Thursday, Jan 4th – Curacao


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Central America Caribbean » Curaçao
January 5th 2018
Published: January 5th 2018
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Curacao IguanaCuracao IguanaCuracao Iguana

which supposedly tastes like chicken
We are going to try to start this entry with a panoramic view from our balcony. Today is our last day of visiting islands – this is our last port city. SAD!

We slept in a little today, because our excursion was not until afternoon. The ship docked around 8:00 and lots of people must have headed out fairly soon thereafter, but we found it comparatively quiet aboard this morning. We went up to the Horizon Court for the breakfast buffet, but it wasn’t very crowded – plenty of empty tables and not many people milling around the food tables.

At 9:00 Janet went to her Knitters & Knatters, but found she was the only one there. Nobody showed up to knit with her. She did stay for the 10:00 trivia too and answered the questions in her head, but there weren’t many people there either. So she had a fairly quiet time until coming back to the cabin about 11:00.

Meanwhile David went to the pool to enjoy a nice morning swim without a big crowd of kids. There were actually only 3 folks in the pool so he was able to do some good swimming before getting out and resting in the sun. Speaking of the sun, it was 83 this morning but our guide later in the day said it would get up closer to 89 this time of year (during the winter). There was a healthy breeze blowing all day, so it actually was a bit chilly out of the water until he got dried off.

After getting dressed, David went down to the pier to see what they had there (mostly small souvenir tents) and to find where our tour was to meet. Every excursion this trip has met on the pier instead of at some gathering point in the ship. We don’t know if that is just peculiar to this trip or if the cruise line has changed it practice everywhere. It did work so we had nothing to complain about, but fortunately the meeting points were not very far from the gangway either. It will be something to watch during our next cruise.

About 11:30 David went to the buffet and got a plate of cheese, meats and crackers to bring to our cabin. He brought Janet a glass of iced tea and had one of our remaining cokes.
Another Cactus FenceAnother Cactus FenceAnother Cactus Fence

many cacti on Curacao too
Anyway, we weren’t especially hungry yet, but knew that we would get hungry in the middle of our excursion if we didn’t eat a little something first. We also smuggled a couple of cookies in the backpack as a mid-afternoon snack – we weren’t the only ones who did that.

We went down to the pier about 12:15 and sat on a bench which David had spotted during his reconnaissance mission. The breeze felt nice and cool while sitting in the sun. Then about 12:45 they started lining everyone up and giving everyone a sticker to wear. They let a couple of people go to the bus early if they had issues walking, so Janet joined them and got to the bus without being hurried by the crowd. When David came with the rest of the group, she had picked out some good seats for us. Our tour started just about on-time at 1:00.

Our guide said that the whole island of Curacao has been designated as a World Heritage Site. That placed some restrictions on changes they can make to old buildings and what they have to call various places. The ship is docked in Willemstad, which is the capital. The buildings in town (businesses or houses) are all painted bright colors and are maintained in good condition – part of the heritage requirements. Curacao is a separate country but under the supervision of the Netherlands. The population is about 160,000 and the island has about 171 square miles. It was initially a volcanic island but that went extinct long ago. Since that time there have been 3 separate uplifts of the island bringing more land to the surface. The climate seems to be similar to Bonaire but there is more topsoil so they grow more crops. Tourism is their biggest industry but there is also a big petroleum refinery of Venezuelan oil. Those are some of the interesting facts we learned today.

Our first visit was to what they called an art museum. Actually this was a late replacement for somewhere that is not currently available to show us the original island culture. This new “museum” is more of a craft shop where they cast figures from clay molds and then paint them. Janet found the figure to be offensive. Anyway, they did not show us the making of anything but did encourage us to buy stuff in the little gift shop. This wasn’t a big hit for us.

The second stop was at an Aloe Vera Plantation. Here the lady presenter showed us how the aloe plants grow (it takes 2 years from planting to harvesting), and then what they do with them. They have 5 acres planted with 100,000 plants, but 5 more acres they could plant if the demand increases. She had cut off a large “leaf” (probably at least 15 inches long and up to 4 inches wide. Once we had an aloe plant at home but it never got anywhere near that large. The flowering parts of the plants are trimmed off every few weeks to keep the plants energy directed at growing the aloe leaves. She said that the initial yellow drippings when a plant leaf is cut are good to eat if you have indigestion, but since there is no bathroom on the bus they were not offering any of that to us. Her leaf had been picked earlier and the yellow stuff was gone. She sliced off the tip and let it drip aloe into her hand. She claimed there were bountiful benefits to the aloe
MenuMenuMenu

at Blue Curacao Distillery
products – David thought the aloe juice claims sounded like what a snake-oil salesman would have claimed back in the old west. She then peeled the skin off the leaf like filleting a fish, and then sliced the internal membrane into small pieces and everyone ate a small piece. It had about as much taste as a cucumber but much more slimy. This was supposed to be good for us, but we feel the same as before. Then we all had a chance to buy various bottles/tubes of it and many people carried away bags full of the stuff.

Back on the bus, our third stop was at a Blue Curacao Distillery. They walked us thought the history of how it was made originally and that they do it about the same way today but with larger machines and more automation. There was a sampling table to try 3 different flavors. Janet liked the chocolate flavor and David liked the original orange flavor. After that we could buy a drink if we wanted, so we split a Blue Daiquiri. They said that we can buy other brands of Blue Curacao liqueur elsewhere, but the authentic brand in the round bottle can only be bought on Curacao. We decided not to get one.

After drinks at the distillery, we got back on the bus and headed for the ship again. We got back in plenty of time, but the ship actually sailed a little behind schedule as they waited for a couple of Princess Excursions which were returning late – they would not have waited for anyone coming back late from a private tour.

We went back to the cabin and Janet got a short bit of rest. We skipped the appetizer activity today and went down to the dinner at 5:30. The Demings had enjoyed their excursion in 4x4’s to an ostrich farm and we told them about our activities. For dinner Janet had a fancy chicken breast with vegetables, after having the scallop & shrimp appetizer. David had the same appetizer, with a glass of chilled pear & mango soup, and his entrée was the grilled pork chop. For dessert everyone had a warm chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream covered with chocolate syrup. Just before dessert our head waiter snuck up on Janet with a banana bird (a banana sliced just a couple of inches to form a beak, eyes drawn on the yellow peel, and a napkin wrapped around his wrist so he could open and close the beak – David missed another photo-op.

After dinner we stopped by the cabin for a few minutes and then went down to the theater for a performance by someone who was advertised as a musical comedian. His name is John Bressler and he is the only performer to twice having been nominated as Princess Performer of the Year. We actually saw his show on our previous cruise from St Kitts, but it was excellent again. We would be happy to see him still another time sometime in the future – he was very funny but did an excellent job playing the piano.

Now we are back in the cabin and settling down for a good night’s sleep.

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