"" Writer's Wanderings: The Colorful Island of Curacao

Monday, March 14, 2022

The Colorful Island of Curacao


Aruba and Curacao are both Dutch islands and are lovely but Curacao is the more colorful in my opinion. Willemstad has beautiful historic buildings and the more modern builds blend in with the same kind of architecture. We awoke and immediately looked out to be sure we were in port (the after effects of that canceled cruise). We were, but there were several rain clouds that seemed to move our way one after the other. The rain would come in a mist, then a downpour for a minute or two, then disappear with the sunshine only to have the cycle repeat. 

It was waffle day for Bob so we had to have waffles for breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill. We watched as what seemed to be at least three-quarters of the ship's guests formed lines on the dock for their morning excursions. Our morning plans were to try to stream the church service from First Baptist Church in Key Largo and then go ashore. In order to stream anything, Bob had to buy an extra service from our carrier. The carrier only charged $10/day where the ship wanted a $50 fee for the whole cruise and we weren't planning on using it that much. Since we were only streaming for one day we went with the carrier fee. 

Settled in with a coffee from the Explorations Cafe on the ship, we cued up the live stream for church on Facebook and began to watch. About five minutes into the service, an announcement came that the ship's crew was going to have a safety drill. It would not affect guests except that the forward elevators would be out of service. Well, it didn't affect guests unless they were trying to listen to a live stream. At least a half dozen announcements came, including one that said there was a "fire" in the laundry and several warning blasts that indicated emergencies. By the time our live stream was finally finished, the announcement came that all guests and crew abandon ship. Of course that was all part of the drill but we were ready to go ashore anyway. We told security we were abandoning ship as they scanned our cards. It got a pleasant smile.

A walkway from the cruise terminal wound past the casino/hotel and through an old fort that has been renovated to contain all sorts of shops and bars and restaurants. It's very well done. The Rif Fort translates to Reef Fort and was built in 1828 to protect the St. Anna Bay. Across the opening to the bay is the Water Fort built in 1829. At one time the fort included 56 cannons, barracks, a powder magazine and a water tank. In front of the fort was a dome shaped structure that was used to seal off the opening to the bay.

Continuing on, the walkway exits the fort and takes you past a line of booths with local merchants displaying their wares. Finally you reach the pontoon bridge over the channel that swings open to allow for ship traffic. We have been on ships that actually went inside the channel and docked but for some reason we didn't do that this time. The pontoon bridge is fun to cross. It doesn't rise and fall too much but with the wind and the wave action that morning, you didn't want to linger or the motion could, well, you know. 

At the other end of the pontoon bridge were several wire heart shaped structures that had lots of locks attached to them. Several places in the world have been inundated with people who want to express their love by leaving a lock on a bridge. This was a good way to handle what could become a nasty mess.

It was Sunday so we didn't expect much to be open. There were a few merchants who ventured out to attract customers but for the most part, with only one ship in and the weather, the day didn't look profitable. We walked up and down the streets and along a side canal that had a fresh fish and veggie market. Not many booths were open. I remembered another time where it was very picturesque with all the displays. 

As we walked down one sort of out of the way street and approached an open door we could hear loud music playing and voices raised that sounded like a bar full of people having a good time. As we passed the door we realized we couldn't have been more wrong. The people were having a good time but they were in a worship service. I recognized the music but the words they sang were all in Dutch.

After dodging a few spurts of rain, we finally made our way back to the ship for a relaxing afternoon, me to write and Bob to see a movie (probably a sleeping opportunity). Our departure time for Curacao was again late, 10:30pm. There were more people who did evening walks and I'm sure went to the casino on shore or found other venues for dining. I could see them strolling from the ship and back again as I sat on our veranda for a short time.

After dinner and the sunset, we listened to the strings play in the Lincoln Center Stage. I enjoyed watching a gray haired fellow with a beard and a ponytail really get into the music. In this novelist's mind, I imagined he was a retired orchestra conductor, especially when his one hand began waving in time to the music.

Following the classical music, we moved to the Billboard pianos and listened to some sixties and seventies rock. We were exploring all our music genres. Bob left me in the Billboard lounge and went to see the James Bond movie in the theater. If it's not Sean Connery or Roger Moore, I don't go. 

I stayed in Billboard for another round of music that featured artists who were pianists. The two playing were very entertaining and the folks listening joined in often. When Bob left the movie early, we walked outside a bit and then called it a night just before our ship was due to leave. When you're this relaxed it's an early night even though the time was going to fall back and give us an extra hour. 

Sea day ahead. What will it hold?

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