The sweet escape to The Dutch Island


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Published: April 7th 2022
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Here I am returning from a long absence since my last blog.
It has been a while since I updated my travel stories, this time, words do not flow easily into my head like they used to, and this could be one the effects of COVID-induced alienation syndrome. The pandemic had taken a toll on many of us including a psychology student like myself. I experienced sanity diminishing day by day as the whole shebang went on far longer than anticipated and I don’t know how I managed to keep my grip intact.

Two years of on and off lockdowns, open-closed borders, flight restrictions, quarantine bs, and not to mention emotional roller coasters mindfuck that we are learning to overcome. Let's face it, is there a chance of reclaiming the old lives back? Probably not. Has it been difficult times? Hell yeah. But life goes on, and we'll get on with it! It is time to resume the world of travelling and reclaim sanity.

Where have I been since my most recent blog? Europe is the only continent I spent most of the two years travelling to, and I am grateful for that. I visited some neighbouring places such as Italy, Germany and some others. I love writing stories about different parts of the globe, but I felt that telling stories about Europe is totally unnecessary once I became a local European resident for the last 11 years.

While the uncertainty persists, Europe has started to feel so dull that I am compelled me to make another massive change in my world. I craved new excitement, I fantasised about being on an island far, far away where I can empty my mind as I lay down under the sunshine. Soak myself on a warm clearwater beach, taste a bite of delicious seafood and wash it down with refreshing cocktails. This image seems farfetched at this moment of madness without going through all the hassles.

I could no longer tolerate the European staycations experience, and I desperately needed to find a destination with fewer measures. A few days of searching later, I stumbled upon the Dutch Islands on the Caribbean Sea, a place that never crossed my mind or oddly had attracted my attention. Without hesitation, I booked myself a trip of more than 11 hours flight for the first time in two years to an island where quarantine is unnecessary, and this is the benefit I have not taken for granted. Stuff to prepare such as a travel insurance, a PCR test and a completed online immigration form are required before departure. In addition, an antigen test should be conducted a few days after arrival. I must say that these new travel rules are all new to me. They were inconvenient, costly and time-consuming. One thing to keep in my mind, freedom is invaluable to a risk-taker such as me.

Time has flown, the big day has arrived and unforeseen circumstances can still arise. I am keeping my fingers crossed from the moment I left my home to the airport in the hope of smooth check-in and customs control without hiccups. Wearing a mask covering half of my face for 15 hours is something I am yet to experience. The distraught faces wandering around the airport are not something I'm accustomed to seeing. I forget how annoying are some travellers and what it's like to be stuck with them for more than 10 hours on a plane. 3 hours of airport bullshit later, freedom is finally mine when I sat on my seat and felt my flight take off as scheduled.

Fast forward 11 hours later, it was truly liberating to have arrived at the final destination. The sweet escape to the island of beautiful beaches! So far away, isolated from the current global chaos, no drama but a glass of Prosecco and a romantic dinner await you. I arrived at my resort around midnight and then spent the first evening sitting by the pool in a restaurant enjoying the presence of being in different part of the world. I could feel the welcoming evening of tropical breeze blowing over my hair in the warm temperatures beneath the stars in the sky. The luscious dinner and a bottle of Prosecco were the perfect endings to my evening.

After dinner, I headed back to my room to rest. I'm laying on the bed listening to the stillness and closed my eyes as the quiet serenity of the resort invited me to relax. The palm trees, wild bananas and surrounding tropical plantations add this calming and peaceful feeling to my relaxation. I hear no sounds of motor vehicles or drunk idiotic tourists making scenes in public spaces. The twittering sounds of the Troupial birds were the wake-up call that soothed my morning rituals in the following morning. As I get older, I embrace quietness and appreciate mother nature much more than I ever had.

I had zero expectations about the island, nor had I read anything before my departure. I let this place blow my mind away and surprise me. After a good night of rest, I took a slow morning walk around the neighbourhood. Two beautiful stray dogs from afar wandering down the street running towards me (they must have smelled Kita through me), I couldn't help but run towards them to burry myself in big furry hugs and slobbery kisses. They had no name tags and thought Gina and Gino were probably good enough random names to call them.

