I’ve been wondering what to blog about this week. I know it sounds fascinating to live on Curaçao for two months, but the truth is… kind of boring actually.
Our week goes something like this: Monday: work, Tuesday: work, Wednesday: work, Thursday: work, Friday: work, Friday Evening: celebrate the weekend, Saturday: beach, Sunday: beach. It’s wonderful, but not really blogging material.

One thing I did notice looking at my pictures of the past few days is the amount of color. That’s really a Curaçao thing to me. The colors here are so intense and bright. The sky is bright blue and the ocean can even be brighter than that. The sunset is an intense yellow orange, the trees and plants are all green and there are bright red, white and pink flowers everywhere. And if you hear a flock of birds coming over there’s a good chance they are bright green.

There’s even more color at the beach. The one we visit often has yellow and pink chairs. The people on them have beach towels in every existing color. Ours are a bit boring though. Mine is black with thin colored stripes and my husband’s is plain black. Not our choice really, it was a business gift we got once. A box of stuff pretending to be more than it was, all in black and silver. The towel is the only thing we kept, since it’s really big and it doesn’t stain easily (which is great if you go and sit on beaches that are not the white and sandy ones).

At the Wet&Wild bar I first enjoyed the beautiful sunset, but when it was gone, I turned my attention to the colorful people around me. At Wet&Wild there’s a majority of young people, but it’s often the older that spark my interest. Like a man sporting a beautiful silver beard, doing a bit of mambo with his wife that most younger people  (including myself, even though I’m not really young anymore) jumping around there couldn’t match even if they wanted too.

The boy in the red trousers was a lot younger. My eyes were first drawn to him because of those trousers. Most of the men there aren’t wearing long trousers (it’s a beach club after all) and if they do… not red. But then he started dancing and I couldn’t stop watching. Have you ever seen the Rowan Atkinson Sketch about what to do on a first date? The part about dancing goes like this: “some move too little” – Atkinson moving his chin only. “Some move too much”. Uh… Well, how to describe that? Just really, too much. Like the guy in the red trousers. Lucky for him it wasn’t his first date. He had a cute girl that joined him happily. For a while. Then she got tired and he just kept dancing on his own. He was enjoying himself so much that it was fun to watch.

Sunday we were at the beach early, but we left early too. That turned out to be a good choice. That night I noticed I had a bit of a sunburn going on, but I wasn’t too red. Cause that’s a nice color, but not on my skin.

We drove from the beach to Banda Abou, the rural part of the island and looked at houses. They come in all sorts of colors here. Yellow, green, blue. Or flamingo pink. I like that too, but I prefer it on the bird, not on a house. For the houses I like green and yellow the most.

After lots of detours we arrived back in Willemstad. We had a little drink in the Riffort and of course climbed up to enjoy the view and the strong wind. We were on our way back to the car when we realized there were policemen standing at the roundabout. And that parts of the road were blocked.
Then I remembered the Children’s Carnaval was that day. We kind of wanted to see that, but ever since I worked for a newspaper, trying to find a good spot and waiting for some event to happen just doesn’t feel like fun anymore. And my husband doesn’t like planning in advance or waiting for whatever, so we decided not to go. I read somewhere it ended at the Riffort, but I assumed it would be long over, since it was after six and it started at three.

That showed. Oh, those tired little faces. Three hours walking and dancing in these temperatures. I can only imagine how tired they must have been. But the really tried to put on a little show for the people watching at the end of the route (that would be us – and lots of others).

I find myself writing about colors today and oh my, the carnaval is full of color. I don’t know much about Dutch carnaval (we’re from “the north” and carnaval is a “southern” thing in our little country) but this was exactly what I imagined South American carnaval to be. My camera couldn’t take it all in (I only had the pocket camera with me, the battery was almost empty and the sun was setting), so the pictures don’t really do it justice, but it was so a lot of fun to watch. So colorful!

A bit of adventure

My husband’s Valentine gift for me this year was two of the things I can never have enough of: time spent together and a bit of adventure.

“You choose where we go”, he said.
I didn’t have a clue, so “Just go west”, I said, knowing there is nature and free beaches in that direction. I didn’t feel like going into town. That much I knew.

