Country No. 93: Curaçao

Trip Start Feb 22, 2007
Trip End Sep 12, 2007

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Flag of Netherlands Antilles  ,
Thursday, March 15, 2007

Again, I did not wake up until past 11am, damn!

Fortunately, I did not arrange any shore excursion today (unlike yesterday in Aruba, I arranged two in a row). Since I also did not plan to wander too far from the port area (still not a beach person), I will spend most of today in its capital town, Willemstad.

Curaçao is the largest island in the Dutch ABC islands. With 170,000 residents, it is also the most populous island in Nethelands Antilles. Interestingly, it seems just not as famous as Aruba. Though a smaller island, you hear about Aruba much more frequently than Curaçao.

Compared to Aruba's Oranjestad, Willemstad resembles the Netherlands even more (except for, of course, its sunny weather). There are canals and drawbridges. There is even a floating market on one of the canals. St Anne's Bay divides Willemstad's new town from Old Town. A floating bridge, called Emma Bridge, connects both parts. When a ship sails in or out of the Bay, this bridge just moves to let it pass. All the buildings on the waterfront are painted in the beautiful pastel colors that it somewhat looks psychodelic.

Reading some travel guides, there seems to be more interesting museums and historic buildings on this island. They even have a synogogue/Jewish Museum! I went to the Maritime Museum, on the other side of the canal and in a quiet residential neighborhood. Though the museum is small, it is well organized and informative. It describes how Curaçao was discovered and colonized, and how it functioned in both World Wars. There are also description of how the floating Emma Bridge was built and its miniature model. I was surprised in my 1 hour there, there may be only two other visitors in the whole museum. They do need some better advertisement (or even build a new drawbridge just connecting this neighborhood to the Old Town).

I was then wandering around the Old Town, looking at all these cute little buildings. From the coastline outisde of the town center, I found most of the beaches seems all rocky, but not sandy. Maybe that is the reason why it is not as popular as Aruba.

The old fortress lies just between the ship terminal and the town square (right next to Emma Bridge in the new part of town). When I walked past the fortress to get back to our ship, there was a dance party going on. With DJ spinning, it is actually a special party Curaçao threw for us, the passengers from the RCCL. It is great they roll out the red carpet, just to welcome us.

I would say Curaçao is my favorite island in this whole trip. It feels more historic. Though those pastel colors make its buildings feel a little fake. The 170,000 residents are populous enough to make it more like a real fully functioning country, instead just an island resort. However, again, I am not sure if I will just come all the way back just visit this island. Of course, I wouldn't mind if my next cruise makes Curaçao a port of call again.

So that is it. After St. Kitts, Aruba, and Curaçao, I now add another three countries to my resume. I won't visit Country No. 94 until I reach Africa later next month.

The entertaiment on board tonight is not as interesting. The main performers is a magician duo, not something to hold my interest. I only entered to watch it at the end of the show, so I had only glimps of the final 10 minutes. And the two magicians look like Yannis and Fabio. That sort of adds to its cheesy factors...

There is another dance party tonight, starting at 11 pm. In the party everbody should dress in white....sound a little scary. But tomorrow is another whole day at sea, so everybody can party until very late tonight. Very, very late, I meant....

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