When sailing, you always have to be prepared for unexpected events. You normally expect the unexpected events to be related to the weather or the condition of the boat (something that has broken, which needs to be fixed). It therefore becomes even more unexpected, when the unexpected event concerns your health.
When they said at the emergency room that it would take 5 days to resolve Henrik’s collapsed lung – it felt like ages… Valentine’s Day, Carnival, Easter and King’s Day later (i.e. almost 3 months), we are still here in Curacao…
We must therefore say that we have an ambivalent relation to Curacao. When you google Curacao, what you see is images of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Willemstad, beaches and turquoise waters, sun, diving and fun. Which is what you get when checking in to a resort for a much-needed two weeks’ vacation. But when you shuttle between Ella in the rich and over-secured neighborhood of Spanish Waters and St. Elisabeth Hospital, what you see is industrial and dull outskirts of the capital, the gigantic oil refinery, rusty container ships, worn-down buildings, ugly billboards along the road, McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King, and way too many cars.
Once you get outside of the Willemstad suburbs and you start looking at your surroundings from a non-illness angle while forgetting for a moment how spoiled you might be from having travelled exotic waters for some time, you too can see the beauty of this Caribbean island.
The working-class area of Otrobanda is filled with colorful houses and domino-playing Afro-Caribbeans, while the chic district of Pietermaai features great bars and restaurants under romantic light chains in delicately renovated colonial-style buildings.
In Jan Thiel Bay, you get a peek of shy flamingos and a multitude of other elegant birds, while walking along the basins, where salt was harvested in the dark period of slavery. On the opposite side of the island, some of the slaves sought refuge in the Hato Caves, which were dark and warm, but apparently providing a better life than under the regime of plantation owners. The history of slavery is very well illustrated in the Kura Hulanda museum, whose next-door hotel is a charming village in itself.
In Christoffel National Park, you see iguanas of every size and hear even more of them fleeing from the dangerous humans passing by in the dry, cactus-lined landscape, and you can even be surprised by one falling down from a tree just in front of you!
At Shete Boka, you can feel the immense power of the Caribbean Sea when turbulent water comes galloping into narrow coves producing impressive splashes.
Back on the West coast, you can indulge in small lagoons with clear turquoise water, snorkeling opportunities and refreshments on a balcony overlooking the ocean. To us Danes, the names of the most magnificent beaches, Grote Knip and Klein Knip, have some fun connotations, but they are nonetheless delightful!