WHO: Kathleen VonBehren, 49, and her daughter, Megan, 21, of Shrewsbury.
WHEN: Four days in June.
WHY: Megan had said she wanted to go to Aruba a long time ago, Kathleen said. The whole family has done a lot of cruises such as to Mexico and the Bahamas. Because Megan, a senior at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, had just turned 21, Kathleen decided to make that the theme of the mother-daughter trip.
UNUSUALLY BEAUTIFUL: They were impressed with the beach, Kathleen said. ``It's gorgeous, with blue, blue water and white sandy beaches. It was very salty; the snorkeling was effortless." The landscape, on the other hand, wasn't the tropical sort they were used to seeing in the Caribbean. ``It didn't have vegetation," Megan said. ``It was very sandy and rocky, like the desert."
BAD LUGGAGE DAY: The first thing they did after checking in to their waterfront hotel was to buy bathing suits, cover-ups, and undergarments. Although they had made the tight connection flying from Boston, their luggage had not. ``It was very frustrating," Kathleen said.
LOVE THOSE LIMITS: Mother and daughter ate at a restaurant in their hotel, the Aruba Marriott Resort &Stellaris Casino, where Megan enjoyed one of her first drinks out: a glass of white zinfandel. Megan also got to gamble - and was disappointed that no one checked her ID. Kathleen made a point of sharing her philosophy about gambling. ``I do it for fun, like going out to dinner, and I have a set amount to spend." During the week they spent a bit on jewelry, a pearl bracelet and ruby ring for Megan and a topaz ring and bracelet for Mom.
ON THE WATERFRONT: They spent the first day relaxing at the beach and even had dinner in the sand at sunset, at MooMba Beach Bar and Restaurant. ``We took about 100 photos there," Megan said. The next day, reunited with their luggage, they took an outing with Jolly Pirates. ``They have two old-fashioned pirate ships that go out together, and there's snorkeling, a rope swing, and you get lunch." The snorkeling was great, Kathleen said. ``There wasn't a lot of coral but there were a lot of fish. The variety was unbelievable and you could see everything. One stop was at a shipwreck of a German freighter." They also took a tube ride behind a boat. ``They're really cool, like a seat with a back on it," Megan said. ``You go really fast and the driver was crossing over the wake and doing 360s."
WORSE LUGGAGE DAY: When they arrived home, eager to share trip photos with the family, Kathleen discovered her camera, with sunset photos and hundreds more, was missing from her luggage. Luckily they had downloaded a few photos to Megan's laptop, which she had taken along because she had assignments and an exam to complete for an online course. The subject: corporate crime.
SEE WHERE THEY WENT