Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Vacation Log…. Day 1

Rose at 2 am and had a quick coffee and bite with Marilyn before she drove me to the airport. Security was long and tedious. I can’t tell you how many times my passport was scanned and I was checked. I lost count. I had my letter in hand but I didn’t set off any alarms! Thank God. I forewarned them that this might happen and showed them the letter explaining my medical test on Friday.

I arrived in Miami and thank goodness I didn’t have to go through security again. I was in a secure area. The only wrinkle was that the plane we were to take had a problem. When you see the crew getting off the plane you know it isn’t good. I would rather be safe than kiss the Caribbean Sea and be bait for the sharks. Someone had a brain wave to get us a different plane rather than wait 2 more hours for them to replace a part and fix the one plane we were supposed to fly in. We all took the train and found the platform and gate we needed to be at next. I just followed the crowd and made small talk so I could identify with other passengers in case I got lost.

Funny enough when I went to get on the bigger plane, they wouldn’t allow my carry on. That was a dilemma. I didn’t chance my lap top in my suitcase so I had to check my carry on with all my meds and the extra wallet with money in it which I forgot about until afterwards. Now I was really stewing. At least the suitcase was locked. Then I worried that my luggage wouldn’t arrive with me now that the plane was changed. (That’s happened to me before.)

The next leg of my trip was uneventful other than a few bumps with turbulence here and there. Cruising at an altitude of 37,000 feet and an outside temperature of -50, it is hard to imagine life below as you sail through the heavens.

We were two hours late arriving in Curacao and I was anxious about my meds and money in my carry on. As we were deplaning and heading down the escalator to immigration, a fist fight broke out in front of me. These two big boys were going at each other right on the escalator. One security guard arrived and tried to quell the fight. I was ready to back peddle on the escalator as I didn’t want to end up right in the middle of the skirmish. By the time the escalator reached its location, I took a wide berth of the guys duking it out. One lone security officer was left to handle the situation. I can sympathize with him being a former security guard myself for a brief stint. Welcome to Curacao!

After breezing through immigration, I found my luggage and immediately retrieved it. Luckily my ride to the hotel was still waiting for me holding a sign with my name on it. Hurray!

After a shower to wash away the day’s travel I sat down to a glass of Merlot and a rib eye steak. It satisfied my hunger after only eating mini pretzels that the airline gave out and a ham sandwich costing $15 U.S., oh yes and Marilyn’s toast.

It is gloriously warm with an ocean breeze making that 84 degrees’ wind chill quite comfortable. It is a desert like Island but the water is so blue. I can see why so many of the travelers were divers and snorkelers. Not me. I’ll stay by the safe pool with no sea monster.

In closing, I think medals should be handed out to airline travelers for what they have to go through today. This will be my last attempt at flying anywhere again. I’m just not cut out for all the rushing, technology driven way of doing things and the horrendous crowds and lineups. It’s for a younger generation I’m afraid. That being said, there were some very kind people who helped me through the process today, mostly fellow passengers who endure this year after year.

Vacation Log - Day Two

I arose about 8 am and prepared myself with facial sunscreen before heading off for breakfast. The place was empty of guests so I had my pick of tables and left over scraps from the buffet at my choosing. I had a long chat with the server and she showed me where to shop and about the floating bridge. After finding a shopkeeper who spoke English, he pointed in the direction of a pharmacy so I could purchase my Deep Woods Off and 50+ sunblock. I also grabbed a bottle of water which was a godsend in the heat. I was prepared for a little walk about. 

I wish I knew Spanish or Dutch but most understand English and are fluent. I can’t even detect an accent of any kind which is unusual. Off I went to check out the main shopping district after crossing the floating bridge. I felt like I was tipsy making my way across it to the other side. I watched the waves crash against the seawall on my journey over this unsteady walkway. I paced myself as I knew I wasn’t use to the heat although it didn’t feel that bad with the strong gusts of ocean breeze.

I stopped for lunch by the canal and had my ‘once a year’ beer. They had small bottles there so it was perfect. Not feeling well, I don’t need anymore prompt to being woozy. I made sure I walked off the little bottle before tackling the floating bridge again on my way back.

I had a sandwich and noticed the pigeons walking about looking for crumbs. A few were missing their toes and walking only on their knuckles. Being a bird lover I took pity on them as they cocked their head in recognition of my noticing. Quietly I slipped small pieces of my bread under the table trying to be discrete. One by one the birds came until I had about 8 tickling my toes with their tiny feet running across my sandals. I think a few other guests noticed something or perhaps thought I was a bird whisperer.

notice his left foot missing toes
I made my way back across the bridge feeling a bit melancholy after passing by the jewelry shops which seemed to trigger thoughts of my recent theft. After a quick visit to a local museum, I retreated to my air conditioned room and showered off the bug spray and sunscreen before taking a nap.

