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Published: April 7th 2022
Here I am after a long absence since my last blog. Where have I been since my most recent blog? Nowhere exciting but Europe, the only continent I have spent most of the two years travelling.
It has been a while since I updated my travel stories. This time, words are not getting through my head as they used to, and this is most likely an impact of the COVID-induced alienation syndrome.
The pandemic took a toll on many of us, including psychology students like myself. I experienced my sanity diminishing day by day as the whole shebang went on far longer than anticipated. It has been interesting two years of mental health experiences, and I still do not know how I managed to keep my grip intact.
Two years of on and off lockdowns, open-closed borders, flight restrictions, travel quarantines, 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? Probably not. Has it been difficult times? Hell yeah, but life goes on!
Europe feels so dull while the uncertainty persists, and these vibes compelled me to make another massive
change in my world. I was craving new excitement, fantasising about a faraway exotic island where I emptied my mind. A visualisation of that warm clearwater beach, tasting a bite of delicious seafood and washing it down with refreshing cocktails. This image seems farfetched in the moment of madness without going through hassles.
I could not tolerate the European staycation idea and desperately needed to find a destination with fewer Covid measures. A few days of searching later, I stumbled upon the Dutch Islands on the Caribbean Sea, a place which never crossed my mind or oddly had attracted my attention. Without hesitation, I booked myself a trip for the first time in two years to an island where the flight was more than eleven hours long.
Travellers are not required to be quarantined on the island however, Covid travel insurance and a negative PCR test are mandatory before departure. In addition, an antigen test should be conducted a few days after arrival. All the covid requirements are costly and time-consuming, but I am a woman with a mission who will go through all kinds of obstacles to get the fuck out of winter in NL.
has flown, and unforeseen circumstances can still arise on the big day. I kept my fingers crossed on my way to the airport, hoping for a smooth check-in and security check without hiccups. When I arrived at Schiphol, I was not accustomed to the strange ambience among those distraught faces covered in masks wandering around.
I was not the only one with the idea. Everyone's trying to escape, everything's taking so long, and three hours of airport bs later, I finally sat on my seat and felt my plane take off as scheduled. The drama did not end there. I completely forgot how annoying some travellers are and what it's like to get stuck with them on a plane for more than ten hours. The two years of European staycations nonsense have put me back to a inexperienced traveller’s seat.
Eleven hours later, it felt so liberating when my plane finally landed at the final destination. The sweet escape to the island of beautiful beaches! So far away, isolated from the current global chaos. A bottle of Prosecco and fine dining await me on the first evening. I sat next to the restaurant pool, enjoying the presence of
a new world and feeling the welcoming evening of tropical breezes blowing over my hair in the warm temperatures beneath the stars in the sky. No phone, no stupid social bs show off, just me and the presence.
After dinner, I returned to my room, laying down on my bed with my eyes closed as the tranquillity invited me to relax. There were no sounds of motor vehicles or drunk idiotic tourists making scenes in public spaces. Twittering Troupial birds were my wake-up call that soothed my morning rituals the following morning. As I get older, I embrace quietness and appreciate it much more mother nature than I ever had.
After a good night of rest, I took a slow morning walk around the neighbourhood. 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. Two beautiful stray dogs from afar wandered down the street heading toward me (they must have smelled Kita through me). I could not help but run toward them to bury myself in their 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 day. They treated me like a valuable member of the pack that they protected from other stray dogs, which was my most memorable moment of the journey. The streets where we walked along were rocky and mostly unpaved. You see rubbish hiding in bushes on the side of the roads. You see doors and windows of shops and restaurants are secured by safety bars. You also see houses are built with high gates and metal fences. My first reaction was dangerous, but that was not the case. This island is safe.
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 those dogs are used as security guards and much less treated as family members which I find so sad to witness. The average canines in every household are between 2-5, mostly chained up on the front lawns barking aloud, looking scared as the result of chronic captivity stress.
We passed by a few streets and stopped at a supermarket. Gina & Gino waited outside
while I was getting some stuff, and then they followed me back to the resort. They were sitting in front of my room, waiting for an invitation. Unfortunately, the resort security had to remove them because they refused to leave. It made me so sad watching them taken away from the resort. The event had an impact on me for days. I had to avoid the streets where we walked onto so I won’t run into them. I find abandoned animals and poverty are always shuttering, and I lost my grip each time I faced 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 that admires Caribbean men so much. Plenty of great, well-protected beaches. The most popular Mambo beach is where I spend my days relaxing. It is about 2 km from my resort. Seafood and meat were interestingly expensive. There are no green vegetables or fruits grown on the island. The locals imported many fresh products from neighbouring countries.
Plenty of beautiful exotic fish swimming on the beach and saltwater 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 do not operate around the island.
I cannot overemphasise the zen atmosphere that illuminates the whole island. The clock moves so slowly, nobody rushes, and restaurants are open and closed in their own time. I do not know how to live like them as I am always on the go. In the evenings, young men play football while the elderly chit-chat in front of the house. The environment has an immense influence on the quality of life. I noticed those who live less appeared to be more happier despite higher living costs due to Covid.
After a few days of 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 am a big fan of Kleine Knip, a tiny
white sand beach with calm waves below the clear blue skies. The place where my mind and my body are resting on the beach. My thoughts were far from routine, the life intertwined and the classic past and future contemplations.
After winding down at Kleine Knip, I visited Fisherman's Bay, where I swam 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 or show off their cute faces. 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 day went by so quickly. The tour began at 8 am, and suddenly the fun must end. The driver dropped me back at the resort and left me mesmerised about the day.
The hike, the swims, the turtles, the fish, beach hopping, and the flamingos were the perfect activities to
spend my day. Time moved slowly at the beginning of every journey. Conversely, it also moved a hundred times faster towards the end of my trip. I missed my flight back to Amsterdam for the first in my entire travel history only. I took the next available flight but secretly wished there were no flights were going back to NL.
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