So we drove out of town, to the west. I remembered reading somewhere that there is a little road down the north coast from Ascençion back into town. Since we hardly know the north coast (all the beaches are on the south coast), we thought that would be fun.

Of course we took the wrong turn. But we didn’t mind. Getting lost feels like vacation to us, especially if it doesn’t really matter where we end up. We never found the road I meant, but we did find ourselves back on the main road after a nice detour.

When we passed Shete Boka, my husband said: “That’s where we’re going!” We’ve passed the National Park often, but we never visited.
We got a little map and followed the first trail (on foot) to the first Boka. It was a little hike through a forest of Mangroves. I love how these trees grow themselves into knots. Beneath the trees you could here gekko’s running away for us.

Just when we were wondering if we were going in the right direction (towards the see), the forest stopped and we were between large rocks, that we think were very old coral. And behind that, we found the ocean.
It’s clear why there aren’t any beaches here. These waves are so powerful. And so beautiful too. We can watch the ocean for hours. Well, we did for half an hour.

Than we hiked back through the knotty forest and took the car to drive to another boka. The lady at the entrance said there would be turtles there.

We drove over dirt roads, took – of course –  a few wrong turns, despite the clear directions and finally found Boka Pistol. It’s hard to describe how beautiful it’s there (but luckily I do have pictures and even video below this post). The water is pushed into the boka (inlet?) so hard that it’s blowing up again really, really high.

We saw a turtle there. Swimming in those waves. It must have been a massive one, if we could spot him from afar. He held his head up just a few moments and then he dived…

The map said the dirt road stopped here, but it didn’t, so we followed it to the next boca. There have to be at least seven (though my tour giuide says the’re even more). We saw big blowing waves as far as we could see…
We took the bumpy dirt road back, almost ended up going straight up the mountain instead of around it (feels like vacation too, we did that once at the Mont Blanc) and parked the car again to hike another trail to a cave.

This was a cave completely carved out by the water. I felt scared to go in there first, since there was a warning to wear fitting shoes. My slippers fit very well, but I guess that’s not what they meant. Luckily it wasn’t too bad.
It was still scary, knowing that big rock above, the rumbling sound of the wind and the waves. But I’m so glad I’ve seen it. The power of nature. You’ve got to be reminded of that every once in a while, I believe.

We hopped into the car and went west again. We found a sign pointing to “North Point”. We’d never been there too. And we’ve still never been, cause we got lost again. We did find Watamula. Didn’t know what that was, so we decided to go see it (you know, vacation, adventure).

Watamula was a platform of ancient coral, leading to another beautiful part of the coast. There was another couple walking there (I think to find a romantic spot together) and the man told us to walk just a little bit further. When we did, he said: “They say this is where Korsow (Curaçao) breaths.” And he pointed to a hole in the rock. It did look like that. Like a whale coming up for air. And it sounded like breathing too. So beautiful.

If I have any doubts about this island, one of them was that I thought it didn’t have a lot of real nature. The beaches were fun, but I missed… well, this.

My sense for adventure was kind of satisfied now. We took some more roads just because we never did before and then decided we were thirsty. We had some drinks at a snack (a small diner where locals go for food and drinks) and when we saw three Americans eating chicken, my husband decided he wanted something to eat too.
The menu was in papiamento, so we had to guess what to choose. I knew the dish at the top was goat, but my husband wasn’t feeling adventurous enough to try that. Galina is chicken, but they had both stoba (which is stew – I knew that) and hasa (that was a new word for me). The Americans were standing next to us now, because they wanted more ketchup (oh, Americans and their ketchup…) so my husband asked which one of the two galina dishes they had.
“We just asked for chicken”, the guy said. Oh, well. That’s a way of handling things too. My husband also took the easy way and ordered “what he has”. Which turned out to be fried chicken. Galina hasa. It was good (I took a litle bite).

It was late in the afternoon by now. We drove home slowly. And then we drove past our temporary home, because we didn’t want this day to end yet. So we went to the very new Beach Boulevard, where we knew were lots of bars and restaurants. I know, so different from all that beautiful nature, but for us that feels like vacation too.