Gina and Gino accompanied me all the way, they treated me like a valuable part of the pack that they protected from other stray dogs, which was my most memorable moment of the journey. The streets we walked along were rocky and mostly unpaved. I noticed rubbish hiding in bushes on the side of the roads, the doors and windows of shops and restaurants are secured by safety bars and houses are built with high front gates and metal fences. Nonetheless, don't let the dangerous perception concern you, it is a safe island.

Above all, what struck me the most was the conundrum of stray animals. There were so many abandoned dogs all over this island. It appears that the majority of their population is used as security guards and much less family members. The average canine in every household is between 2-5, mostly chained up on the front lawns barking aloud as a result of chronic captivity stress.

We passed by a few streets and stopped at a supermarket. Gina Gino waited outside while I was inside, and then they followed me back to the resort. They were sitting in front of my room waiting for invitation. Unfortunately, the resort security had to remove them because they refused to leave. Watching them removed from the resort is the cross I could never bear, this is the hardest part of this journey. Abandoned animals and poverty are my weakness, I crumble every time I face the situation. I learnt once again that surprises are not always pleasant.

Moving on from Gina and Gino, this island is appealing full of friendly inhabitants, something about my exotic look they admired so much. Plenty of great, well-protected beaches. Mambo beach is where I spent most of my days relaxing. It is one of the most famous local beaches, and it is about 2 km from my resort. There are no green vegetables or fruits grow on the island. 90% of the food consumed is imported from neighbouring countries. There are plenty of beautiful exotic fish swimming on the surface, salt water crabs chilling on the rocks. The beach is so clear that there is no need for snorkelling gears to spot them.

Aside from tranquillity, water activities are the major attraction of the island. Beach hopping is also a popular activity. I recommend renting a car to do the beach hopping because public transports are unreliable and they do not operate around the island.

I cannot overemphasise the zen atmosphere that illuminates the whole island. The clock moves so slowly, nobody rushes, restaurants are open and closed in their own time. I do not know how live life this way as I am always on the go. In the evenings, young men play football while the elderly chit-chat in front of the house. I believe the environment has an immense influence on the quality of life, living costs are be higher on this island but the people are happier.

After a couple of days relaxing, I took a day trip to the western point to visit famous places like Klein Knip beach, Elizabeth Bay and Flamingo Park. The history behind the island during the time of slavery has been educative. I'm such a big fan of Kleine Knip. A small white sand beach with calm ocean waves below the clear blue skies. The place where my mind is exactly where I am, resting on the beach. My thoughts were far from routine, the life intertwined and the classic past and future contemplations. In reality, time is just an illusion, the past is gone, and the future is unwritten. No matter how much the brain revolves around it, the Now is all that exists.

After I winding down at Kleine Knip, I visited the Fisherman's Bay where I had a swim with turtles. The small ones were probably the same size as me but faster. After a nice swim with them, I headed to Elisabeth Bay where two wild pigs Woody and Willy hang out. They live around the area and often come to the beach to play on the water and show off their cuteness. I was gutted that they were not there during my visit. The Seta Boca National Park is another place a must visit, mother nature of astonishing landscapes, a cave and blue waves crashing hard against the rocks.

The tour began at 8 am, and the hour hand quickly moved to 6 pm, when the fun must end. The driver dropped me back at the resort and left me mesmerised. The hike, the swims, the turtles, the fish, beach hopping, and the flamingos were the perfect activities to spend my day. Time moved so slowly at the beginning of the journey conversely, it moved a hundred times faster approaching the end of it. I missed my flight for the first in my entire travel history because of a mind-blowing experience I had ventured, and for the first time, I didn’t give a flying fuck about it either. I secretly wished no flights were going back to NL.


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7th April 2022

GORGE
Words will come back. You were born to travel and write about it. Loved it ❤️😘
8th April 2022

Interesting journey
I guess the travel restrictions will stay for awhile but least things are looking up now. I enjoyed your story, background and life experiences. Salute 🌴🥃✈️⛱
9th April 2022

Thank you for sharing
Very enjoyable story to read. Like you I am a weakness for animals, made me sad to see them homeless. Thanks for sharing.

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