Ah, the hot steamy air of Aruba, shopping only a block from the dock, so convenient. I was on my usual quest for postcards and coins, and found both quickly. Rick and I pant in the heat, our clothes sticking to us. Jewelry stores line both sides of the street. If one is in the market for diamonds, tanzanite, pearls, and emeralds, Aruba is the place to find them.
I duck into every other jewelry store, peering into the glass cases with their displays of expensive rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces. Sighing contentedly, I smile at the clerks closing in on me like seagulls spotting a beached fish. “Just looking”, I say, pausing here and there, and then ducking out the door again to be slammed against the wall and swallowed by the sultry humidity.
Rick is having memories of his tour of duty in the sweltering tropical heat of Vietnam.
Crowds are weaving in and out of stores, eyes bright, faces flushed; everyone on the hunt for the perfect souvenir. So are we.
I spot something. I want it! I have to have it! Now or never! I’m scrambling, hoping to get there before it disappears.
A foot-long iguana basks on the stone and concrete wall of a waterway. There’s another one!! And another! I’m having heart palpitations. I want to jump up and down and clap my hands, but that might scare them away. Or get me arrested. Iguanas or chameleons, I’m not sure which, and I don’t care. I just want pictures. I try a stealth approach, but tourists are moving around me, peering at me sideways, keeping their distance.
Two of the reptiles look like movie stars being hunted by paparazzi. Angelina! Brad! Wait! Don’t go! Too late. But there’s another, eager to get his face in front of a camera. This iguana rolls his eyes at me, then stretches his neck so that the extra skin drapes nicely beneath his jutting chin. He strikes a pose like a CQ model, showing off the protrusions along his long sloping back, a whip-like tail, muscular and toes with long claws. “Good looking, aren’t I?” “Fantastic! Hold that pose!” Click. Click. “Can you give me a smile? Okay, that droll look will do.” Click. Click. Wait! Is that a stream-lined chameleon I see rising from the grass, like Venus from the waves? Her scales glisten emerald green with orange and black bracket markings down her back. I hang over the edge of the arched bridge snapping pictures while tourists laden with shopping bags pass by. The chameleon shifts a little and flops down like a beach bunny in an orange and black stripped bikini eager to soak up the rays.
Grinning from ear to ear, I straighten. Rick rolls his eyes at me. We find an ice cream shop, then stroll back to the ship where I sprawl on a chaise lounge on our veranda and pretend I’m a lizard.