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Papiamento (Part 1)

When you travel abroad it's always handy (and polite) to learn some local phrases and words. Here on Aruba we are super lucky to be fluent in not one, not two, not three, but FOUR languages! Dutch, Spanish and English are widely spoken in schools, at home and of course the hospitality industry. But today we are going to teach you some basic Papiamento which is the native language of One Happy Island. Next time you visit our little island paradise you can impress the locals with your new knowledge!


These are most likely the first words you will hear when you touch down in Aruba.

Bon Bini means "WELCOME" and trust me when I say you will receive the warmest of welcomes on One Happy Island.

It's not just the constant sunshine and crystal clear waters that keep tourists coming back year after year, it's the friendly welcoming locals who are always ready to make you feel at home on their little rock in the Caribbean Sea.

The Bon Bini Motel graphic t-shirt is Inspired by vintage signs from a by-gone era, old fashioned retro motels, epic road trips with friends and Aruba's warm and friendly welcome.




One of the things that I love so much about Aruba is that no matter where you go you will always be greeted by one of these phrases. If you walk in to any store, a gas station or the post office, it's custom to announce your arrival by saying, "Bon dia/tardi/nochi" as you enter. Whoever is in the store will return the greeting to you. It's so basic but I love it so much. The politeness of this tradition is a great way to break the ice with strangers too.

Side note: I have tried this when I've visited several other English speaking countries on my travels because of course it is natural for me to do this as I say this greeting on a daily basis here on Aruba. I remember walking in to a thrift store in Canada one time and saying, "Good morning" and the staff looked at me strange like I had two heads and then totally ignored me! Awkward!!!!


Of course I had to give the word DUSHI an honourable mention... I mean... It's what my brand is built on after all!

The word dushi actually has a few meanings and can be used to describe a number of things. You can use it to say that something is tasty, someone is sexy or just simply, "Hey Dushi!" as a term of endearment when you are greeting a friend.

This word is used all the time all over the island. You can often hear it in songs by local artists and see it on wall murals too.

I have featured the word dushi in many of my designs over the years but my most popular is my logo tee in sunshine yellow and the mint green muscle tank top.


If you've ever been to One Happy Island then you will know life truly IS sweet!

The laid back vibe, the white sand beaches, the aqua coloured water, the cool trade wind... Can life get any sweeter?...



This is a great conversation starter no matter where you are in the world and it's no exception here on Aruba. Asking someone how they are is basic kindness in it's simplest form. Especially in today's day and age when the art of conversation is a little, dare I say it, DEAD!

We need to check in with people more often and ask them, "How are you?" and really listen to their answer. Sometimes a good chat is just what we need!


For those of you who have had to leave Aruba, whether it's because your vacation has come to an end or you are moving on to pastures new, you will know just how hard it is to say goodbye to our little island paradise.

I have shed many tears in the airport lounge (aka the crying room) after bidding farewell to loved ones and have lost count of the number of times I have looked out of the airplane window and cried whilst saying, "ayo" to my beloved rock. Even though I know I will be returning to my happy place it's always hard to say 'bye, even if it is only temporary.

Aruba is the kind of island that truly captures your soul and steals a piece of your heart forever.

So that's it for part one of your Papiamento lesson, subscribe to our mailing list by hitting the subscribe button below so you don't miss part two!

That just leaves me to say, "MASHA DANKI/THANK YOU" for taking the time to read this. Please share it with your friends or pin/save it so you can come back to it later.

Let us know you favourite Papiamento phrases and which ones will you be using when you visit Aruba next?...


To shop any of the looks in this blog (we ship worldwide) click on the images or click this link now:

Or visit our flagship store in Aruba, the Sunset Shack at Paseo Herencia, to check out these local tees and more Dushi Designs swag!



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