As late afternoon approached, I decided to trek over that floating bridge again and look for a restaurant. I found one tucked away off the main drag and settled down to a hamburger and salad. I asked if they sold a wine cooler. The poor guy literally picked out a wine cooler but not the drinking type. He went on to say it was not for sale. I giggled and explained it was the drink I was after. The owner produced a bottle of sparkling wine cooler and poured me a glass.

The meal was actually delicious and better than the $50 meal I had last night. Once again a little bird perched himself on the armchair beside me and I couldn't resist feeding it. The sparrow like bird eventually took it from my hand. So I shared my dinner with another feathered friend while missing my own at home.

By six o'clock the sidewalks roll up and as I learned so does the floating bridge! I approached some Dutch tourists and asked if they knew how to get across the channel without having to swim it? They pointed to a ferry down the way that would taxi me over. I caught the ferry in time and made my way back to my lodging. The evening is lovely and that ocean breeze heavenly as I sit by the pool typing this post. Despite all the Deep Woods Off I'm wearing I'm still getting bit. I hope I don't acquire that Zica? virus. It's dark now and only 7 pm.

Vacation Log - Day 3

This morning I sauntered down the long winding hill that spills out onto the main thoroughfare. I had spied a canal site restaurant last night so I decided to try breakfast there. The winds were gusty so I took my napkin and tucked it away in my purse along with my array of pills. Afterwards I decided to walk the floating bridge again but this time taking a different route once I had crossed over.

I timidly explored another section following the seawall for a while. As long as I could see other tourists I felt I was OK. This new avenue brought me to municipal buildings and the police station. Along the way I snapped a few photos and took some video. Down some other unexplored streets I found another eatery that I will try tonight. Ribs are on the menu there.

It is a cloudy day here with the occasional show of sun. You really must hydrate yourself in this climate so I picked up a soft drink to take back to my room. A can of Coke is $2 U.S. Everything on the island is expensive as everything must be imported. I'm quickly chewing through my meager funds. No lunch today but I did score an orange and banana from the 'all you can eat' buffet this morning.

I took note of my path so I could find the rib shack tonight. Soon I was among familiar shops and streets with the floating bridge straight ahead.

view from just outside my room last night
Like a drunken sailor I stepped onto the shifting floor of the bridge. You don't have to feel alone with your tipsiness. Not everyone has developed the balance of sea legs. Some people stagger more than others while some hang on to the rail for support. It is mostly a gentle pulse of the sea that rolls along but once in a while the strong winds whip up the water and that soft rock becomes a galloping horse.

my breakfast view with the floating bridge in the background

One of numerous statues throughout the city.

After my early morning stroll, I went for my massage. It was a hot stone massage but unlike at home, this tiny girl was not so gentle as she tried to release my very tight muscles. It was more of a therapy massage than a relaxing one. It hurt!

I decided to grab a salad as I was feeling a bit light headed after the massage. I stopped off on my way back to my room at the onsite cafe. I must say it was the saddest salad I have every had and it was just salad - no chicken or anything. It looked and tasted like yesterday's castoff. The lettuce was limp with the edges trimmed in brown and soggy. Only the croutons were half way decent. I guess we Canadians are way too polite to complain. I ate it despite the fact I wouldn't feed it to my dogs. Here is a photo of the lame salad. You tell me.

After that sorry excuse for a salad, I decided to wade into the pool. I have the entire place to myself. Thank God! I forgot that even though the girl had toweled off some of the oils, my feet were still slippery. I hung onto the railing as I descended into the pool. When I reached shoulder height I briefly let go of the railing only to slip and get dunked. I'm sure it was a scene out of a Peter Seller's movie. I gathered my composure and looked around to see if there was any maintenance people looking on. Luckily nobody saw my splash! They would have been roaring with laughter I'm sure. After that I watched each footstep as I walked to the shower-off tap. The stone is very slippery when you have the remnants of oil on the soles of your feet. That was the end of my dip in the pool.

I decided to take a nap as I wasn't feeling well. Maybe it was that salad or the heat or both. I retired to my air conditioned room for a spell.

Off I went in search of that place advertising ribs. My dad would have been proud as I'm finally getting my sea legs and can walk that floating bridge without a stagger now. I repeated my travel noting the landmarks I had filed in my head earlier. I walked aimlessly around trying to find the place. I came upon what I thought it was only to see the signs retrieved and the place deserted. I didn't want to get caught again with no bridge to walk across like last night. Just as I arrived I could hear the warning bells going. A tug was making its way out to the port and the bridge had been moved. Luckily they brought the bridge back so I could once again stroll across its wide deck with purpose and stability.

I traveled another section I had gone before. Not too far off were I had breakfast. It was an old place tucked away at the bottom of a hill. As I walked up the steps and into the bar area, I was transformed into another time and space. This was more like it!

I was an hour early for dinner but the staff were gracious and prepared my meal ahead of time. I had told the waitress that I was looking for a better place to eat than my lodging provided. I lucked out with this one. Thank heavens I didn't purchase the 'all inclusive' package with meals. After the salad this afternoon and two other thrown together meals, I'm glad I could make my own choice of where to dine.

