Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Amsterdam on the beach, Holland in the Tropics!

Yesterday I had lunch with a friend. She told me she and her husband were going to Las Vegas. Bells sounded in my head! It is so hot there now; but, no she said, it would be around 80 degrees and the breeze will be cool. Immediately I could picture it: cacti, dry shrubs, brownish soil, gentle breeze, blue sky. I told her this was just like Curaçao! Is it?...... YES!

That is one of the great things about the island. Located near the Equator and in the Caribbean Sea, the ABC islands, of which Curaçao is the "C", are unique. There are no sources of fresh water: no rivers, lakes or streams not even big rainfall. The landscape is arid and and cacti are the most abundant flora. Reptiles are also everywhere. The persistence of the people have been rewarded: mangoes, bitter oranges, tamarinds among other big trees have taken hold. When it rains, everything turns green and it's beautiful; when it doesn't, it is brownish and still beautiful.

Temperatures average in the 80s and a cool breeze blows all year round from the NE. Most days the sky is an amazing shade of blue and there are no clouds. The sea is a span of clear, turquoise to deep blue waters and you can walk and walk into it and still see the bottom! Sunsets are magnificent and every beach and cove faces SW. Nature biggest show is right there, and no one should miss it. The city, Willemstad, is part of the UN World Heritage and is a picture perfect copy of Dutch buildings...... in every color!

Everyone speaks English and Spanish and the local language: Papiamentu. This is a mixture of old Spanish, Portuguese, African dialects, English and Dutch and is as wonderfully diverse as the people who inhabit the island. Dutch, though, is the official language, and the country is still part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The influence of these adventurous people lives on in this corner of the world. Curaçao is not your average Caribbean island: this is Amsterdam on the beach, Holland in the Tropics! Fabulous!!!!

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