2009 Summer Vacation on Aruba

We started this trip on a detour.  Our flight to Atlanta was delayed,
and we would have missed our connection to Aruba.  So we decided to
defer our trip until the next day (8/1/09), but Delta Airlines upgraded us to Business
Class.  This was the kids second trip in luxury, and we all enjoyed it.
The previous time they flew first class was sponsored by BMW.

We had a nice meal on the plane, and enjoyed the big seats.
In addition, each seat had a small screen to allow you to watch movies,
play games, or keep track of your progress with a dynamic map.

Christopher's birthday was the day after we arrived, so we had a party for him.  Auntie
Amparo graciously gave us the use of Opal 44 (which the kids call the "Beach
House") for the duration of our stay, so we had a party there.

See here for previous pictures of this house in 2004.

View of the interior of the Beach House during the party preps.

Agnes' cousins Charlene and Nicol were there along with her Mom.

The kids had a lot of fun in the pool, and playing the space games.
Here, they are moving a comet through our solar system.

A second party at the house was for the christening of my nephew,
Roland Andres, who is the son of Roland (Agnes' brother).
Left to right: Roland (Sr), Agnes (Godmother), Roland Andres, Edwin (Godfather),
Priest, Rita (Mom).

Agnes made this 'cake' from diapers as a decoration/gift
for the christening party.

One morning, we saw a small family of wild parrots feeding on the nectar
in the flowers in the front of the Beach House.

This is the view of the Beach House from space.

Ah Mah has several fruit trees, including this papaya tree that bore 40 of
these huge delicious fruits that the kids are enjoying  8-).

Due to the success with our Hubble Servicing Mission, I decided to hold a free lecture in Aruba to show a slide show of pictures that I shot during that mission.
To promote the talk, I had a series of interviews on local TV and radio stations.

This is the live interview on TeleAruba's "Nos Mainta" (our morning)
program with hostess Belkis.  It was so popular that I was asked
back the next week.

I was also interviewed by Ruben "Scorpio" Garcia on Magic FM.
He is one of my idols from my  childhood.  I used to listen to him
on the radio while growing up and going to school.

The next five images are from

The lecture went well due to the advance preparations.  The audio was excellent,
and the screen was very easily visible by all.

We had about 450 people attend the lecture.  It was really great to see a full ballroom.

Afterwards, many stayed for autographs and meet and greet.

This family had actual launch viewing passes for STS-125 that they asked me
to sign.  Unfortunately, it was for the October launch, and they did not
make the May date.

Janith Agunbero was the hotel manager that arranged the lecture for me.
Here she is with her son.

More pictures of the lecture here (

The next day, I had a small spot on the front page of the local paper
(Diario), and a full page inside.

The lecture, dedicated to the memory of my father, Kong Ming Cheung,
was extremely successful.  We had about 450 people attend, more than four
times as many as the previous lecture at the Universidad di Aruba in 2006.
We were supposed to speak for two hours, but it lasted more than 3 hours due
to the many excellent questions from the audience.  It was a fun evening.
Many thanks to Peter Cheung (graphics), Rosalie Klein (public relations),
Jesus Cardoso & Janith Agunbero (Occidental Grand Aruba),
Prographics (posters), and ECA NV (radio spots).

Front page of the sunday edition of the "The News".
One of my former high school teachers (geography) attended the talk.
Mr. Hoevertz's picture is in the top right.  It was nice to see him again.
The bottom right is with the audio engineer of the hotel (Jassin).
Link to article.

We were invited to a dinner at the Occidental, and had a party of 12.
We enjoyed Seafood Night, and our table was specially decorated.

Mom held a dinner at a local restaurant to thank those that helped me
for many years.  Here is Rosalie Klein (right) with her daughter Annalisa.

Here with Poets (who did all those documentaries at GSFC and KSC),
and his daughter.

At the RIU hotel.

Stephanie posing in the hallway.  She made the pants that
she is wearing here.

The kids found a baby iguana.

I was granted a meeting with the Governor of Aruba, His Excellency Fredis Refunjol.
It was a privilege to be recognized.  Agnes and Mr. Benschop were also present.

We exchanged gifts.  I gave him an SM-4 patch with three pins, and he gave me
one of the lanyards that his staff wears.  This is one of my favorite
moments of this trip. story here.

Article in Solo di Pueblo.

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