Sunday, April 03, 2011

Curacao What an interesting day to be on Curacao! They were having an international street painting festival called Colors of Willemstad. They had some, apparently, well known street painting artists from all over the world creating works of art on the sidewalks and, in celebration, hundreds of school children were also creating street art with chalks. They had booths and music including a dance demonstration where the most popular dances featured were said to be from the US, specifically California. It was what I would call “urban” right down to the gangster style clothing. I guess that on Curacao that’s what they think “California style” is??? Dunno.

Anyway, we had tentatively planned to do a tour but decided we were tired and would skip it. We also had been told that Curacao was very walkable so we grabbed a walking tour map and headed off. Curacao is very pretty port and probably best known for its pastel colored buildings. They used to all be white but we were told there was a governor (??) in the 1970s (??) who said that all the bright white buildings gave him migraines (??). To solve this problem he ordered all buildings to be painted in pastels. Mmmm, ok. Bobby and I giggled while considering how well such a mandate would go over here in the US. Anyway, it does make for an attractive seaside view. Restaurants line the waterway. It’s odd, and sad, to think that just a few hundred years ago slave sales were conducted in the exact spot where people now sit and sip coffees and have lunch.

Besides the pastel buildings, Curacao is famous for its pontoon bridge (the Swinging Old Lady) and the floating market. We also spent some time walking through the Central Market –a big round building where locals purchase everything from shampoo to pig snouts. We stopped at McDonalds and got a coke. I love to go to McD’s while on vacation to see if they have any unusual offerings. In the case of Curacao, the answer is no. Its exactly like the US. Bummer.

After walking in circles for miles, we decided to get a tour on a little car called a Tuk Tuk. Bobby wasn’t so sure but I thought it looked like great fun! G fell asleep almost immediately and remained so for the full hour. For future reference, it was a good overview and I wish we would have done it earlier in the day. The guide took us to a beautiful old Catholic church, the governor’s mansion (really just a pretty office building) and explained some of the history of the island. She said that the historically the island was used as a training ground for slaves brought from Africa to learn trades/skills which would make them more valuable to buyers.

It had been kind of a boring day for G with no beach time and lots of time just walking around looking at stuff. So when we were on our way back to the ship and saw a fountain, we decided to let G have at it and run around. OMG she was so happy!!! There were some other kids there so G played with them a bit. None of them were from the US or spoke English but to little kids, it didn’t matter one bit! To children, running playing and having fun together requires no common language.

Dinner: since it was the second formal night, G wore her sailor dress and hat. She was quite the little star and she felt really pretty. The starters sounded awesome so I had three (they’re tiny!): steak tartar, salmon gravlax, and a dish called wild mushroom vol-au-vent which was some sort of small pastry with a mushroom gravy. All 3 were really good. Because it was formal night they offered lobster mélange served with shrimp, scallop and risotto so all three of us had that. Some people on the ship complained that the lobster was tough but that wasn’t our experience at all. We all thought it was great! For dessert they had baked Alaska. The presentation was nice but I’m never been too impressed by it.

The official Curacao photo

G doing her famous pose!G loved this toucan thing

Us on the steps of the Rif Fort in Curacao
This is the front of the floating market. Lots and lots of veggies and very fresh fish. We asked our tuk tuk driver if she bought her food here and she said absolutely, yes.
This is the back of the market where you can see the boats. We were told that they come from Venezuela which is about 12 miles away and that it takes them about 12 hrs to make the trip.
Window display in the Central Market. Pig snouts anyone?
This particular building is called "the wedding cake" Many of the buildings have been beautifully restored like this.
The front of the main catholic church
The inside was beautiful
This mosaic was made of broken glass and colored sea sand. Really gorgeous up close
Here's a close up
The church even had a pipe organ
We're standing on the pontoon bridge. Its a pedestrian bridge only. When boats need to come through the whole thing swings open. Pretty cool!
No matter where I've been in the world, I always see men in the park playing games: cards, dominos, whatever. Just a little slice of life.
My beautiful girl
She insisted that I take her picture in front of this elephant... twice. Once on our walk in and again on our way back to the ship.
G loved this sculpture. The store had lots of them in all sizes from this one to some that were only 3 inches high or so. They're called chi chi dolls.
G was so happy to run in the fountain

This is the view from our balcony while in port. Isn't that one of the coolest hotel pools you've ever seen?
The food.
Steak tartar
Gravlax. Yummy!
Lobster melange
Bobby with our waiter presenting the baked alaska

My little sailor girl. The photo people actually asked us to sign a release so they could use these photos. They did come out really good imo

I absolutely love this picture! It almost looks like it would be in the cruise catalog
The way she holds her hand for the salute cracks me up!

Tomorrow, our last sea day

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