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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Construction Nearly Complete on Bonaire’s Newest Mini-Resort, Sonrisa Rooms and Apartments

Construction is nearly complete on Bonaire’s newest mini-resort, Sonrisa Rooms & Apartments.  Centrally located close to the sea, windsurfing, diving, restaurants, and shopping, this new resort is now accepting reservations for visits beginning March, 2007.

The building is architectural designed with the traditional Colonial Dutch style in mind, but yet with still a flavor of the Caribbean.  Completion of the building is planned for December, 2006, after which the rooms will be decorated with modern European furnishings.  The complex will offer eight non-smoking hotel rooms and two non-smoking one-bedroom apartments with either garden or pool views or one two-bedroom apartment.  Groups can be accommodated up to 26 persons.


(artist’s rendering)

Amenities will include air-conditioning, ceiling fan, room safe, hot water, mini-fridge, facilities for coffee or tea, hair dryers, and cable television.  Guests will enjoy daily maid service, complimentary breakfast sandwich and coffee, a private balcony or patio, and free wireless Internet service.  Additionally, the apartments will offer a fully equipped kitchen with microwave, toaster, coffeemaker, and refrigerator.

Reservations are now being accepted for accommodations only, or dive and windsurf packages are available, which offer savings from the daily rates.  A twice-daily shuttle will be available to Bonaire Windsurf Place , home of the Bonaire Windsurf Cam (http://www.bonairewindsurfplace.com/webcam.html) for those not wishing to rent a vehicle.  Sonrisa Rooms & Apartments can also assist with vehicle or activity reservations.

For additional information, contact Sonrisa Rooms & Apartments at email:  info@sonrisabonaire.com, or visit their web site at http://www.sonrisabonaire.com(Source:  Sonrisa Rooms & Apartments Press Release)

Posted by Susan Davis on November 30, 2006 at 2:40pm AST
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Bonhata-Sponsored Bonaire Culinary Team Members Receive Awards for Excellence

At a Bonhata meeting today, four members of the Bonaire Culinary Team who represented the island at the 2006 Taste of the Caribbean received awards for excellence.

Lt. Governor Domacasse and Commissioner of Tourism, Mr. “Onnie” Emerenciana also represented the Prime Minster of the Netherlands Antilles when they thanked these four gentlemen for their contributions in “putting Bonaire on the culinary map.”

In a presentation at the Bonhata meeting, Commissioner Emerenciana said that, in large part to the Culinary Team’s success, Bonaire is now not only known for great diving and superb windsurfing, but also for its culinary achievements.

The Culinary Team is sponsored by Bonhata(Source:  Bonaire Insider reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on November 30, 2006 at 10:56am AST
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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance Receives a Euro 1MM Grant for the Next Ten Years

The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) celebrated its fifth board meeting last week on St. Maarten in champagne style with the announcement that the Dutch Ministry of the Interior had approved a Euro 1 million per year grant for the coming ten years. The funding has been earmarked to cover the operational costs of DCNA and the nature parks of the Dutch Caribbean.

Commissioner Marlin of St. Maarten welcomed welcomed the delegates to the board meeting and congratulated them on their success and the extraordinary progress made by DCNA over the past two years. He announced that St. Maarten’s Marine Park Ordinance is currently under final review by the Island Council and finished with a word of thanks to the Nature Foundation for their hard work protecting nature on St. Maarten and encouragement to DCNA.

The news of the Dutch Government funding came after nearly a decade of lobbying on the part of the Central Government Department of Nature and the Environment (MINA) and DCNA’s partners at the Netherlands Committee of the World Conservation Union (IUCN NL). As long ago as 1998, it was recognized that funding was the single most pervasive threat to the future of the region’s protected areas and that the most enduring solution would be to create a Trust Fund large enough to cover the parks’ operational costs. By committing these funds, the Dutch Ministry has created the opportunity for the Parks to donate an equivalent amount of money to the DCNA Trust Fund and thereby to create a sustainable future for themselves.

The news was announced to applause in a packed room of board members and observers who were participating in a three-day DCNA Board meeting at the Holland Hotel on St. Maarten. With seven new board representatives and two newly elected executive committee members, DCNA feels it is ready to meet head on the challenges of supporting the protected areas and fundraising for a trust fund, which until last week was no more than a dream.

Executive Director, Kalli De Meyer, and prior manager of The Bonaire National Marine Park for many years, said that she was thrilled at the news but cautioned that this was just the first step toward a more sustainable future for the parks. “It may sound as though the Dutch Caribbean Parks will be swimming in money, but nothing could be further from the truth. In order to capitalize a trust fund large enough to cover the operational costs of one marine park and one land park on each of our islands we are going to have to tighten our belts and do an outstanding job of fundraising over the coming decade.”

