Our cruise ship eased into her berth outside Willemstad after two nights at sea. Our first stop in the Caribbean was Curacao and I still didn’t know how to pronounce it! But I wasn’t going to let that hold me back. Before I left home I checked out some good sailing destinations online and I discovered that sailboats ccould be rented in Curacao on a lagoon called Spanish Waters. We strolled into the city of Willemstad and hopped into a taxi. Our taxi driver reminded me of Queen Latifah. She was pretty cool plus she told us how to pronounce Curacao. The traffic on the way out to Spanish Waters was moving slowly, then it started to rain really heavily and everything slowed down even more.
We never got to rent a sailboat. We reached Spanish Waters without fuss, but the rain never stopped. The place still sits fondly in my memory, however. Just as we pulled in at the rental shop I saw a big iguana wander across the car park. Awesome. Then we went and sat outside under a shade that we would have imagined was surely designed to protect us from the sun rather than the rain. We waited, looking out at the teeming rain, checking the grey sky for any signs of hope. The tropical rain, the green vegetation, the humidity, the lagoon and its boats, all combined to bring a calm over us. We chatted and relaxed with a drink, not in any panic that our few hours on the island were being wasted. This was the Caribbean, we were meant to relax, and for once we had the good sense to do so. Eventually we got the guys in the shop to ring the taxi to return for us. One was a dutch guy over for a few months, the other was a local kid. I talked to them both for a little while as we waited for our taxi to return.
The taxi journey back to Willemstad was very slow because the road had become quite flooded in places. But our excursion had given us a chance to see the suburbs of the city where the lush greenery took over from the urban jungle. Back in the city, there was no sign of rain – the sun was beating down on us and even a wander through the streets was hard work at times. Aside from the magnificent waterfront, Willemstad has a sort of scruffy charm about it. The expensive tourist shops such as Calvin Klein don’t quite fit in but there are plenty of them about. I don’t know if there’ s much to keep you entertained here for more than a day or two really.
The waterfront is where we decided to get lunch. We sat in front of the delightful facade of old dutch buildings and watched the moving bridge go back and forth across the river mouth. I ate something local that was nice enough, think it might have been some sort of lamb stew. We never made it to the beach either, but I think we saw something a little bit different in Curacao that made it interesting and worthwhile.
Up next: Aruba.
Bye for now!