zondag 20 december 2009

Curacao, December 2009

We are on the island of Curacao now for two days.
The weather is marvelous, the temperature is about 30 degrees but it is often not to hot, because there is always some wind.
The seawater is very clear, the temperature of the water is OK and there are lots of colorful fish.
Living on this island is something lots of people would very much like to do. It has beautiful beaches, Willemstad is a nice city to be in, the people are in general very nice and friendly.

It is certainly different to be on an island where the people understand Dutch. During the whole of our vacation we had to speak English, French (that with difficulty), Spanish (very difficult) and suddenly everybody does understand you when you are speaking Dutch.

Willemstad, the capital city we visited today.
It has many Dutch roots and lots of buildings could easily be built in Holland.
The names of the streets are Dutch.
The pontoon bridge is called Queen Emma bridge, one of our former Queens.
The city hall is at the Wilhelminaplein, another queen of ours.
Although the people speak “Papiamento” (a mix of Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, English and probably African as well) they can speak Dutch and understand it well.

There is a fort “Fort Amsterdam” and something more Dutch than that doesn’t exist. The building of this fort started in 1635, a year after the Dutch captured the island from the Spanish.
I could go on about this city and its forts (there are more) and I won’t.
There are lots of other interesting things to tell about Curacao.

It used to be a “country”, when a colony of The Netherlands, where slaves did all the work on the plantations (sugar cane and that sort of thing).
In the museum “Kura Hulanda” there is much to see about slavery at the time and we visited this museum today as well.
There was also an exhibition about the African kingdoms from which the slaves were brought, amongst other islands and countries, to Curacao.
It was all very interesting and we didn’t have to pay because nobody was there to sell us the tickets.
It was very inexpensive like that and we looked around for a long time because there was air-conditioning as well.

In the afternoon drove back to our apartment and we swam in the sea.
After that I finished the first book of the trilogy of Stieg Larsson, “The girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and I am looking forward to reading the other two books.
Speaking of books and tattoos, there is at this moment a bestselling writer, John Burdett, and he writes about a policeman, doing his work in and around Bangkok (and we were in that city some weeks ago or so and we recognized scenes in his books) and these books are really nice and interesting to read.
One of the titles is “Bangkok Tattoo”. The other title is “Bangkok Haunts”. If I find out that Burdett wrote a new book I’d buy it right away.

What else is there to tell about Curacao.
The roads are not in mint condition.
I didn’t see any sheep, so Curacao is not the place to be when someone loves sheep. None around.
There used to be lots of goats (every family had its goats) but since the bad guys started to steal goats and people got other means of living there are not many goats left (one of our spokesmen told us).

This is it for today (Thursday, 17th December).
I’m going to sleep.
It was a very interesting day (we had a nice dinner on the beach near our apartment) and there is something else I have to tell.

So many weeks ago there stranded this little whale on the beach where we go swimming every day. It is called a “griend” and it is about 2.5 meters long.
The fish was in very bad condition (sick and traumatized and hungry and lonely and everything else what makes a fish feel shitty) and some people nursed it back to a healthy Griend.
They tried to bring the fish back to the sea and to other Griends, but they did not succeed and the fish is now swimming near the beach in a sort of big sea aquarium and is fed by those caring people (it eats squid).

As soon as possible the fish will be flown over to Orlando (USofA) where it will be held in some big sea aquarium and live there for ever (as long as possible and so on).
I made a few movies of this Griend and, when you read this, one of the movies will be on my blog.
So, don’t tell me, there is nothing happening on Curacao.
They have the Griend, they don’t have the goats anymore, if you park your car somewhere in the evening or the night or at a place where nobody comes, and you return it might be easily possible that your car doesn’t have anymore:- tires,
- wheels,
- doors,
- lights,
- etc. etc.
In some places the insurance doesn’t cover theft of the car or parts of it.
And they have Carnival every February.

Friday 18th. December

This morning we had breakfast and after that we went to the west point of the island of Curacao. We saw a lot of plantation* houses on our way to the west point but we could see only one from nearby and from the inside.
Many of the plantation houses were closed, in course of reconstruction or else.
* The plantations were sugarcane plantations.

On our way back (before I forget that) we should see flamingoes but none were there (not visible) and they were probably somewhere else??!! or at the Blijdorp Zoo In Rotterdam.

The west point of Curacao is more green than the other parts of the island
and less inhabited.

We went to see the Boca Grandi National Reserve. It is a piece of coast on the west point. The coast is a typical lava coast with blow holes, caves, lots of rocks and small and large lizards. We saw lots of lizards and I have some on film to look at. It was very beautiful to see.

After our tour we went for a swim (the sea water is still very nice) and watched the Griend in its aquarium.

We looked at our e-mail, had lots of crackers with cheese (Roquefort and Port Salut) and crab salad.
And we had soup (Crème of mushroom) and we are going to eat steak.

More tomorrow.

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