Calculations show that Euro 24 million are needed to fully capitalize the trust fund and since the parks can make donations totalling Euro 750,000 per year, the Dutch Ministry’s commitment accounts for just under one third of the necessary capital.

DCNA’s Board Chairperson, Nicole Esteban, who manages the land and marine parks on the island of St. Eustatius, said “The real challenge lies with ensuring that the six national park organizations receive sufficient operational funding in the next ten years until the trust fund is capitalized and revenue generated for the parks. In the meantime, the same funding challenges remain.” (Source:  DCNA Press Release)

Posted by Susan Davis on November 29, 2006 at 4:26pm AST
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Curacao Rejects Final Agreement for Their New Status

The Island Council of Curacao has rejected the final agreement about the future of its relationship with The Netherlands. The final agreement was agreed upon November 2nd by The Netherlands, the Dutch Antilles, Curacao, and St. Maarten, and it was then sent to the island councils for ratification.

In the agreement it is stated that The Netherlands will pay 80% of the loans (approximately 2.4 billion Euro or USD $3.1 billion). Each single island of the Dutch Antilles will be able to start a new relationship with The Netherlands.

The islands of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba have already ratified their agreement with The Netherlands to become a special town of Holland, while St. Maarten and Curacao want “status aparte”, the same as Aruba currently has. With the rejection of this agreement by the Island Council of Curacao, these reforms for Curacao and St. Martin may be delayed.

The majority of the Curacao political parties (13 representatives) want to renegotiate with The Netherlands about an agreement in which the payment captioned above will stay the same, but what will give more autonomy to the island. Only the PAR and PNP (7 representatives) are defending the agreement and say it’s a “unique chance.” (Source:  Nu NL Nieuws)

Posted by Susan Davis on November 29, 2006 at 10:06am AST
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Monday, November 27, 2006

NetTech Augments The Bonaire Insider with New Photo Gallery of Bonaire Images

NetTech, N.V. today announced that it has augmented the services available on the Bonaire web log, The Bonaire Insider, to include a new Photo Gallery of images from the island.

The Photo Gallery has already begun with images of Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands’ recent visit to Bonaire, the American ex-patriot’s Thanksgiving Day Feast, the arrival of Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas), and the Surinamese festival of Brasa Dey.  As events occur on Bonaire, additional images will be added.

To view the new Photo Gallery, click here.

NetTech, N.V. is Bonaire’s largest and most renowned Internet hosting and e-mail services company, providing all levels of Internet marketing, design, specialized programming, and graphic services.  For additional information, email info@nettech.an(Source:  NetTech Press Release)

Posted by Susan Davis on November 27, 2006 at 1:59pm AST
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Brasa Dey on Bonaire Provided Glimpses of Surinam’s Culture and History

On Saturday, November 25, 2006, the Surinamese population on Bonaire, about 320 persons, organized the annual Brasa Dey, or celebration of Surinam’s independence from Holland.

The event begin with a prayer, speeches, and traditional dancing.  Food was plentiful, as was music.  As the evening progressed, a demonstration of different costumes of the various types of people who have populated Surinam was presented, including Antillean, Chinese, Muslim, Indonesian, Colonial Dutch, Jewish, American, and many other cultures. 

Images of the event can be seen on the Bonaire Insider Photo Gallery by clicking here(Source:  Bonaire Insider reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on November 27, 2006 at 12:44pm AST
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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Papaya Moon Cantina Opens on Bonaire

Bonaire has seen many efforts to offer Mexican cuisine in one form or another over the years, but in most cases those efforts were incomplete, focusing on what one might consider “Mexican fast food” - nachos, chips and salsa, and maybe tacos. However, as of two nights ago, with the Papaya Moon Cantina, Bonaire finally does have a restaurant with real Mexican food, or more specifically, the form of Mexican food better known as TexMex, as it originates from Texas.

Operated by the Perpich family from Texas, and located off Kaya Grandi at the former location of Croccantino’s, Papaya Moon Cantina offers a very diverse menu. In our evaluation dinner last night, our party of four chose six appetizers, three main courses and four desserts. We also had a couple of top shelf margaritas to start the meal (our other two diners were below the legal drinking age, so they settled for sodas).

We found the food presentation to be good, the food itself delightful and tasty, and the ambiance in the back courtyard (one of several vastly different locales to dine in at the restaurant) pleasant.

Our appetizers were Seafood Fondue - a lobster dip with queso blanco that had something of Newburg flavor, accompanied by tortilla chips; Queso Blanco - molten Mexican white cheese with various additions served with tortilla chips; Gazpacho Shooter - four shot glasses of Gazpacho topped with an avocado cream; Tequila Ceviche Martini - a large martini glass filled with a great seafood ceviche; and a cheese Quesadilla (the main course for the non-foodie nine year old boy in our group). We also received chips and salsa, and when we asked for a spicy salsa, got exactly what we asked for - it had a smoky, clove sort of flavor and a burn that snuck up on you after a few seconds.

