Having spent a great time on the island in the low rise district, our vacation ended with a pretty bitter note yesterday. What happened? In order to return the rental car at Aruba airport, I followed the rental return sign on the right lane, ending up right in front of the Alamo office. I parked in a parking sport in front of the blue colored parking lots for disabled people. Waiting inside the Alamo office till it was my turn, a guy came in and asked for the driver of the silver SUV, that just got towed – my rental car. Turned out the guy was the tow truck driver himself. He explained to me that only the police officer from across the street, who was watching the scene, could order him to release the car. Talking to the cop I was told that I had parked in a no parking area (sure enough there’s no “No Parking” or “NP” sign as far as the eye can see). To get the car back I had to pay a $45 towing fee first. Conveniently, there’s a ticket machine inside the airport lobby where you can pay the towing fee. Out of cash? No problem, in the adjacent building you’ll find a bank where you can pull some money at the ATM.
Trying to return my car again, this time I stayed in the left lane as I followed the rental return sign and, voilà, I ended up in the parking area, far away from the rental car drop-off area. In order to exit from the parking area, you must pay you parking ticket first, of course. You’ll find the cashier booth inside the airport lobby. After having paid $2 parking fee for no parking, I tried it for a third time. As I passed by the car rental offices, guess what, I saw the towing truck in action again, this time having a white compact car on the hook. Following the rental return sign again, in the left lane driving about 0.5 miles/h, I spotted the small lane that actually leads to the rental car drop-off area. As I complained to the Alamo clerk about the obvious scam that goes on there, she insisted that that had never happened before. At the same moment the tow truck drove by and hooked up another car……
I guess Aruba spends big money to advertise its beautiful island. But it’s beyond my comprehension why, for the short time benefit of cashing in a few bucks, they ruining their reputation as a vacation destination. It seems to me that Aruba authorities doing a way better job to disenfranchise visitors and keeping them from returning than Fox News could have ever achieved with their never-ending Natalee Holloway story. Sad.