All over the map

Yesterday, after spending the morning under a palapa with the local chameleons as my coworkers, I decided to explore and go towards the beach. When I first planned to take this trip, I thought I could completely disconnect and just have a week to myself. It turns out it is not that way right now because of all of the stuff going on at work, which only seems to keep escalating. Every time it looks like there is progress, there’s another weirdo situation that comes up. While I am generally good at managing things, these situations are completely beyond my control and yet I am somehow still expected to have predicted, understood and prepared a recovery plan for them. Hence having chameleons as coworkers instead of just spending the morning chilling out under the palapa hut.

In the afternoon, after the Netherlands had signed off for the day, I went over to Jan Thiel beach. I enjoyed a double espresso in the shade and thought about what I wanted to do with the afternoon. I wasn’t especially motivated to do alot but I needed to collect steps for my FitBit so off it was for a long walk down the beach and into the water. The water is about 80 degrees. I spent a good couple of hours there, hiding under various bits of shade where I could find it. Even on a partly cloudy day like yesterday, the sun is really intense and apparently I am also attracting alot of insect bites. On the way back, I stopped at one of the beach tents and had a very good Mojito. Far better than the ones they make in Amsterdam. I only had one though otherwise I would have probably stayed all night. The beaches have parties that literally go on to dawn here. Especially on the weekends.

I wasn’t really in the mood for that. One of the downsides of travelling alone is that if you actually want to talk to someone or share an experience you have to approach a stranger. I noticed yesterday that I didn’t see anyone else flying solo. Usually this doesn’t bother me. This trip it kind of does. Probably because everyone here seems to be in groups. I noticed it again today when I was exploring Willemstad. If you do see a onesie, it is a man of a certain age – definitely not my target demographic!

I left early this morning for Willemstad, figuring I would get a jump on the heat. Silly really because it is pretty much the same temperature all day long. I explored the floating market, which is where all the Venezuelan merchants tie up their boats and sell their produce. I got an avocado as big a cantaloupe. No lie. I think I could make guacamole for six with it. From there across the floating pontoon bridge to the other side, Otrabanda to explore the less white side of Willemstad. Here is also where the museum of slavery was. Which I went to.

It was a tough museum. Curacao was originally a way station where slaves were brought to be tamed before being brought over to South America or to the US. The Dutch and the Portugese were the biggest traffickers in these parts in the Triangle trade. They had so many artifacts and even a display of the slave deck that you could go into. It was chilling and horrifying. I used to think that the slave market in Natchez, Mississippi was the most chilling place I had ever been but today’s exhibit was even worse. The justifications that people use to qualify their actions, trying to make them logical, are not to be believed. I expect to carry the weight of those exhibits with me for a while.

I spent the rest of the time walking around and trying to think about other things. This is probably why I stopped on a terrace and had two glasses of wine while listening to a live band. I realized that I wasn’t going to get my sightseeing groove back and decided to return to my bungalow.

Tomorrow I am going over to Kleine Curacao with a boat for a day of snorkeling around an uninhabited island. I will be surrounding by people so I am sure by tomorrow afternoon, I will be okay again with travelling on my own 😉 It is not smart to snorkel alone in the ocean which is another reason that it would be useful to travel with someone else next time.

On a lighter note today, I discovered that Curacao doesn’t have a female population with big feet. I thought I might be in luck and be able to find some shoes in size 43 but everywhere I looked, I got a very sympathetic “Sorry, madame, those are just too large”. I had fun looking at all the brightly colored clothes. It seems like there is no such thing as a fashion disaster here, all colors can be mixed with all kinds of styles. I did give in to the urge and spent $7 for a dress. I was tempted to go for this wildly lurid orange and green one – and I do mean tempted. Instead, I settled for a dusty blue that reminds me of the sky before it gets really dark. For $7, I imagine it is not going to last long enough to be handed down to my descendants but it’s fine for vacation. Covers the important parts and packs flat in your luggage.

The roosters at the farm across the way start announcing themselves to the world at around 430am. I hope they remember to do this tomorrow since I need to be at the dock by 630. Just in case, I will set my alarm. I think I managed not to get sunburned today, which was also a plus. Tomorrow, I expect that to be an uphill battle – despite my best intentions.

I am sorry that I couldn’t find my waterproof camera or my sarong before I left home. They are somewhere in a box due to the move and there was no finding them. I guess I will have to be content with keeping the pictures in my head. Which is a shame. I won’t be able to use it for the dolphin snorkel on Tuesday but I could have used it tomorrow 😦 Oh, yes, I just booked myself in for Tuesday morning snorkeling with the dolphins. I probably won’t be returning here for a while so I am going to make the most of it in terms of experiences.

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