For our main courses we had the somewhat traditional Crazy Beef Fajita Nachos - a huge plate of tortilla chips smothered in refried beans, cheese, beef, onions, and peppers; a Tortilla Crusted Chile Relleno - a large roasted Poblano pepper stuffed with chicken and Monterey Jack cheese (this was a table favorite); and the Border Pork with Orange Macadamia Salsa - incredibly tender and moist pork loin with a flavorful but not overpowering orange flavored sauce (runner-up in being a table favorite). The latter two dishes were also served with refried beans and a tasty and interesting rice accompaniment.

And as a finale, we enjoyed a Creme Brulee - traditional flavor and appearance, but set apart by being served on a plate of Jalapeno jelly and candied peppers; a Lemon Raspberry Tiramisu - Wow! (the table favorite); the Bunnelo Stack with Cinnamon Creme - fried flour tortillas covered in cinnamon and sugar with cream, akin to sopapilla, but better (this was the runner-up table favorite dessert); and vanilla ice cream (our non-foodie nine year old’s favorite).

Along with a double espresso, our dinner tab came to approximately US$150 including a generous tip, and we waddled out of the restaurant with our left-overs, well sated, and spent the remainder of the evening recounting the many delights of our meal to each other. Papaya Moon Cantina is open for dinner Wednesday through Monday.(Source: Bonaire Insider Reporter - First Hand Review)

Added December 30, 2006:  For additional information or for reservations, you may email the restaurant at info@papayamooncantina.com

Posted by Jake Richter on November 25, 2006 at 6:56pm AST
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Sinterklaas Arrives on Bonaire

This morning, Sinterklaas (or as he is known in Papiamentu, Sanikolas), arrived on Bonaire, as legend tells, from Spain.  His ship was escorted by a flotilla of sunfish to Town Pier. The Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) performed gymnastic tricks and engaged the crowd, while a drum corp led the parade.  An enthusiastic group of both children and adults awaited the old man eagerly.  Lt. Governor Herbert Domacasse and his wife escorted the old gentleman to Wilhelmina Park.

Legend continues to tell us that Sinterklaas will now spend the next two weeks checking to see if the information he has on Bonaire children in his big book is correct.  On the night of December 5th, he will go to all homes to check who’s been naughty or nice and will leave gifts behind in your shoe, which might just be filled with fresh grass or carrots for the horse. Listen that night to what’s happening on your rooftop--you might just hear the horse and Sinterklaas’ helpers on the night of December 5th--but that’s if you’ve been nice. If you’ve been naughty, you might be put in Piet’s bag and taken back to Spain where you will be trained to be nice and/or become a Piet.

Images of Sinterklaas’ arrival are available on the Bonaire Insider Photo Gallery by clicking here(Source:  Bonaire Insider reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on November 25, 2006 at 11:53am AST
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Friday, November 24, 2006

American Ex-Pats on Bonaire Join Together for Traditional Thanksgiving Day Feast

Nearly 20% of Bonaire’s American ex-patriot population came together yesterday at Papaya Moon Cantina to celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving Day feast. 

Everyone began arriving around Noon on Thursday, and they enjoyed appetizers and drinks while greeting old friends.  The dinner was pot-luck, so everyone brought a dish, and three tables were laden with turkey, ham, dressing, sweet potatoes, and other side dishes.  Desserts filled the bar.  Seating was informal, either inside the restaurant, or in the garden.

Images of the dinner and those attending are available on the Bonaire Insider Photo Gallery by clicking here.

Thanks go to Dabney Lassiter for organizing the event, and Papaya Moon Cantina for hosting the group.  (Source:  Bonaire Insider reporter; Images:  Bonaire Insider and Bob Lassiter)

Posted by Susan Davis on November 24, 2006 at 1:31pm AST
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Bonaire’s Surinamese Community to Hold Brasa Dey this Saturday, November 25, 2006

Bonaire’s Surinamese community organizes a cultural festival each year to celebrate Surinam’s independence.  This year, it will be held on Saturday, November 25, 2006 at the Centro di Bario (neighborhood center) of Nord di Salina.  “Brasa Dey” literally means “give a hug”, and this year they will be celebrating Surinam’s 31st year of independence.

Those who attend may expect to see cultural dances, music, food, and entertainment in the Surinamese traditional manner.  Food will be available starting at 12:00 Noon, and then the celebration will begin around 4:00 PM.  (Source:  The Bonaire Reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on November 24, 2006 at 11:05am AST
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