We had a drink at the Wet & Wild Beachclub, which isn’t by far as wild as the name suggests and wet clothes are not appreciated. We watched the sun make a crazy move and landing itself on a ship (see picture at the bottom of the post) and then went looking for a restaurant. That wasn’t easy since in most restaurantsevery table was booked for Valentines diners. Luckily the nice people at El Mexicano found room for us. We ate a “combinaçion” of Mexican dishes and decided that, despite an earlier disappointment, we actually did like Mexican food. It was great.

After diner we walked by the seaside, watched the stars from the beach chairs and decided to have one more drink. Wet & Wild was the only place that had some fun going on, so that’s where we went. The nice 80’s background music had been replaced by ‘90’s dance music. We’re not fans (we were teenagers in the ‘80’s), but here, at the beach it didn’t bother us much. If I’d have had one more drink I might even have danced a little. Luckily I didn’t, because despite my comments on young girls dancing like they swallowed a broom stick (move those hips, girls!), I don’t think it looks good when an overweight 42-year-old tries to move like she did 25 years ago*.

Still, it was a nice ending to a good and adventurous Valentines Day.

*I actually did a bit of dancing a few days later, but maybe it’s better to keep that story untold. I’d like to state that my hips still can do the moves though 😉

knotted tree (mangrove)

Boka Kalki

Boka Kalki

Boka Pistol

Boka Pistol

clearly (the sign states that waves can be very powerful and dangerous here)

Another boka
Boka Tabla
in the cave
dirt roads near Watamula
Korsow breathes here…
sun aboard

A real sunset

My husband braked and turned the car around.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“No clouds”, he pointed.
“Yes!”, I cheered and I jumped out of the car as soon as he parked it.

I think I have to explain. Judging by the amount of sunsets I have been posting over the years, one might expect I have seen a real one a few times. You know, the sun sinking into the sea like a big firy ball.
But I haven’t. We’ve been waiting on the beach of Kuta, Bali, we hiked to the lighthouse of Maspalomas, Gran Canaria, we sat at Westpoint, Curaçao and we watched from our own North Sea Beach. But always, always, there were clouds covering those last few moments. Not that we didn’t enjoy those sunsets, but I really wanted to see one of those fireballs-into-the-sea ones.

Last Sunday we were driving around and found a little road that we never saw before. It led to a small beach and we looked around a bit. The sun started setting and I – of course –  took some pictures.

20140214 (2) (Large)

“Do you want to wait till it’s fully set?” my husband asked and I said: “No, there are clouds again on the horizon, so the best part is already over.”

Cause that’s how it goes. You’re waiting for that one, beautiful moment and you find it’s already gone. Also, this little road, even though cars were allowed there, was full of people walking and jogging and I was afraid it would be hard to drive back in the dark.

So we drove our bumpy way back and turned into the road connecting to the main road. Until my husband suddenly turned the car and we saw the sun sinking beneath the horizon for the very first time.
Later I realized I could have filmed it, since it took only minutes. But I never thought of that. I do have a lot of pictures…

20140214 (6) (Large)

20140214 (13) (Large)

20140214 (14) (Large)

Not vacationing

Oh, I do owe you guys an update, don’t I? It’s really been too long.

But there just isn’t that much to tell. We arrived safely in Willemstad, Curaçao and are happily working on our normal things. I’ve been doing a lot of writing. I finished the other half of a book that I wrote in November. Such a great story to write. I loved both the female and the male main character. They were different from what you’d expect in a romance novel, but that’s okay. I’m not writing for Harlequin.
I love that this guy has a beard and is quite the hippie (but in a good way, not the pot-smoking kind) and that this girl is discovering that she is in fact a strong woman, despite her handicap.

Which may be a funny thing to think about when you’re on a Caribean island, but that’s the way it goes for us. We’re not vacationing, we’re sort of living here now.

We did do some exploring though and I even took some pictures along the way. So much for my “daily picture” ideas, but who knows when the mood strikes again.

Here’s what I do have:

A little beach near our apartment

Small harbour, fish delivered directly to restaurants on the right (I had red snapper)

Emmabrug, colorful lit

The colors on the bows change every 20 seconds…

Don’t know what this bird is called, but I love his song

Flowering cactus, or a flower living on a cactus, I’m not sure

Bananaguit (in Dutch it’s called sugarthief for obvious reasons) eying our wine