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Published: April 2nd 2017
Christmas decorations gave the airport a welcoming air.
CURACAO – NEW YEAR’S EVE
No Room at the Inn
Finding a hotel in Curacao proved difficult. I hadn’t wanted to travel on New Year’s Eve but that was the flight that was available. Time after time the hotels where I tried to book a room responded with the message, “no vacancies” for the dates I requested. Finally I left a request for a reservation and the hotel responded saying I would receive an email within twenty four hours. I crossed my fingers and boarded my plane.
Disembarking in Curacao I immediately went to email. My reservation had been declined. It was already 5:30 p.m. and I searched and searched hotels, finally turning to Airbnb. There it was. A room. With taxi service from the airport. I talked to the proprietor and he warned me that it was doubtful that this would be the place for me since it was far from the town and there was no public transportation to get around. I just wanted a place to sleep, escape the fireworks already heard in the distance (fireworks frighten me), and rest for a day or two.
I stacked my luggage and went looking
CITY CHRISTMAS DISPLAY
I took many photos of this enormous display, but I didn't know how to eliminate the reflections from the multitudes of lights.
for a taxi. Outside was a tall woman who asked me where I was going, then signaled a taxi driver. As I turned to leave she came over to me and gave me a huge hug. It was so unexpected…and just what I needed.
The taxi driver drove to the address. The hotel was above a mattress factory and there appeared to be no one there. I told him I would be all right but he wouldn’t let me get out of the cab until he called the manager who said he would be there in two minutes. He was as good as his word. I told Samil I was short five dollars for the taxi and he paid the taxi driver.
We lugged my suitcases up the stairs and Samil located my room. It was very nice, with a compact kitchen, bathroom and huge entertainment center. Samil asked me what I planned to do about dinner and I asked him if there was any fast food near. He said he would be glad to drive me to the closest one. On the way we came upon a market and he asked if I wanted to get some
Our first dive was on this ship with the unusual name.
staples. I was elated. While I was inside shopping he called around and discovered that everything was closed for the evening’s festivities. Samil knew the owner of the closed restaurant next door and he ordered a meal to be delivered to my room.
I was relieved to close the door to my room and collapse on the bed. A bit later there was a knock on the door. My meal had arrived. It was a typical Curacao mix of food, chicken, rice and veggies topped with French fries and salad. During my stay in Curacao I saw several people take their food and stir it all together and dig in. I could not get used to that. I separated the food as best I could and saved some to eat the next day.
The night was filled with firecrackers and explosions. I could see some fireworks from my window, but not easily. The next day I looked around and discovered the hotel had a small common room, but it was busy with children. I could sit on the steps out front, but the area was a residential one and I felt conspicuous. The sun was bright. There was
NOW AN ARTIFICIAL REEF
The ship is now a habitat for sea life. It can only be dived when there are no cruise ships moored nearby.
no shade. Also the computer worked only in my room. I returned to my room and spent the rest of the day searching for another hotel. I found one near old town and the beach, The Ritz Village Hotel. It looked very nice and I booked on-line. Then I emailed my host and told him I would need a taxi the next morning at 10 a.m.
At 8:30 a.m. I discovered I didn’t know how to start the stove. A neighbor came in and started it for me, but when I tried to adjust the flame it went out. Finally I found my glasses and found the automatic striker and started cooking. My meal was not ready by the time Samil arrived and I asked for another half hour. He disappeared.
The big problem with this hotel was the front desk was unmanned. And there was no way to contact management except by email, since my phone is not connected when I travel. It is so expensive. I sat around for two hours in the lobby. Finally a young woman home for the holidays contacted her boyfriend who agreed to drive me to the new hotel. It was
EERIE LIGHT AND SHADOW
Doors and windows make interesting photo compostions.
more than thirty minutes away and the ride cost me almost $40. But at last I was ensconced in my new room. It was poolside and had a kitchenette, a nice big bathroom, and the front desk was always manned.
I searched on-line and found a scuba diving advertisement for Scubacao. I reserved a spot for the next morning. The shop would send a car for me. The front desk suggested a restaurant for dinner within walking distance. I walked to the restaurant, surrounded on three sides by water and found it closed. It was a beautiful location, and I silently promised I would treat myself to dinner there at another time. However, the town was still all lit up for Christmas and I enjoyed the walk and all the lights. I crossed a foot bridge and finally found a local restaurant and ordered my fallback meal of chicken and fries. It was very good, and very inexpensive.
The driver was right on time the next morning. We picked up two more people, a couple on their honeymoon. Then we drove to the beach. The first shore dive was on a wreck called "The Superior Production". We carefully
Several large barracudas are among the ship's resident fish population.
walked across slippery stones to the water and swam toward a large container ship, then turned and swam several hundred feet to the right before submerging. It turns out Vera's husband had ear problems on descent, surfaced, and went back to the truck. The dive master stuck with the Vera. The current was so strong I swam to the wreck and hunkered down behind the pilot house which offered some protection. I am not very interested in wrecks and just wanted to do a little close up (macro) photography. I didn’t feel like struggling against the current to see the bow or the stern. Once the others had finished their tour of the wreck they returned for me and we swam back to shore.
During our surface interval we went to a café and ordered lunch. The food was fresh and very good and we had fun chatting about diving. Our dive master, Nigel was from Holland. He took his portion of the meal and stirred it together, the Curacao way, and ate with gusto.
The second dive was the local reef and it was interesting. I was still struggling to make sense of my new camera. After
The second dive was on the reef in front of the restaurant.
the dive I was deposited back at my hotel. Soon after I began to feel unwell. I had booked another dive through my new hotel and I went to the desk and cancelled it, saying I was quite sick. This hotel was very concerned and checked on me several times that night and the next day. I spent that day sitting by the pool relaxing on a large, soft, pillowed chaise longue watching people and reading my Kindle. By day three I felt able to dive again.
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