It was so nice to to relax to soft music floating on a sea breeze and the warmth of sunshine to heal my aching bones. No arthritis meds since I've been here so there is magic in the sun, sea and air.

Here are a few pictures of my dining tonight. It was as scrumptious as it looks. Scalloped potatoes baked to perfection and the presentation of the main course of beef tenderloin and it's dreamy sauce and vegetables was delightful. They presented me with my dinner 15 minutes ahead of dinner time to boot!

I think I must have looked Dutch. She talked fluently to me as though I was Dutch. I smiled and responded back in English. She immediately switched language with that Dutch flavour to its tone. It is a somewhat confusing island with dialects of Dutch, English, Spanish and a mix of all three to have its own language. Surprisingly, not everyone speaks English. I hear more Spanish than anything.

Tomorrow I'm off to a beach on the other side of the island for the day. I will be collected from the hotel at 9:30 a.m. I decided to stay indoors this evening as no amount of deet will deter these mosquitoes. I have so many bites. I think they are immune to Deep Woods Off.

My dining room tonight.

Hot roles with creamy garlic butter and spices to start.

The main course.
  Vacation Log - Day 4

I had a leisurely breakfast before catching the shuttle to the sister resort on the other side of the island where I could spend time on the beach for the day. With all the winding turns and ring roads, it would make anyone who suffers from car sickness feel really bad. I was a bit queasy by the time we arrived but the feeling soon lifted once things stopped moving about.

This by far was my best day. I'm no city girl. This was more to my liking. Few people and wildlife abounding. I was in heaven with my feathers.

I've never seen so many unusual birds. A flock of small wild green parrots squawked their way by. I recognized that sound immediately. There is no mistaking parrot calls. I felt I was back with my birds and thinking of Num Nums who is about the same size of these. There were so many of the Island's national bird the Trupial. Their vivid yellow, black and white feathers were striking. There was one little songbird I did recognize and one which I once owned. It was the brilliant yellow Saffron Finch. Then there were the 'Sugar' birds and small doves, beautiful sparrows as well as a Wren version of some species. (I must look them up so I can identify them properly.) The best part was that they all joined me for lunch. Just me and the birds - no one else. I did manage to take a short video of the crazy Canuck talking to the birds and inviting them to feast with me, which they all did. Timid at first, they eventually came to me and ate some of my lunch.

I made my way to the beach and found a nice hut to hide from the sun. I read my book and then let the ocean wash over my feet and ankles. That was it. I had watched the drivers and snorkelers struggle to keep their balance just wading in so I wasn't about to embarrass myself like yesterday by slipping and falling when a big wave would rush the shore. I'm terrified of the pull of the sea and respect its power. I'm quite content to be a land lover. My father on the other hand loved the sea and anything to do with water in general. I never inherited his love of water. But then again he never could be comfortable around horses. Touche.

The Island is lizard land and at this location I have never seen so many. Iguana's rule here and this location was loaded. I'm not a lizard fan so I was cautious of these mini Komodo Dragon looking creatures. They are harmless but ugly. One approached my lounge chair. It shook its head up and down, so I did the same. I'm not sure what the message was, but maybe it was its way of saying hello. At any rate it passed me by and went on its way.

As I walked the grounds checking out the blooming bushes that must require a good amount of water to survive in the cactus barren lands, I noticed hundreds of smaller lizards running to nowhere in particular. They scurried about as I walked by. Then the occasional Iguana would cross my path. They might seem slow, but if frightened, they can really scamper!

I arrived back at the lobby waiting for my 3 pm ride back to 'civilization.' The vehicle had experienced a flat tire on route so it was an hour late picking myself and another passenger up. Some of the staff hitched a ride back to their towns. I had been offered a coffee and surprisingly enough an attendant passed me a cup and saucer while I was seated in the van. "Oh dear." I thought to myself. I'm not good at holding things, never mind being in a moving vehicle on windy roads. The ladies were chuckling and told our female driver to take it easy on the bumps since I had a hot cup of coffee that I was precariously balancing in one hand. I told everyone to stay clear of me as I held the cup and saucer out to the side. Our speedy driver slowed longer enough for me to more or less empty the cup of its contents. Then it was full speed ahead. I must say, it is unusual to find a woman driver these days that can handle a stick shift with ease. As the palm trees whizzed by, I hung onto the handle. They don't seem to use seat belts here.

I arrived at my destination and retreated to my air conditioned room for a bit. Tonight I laid plans to go back to the same restaurant I frequented last night. I was not disappointed. As darkness quickly swallowed up the light of day, I walked with purpose down the narrow dark streets back to my lodging. With key in hand I entered and locked the door behind me. Tomorrow I pack and head home. I'm hoping smooth sailing this time but who knows.

Here are some pictures from today.

Looking down from the "enter at your own risk" location.