the ocean!) we headed back to shore.

For someone who has become so blaze about the tropics this was, in all honesty, the most fun I've had in years. If you head to Aruba, jump on board the Mi Dushi, you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Aruba: It all started with lunch...

It was several months ago that I first met Aruba’s Minister of Tourism, Otmar E. Oduber. Over a delicious lunch of scrumptious seafood and farm fresh salads, I experienced first hand the newly appointed Ministers passion and boundless energy for transforming Aruba.

A plan that included showcasing everything this Island paradise had to offer; the friendly locals, the laid back lifestyle and the tropical climate mixed with cultural and culinary events that would see visitors return year after year. Through his formal speech and more interestingly, over an informal meal I was able to catch a glimpse of the innovative and ambitious initiatives he had envisaged for the island he so loves.

Apart from world class music festivals, the first Aruba International Film Festival was an event he was proud to announce at that day’s luncheon. As I said a tentative yes to attending, it was somewhat surreal to find myself among the palm trees seated with other international journalists to see the many days, months and years of planning come to fruition with great success.