Saturday, July 31, 2010

Wearing Oranje......

Back from Paradise! Yes, the trip was wonderful and almost everything I expected. Went to the beach, watched the sunsets, went to new restaurants and to old favorites, had drinks on Thursdays, played bridge on Wednesdays, cuddled the new baby, visited my oldest friend (she is 91!), had lunch, dinner, breakfast with friends, talked and talked and listened to all the redo (gossip) !!! It was I expected. One BUT, though. I had to see the dentist and that part is never pleasant. Still, he is very good and things were alright, now I need to go back at some point to finish the treatment. Couldn't be better!

You must be wondering why the tittle of this post. Well, the Dutch have descended on the island as I never expected. There is a veritable invasion....retirees, young couples with children, young single professionals, tourists, investors. Construction sites are everywhere, new hotels, restaurants, businesses. Dutch is heard everywhere and you can see signs of this continuing in the near future. It is the future.....

In many ways, with the new deal the island is getting from the Kingdom, is to be expected. As of October 10, 2010, Curaçao will enter into a new partnership with Holland. Not a minute too soon according to some, absolutely not the thing to do according to others. Either way, it is inevitable since the people has spoken in two referendums and it is a fait-accompli. As in every time a major change comes along, there are divisions, but in general, I think people are pleased with this change. It will work out well for the island in general. The world is evolving into a village, countries are intertwined. The state of the global economy is in shambles, unity in the face of collapse is the order of the day. Smaller nations cannot survive easily and need all the help they can get, so let's be positive about this change.

The influx of Dutch citizens have brought money and prosperity. The fact that tourism has become a vital part of the economy (it was not always the case) has changed the atmosphere of the island. It used to be more laid-back and relaxed, more sleepy-town than tourist haven, more familiar and friendly than hectic and......friendly! That is the part that has not changed much. You still feel like everyone knows you and everyone is truly interested in your answer when they ask: kon ta ku bo? (how are you?). And really mean it when they wish you Bon Siman (good week!) every Monday.

Another thing that never lets me down: the sheer beauty of this small piece of rock laying like a jewel in the Caribbean's Windward Islands. It has been raining, so the approach by plane offers a green mantle covering most of the island. Christoffelberg is lush and beautiful, resplendent in the sun. The rough North Coast is full of life with high waves and necklaces of foam, the South Coast is ringed with small coves and bays of the most amazing shades of blue. The city and small towns are alive with cars and homes and roads. This beauty can't never disappoint! So even if the island is wearing Oranje......this is still Paradise!!!! and I can understand why the Dutch are flocking to it....

Monday, July 12, 2010

The World Cup and other exciting things....

After a month of excitement, the World Cup is over. It ended today in a sad note for us: Dutch by birth or by choice. The team played so well, didn't loose a game, scored when it was needed and even ousted the ever-favorite of the world: Brazil! It gave us hope of having the Cup travel back to the Netherlands.....wishful thinking! FIFA, to begin with, had other plans...I am sure.

Let's see, Brazil, the world's favorite, and Spain, the European champions were put on a collision course....they were to be the final teams standing. The Dutch sort of derailed this......Oh, no!! Not well received, I'm sure, but accepted. Today, Spain faced up against them and...won. Don't like to sound like a complainer, but really...the referee was a total nincompoop. He gave yellow cards up and down, mostly to the Dutch, he ignored things, failed to give corners...what to do? I don't want to think about it today. One thing is sure, this was the third time the Dutch went to the finals, losing every time.. Things come in three, maybe the obstacle is gone....who knows.

On Tuesday, I am going to Curaç looking forward to this trip. I will visit, go to the beach, enjoy my friends, hear the latest gossip, have a ball. Everything has been planned and friends have been informed. Know who, when and why. Definitely, time to relax, recharge my batteries and get back to Miami refreshed!!!! The World Cup will be a distant event by then, other things would have taken its place.....can't wait!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July: the Real Summer Month

Have you noticed that? I don't know what it is, but July says Summer like no other month. I remember when we lived in Curaçao and this was the month everyone that could......went on holiday!!! Curaçaoans are great travelers...and because they live on an island, they have to! Anyway, back to July.... people take vacations at this time of the year, schools are out and life on the island comes to a standstill. Never saw anything like it!

In Miami, July is a very hot month. The days are humid and somnolent, slow and oppressive. IYou have to do things in the morning before the heat of the day really hits. In Curaçao is hot too, but dry. A different kind of Summer altogether. Still, July is the month that says Summer out loud on the island.

It starts on a similar note: there, July 2nd is Flag Day (Dia di Bandera) which means this weekend is one big celebration. With Holland playing Brazil on Friday.......everyone is on a party mood! Here is 4th of July Weekend, celebrations will abound and people will take the time to see friends and family, enjoy the outdoors and the fireworks.

In both places, the rest of the month there will be beach days, picnics, bar-b-cues, long days melting into nights. Everyone that stayed home, didn't go on holiday, would make the best of this time. This when people get inventive and where things are different. In Miami, it seems that staying indoors most of the time is a must. Trips to the movies and the malls would be expected. There will be Summer Camps and Day Camps. That not withstanding, life in the big city stays basically the same: no allowances made because is Summer.

In Curaçao, everything seems to come to an end. There is a sense of suspended animation, when everything just stops. I don't mean children's activities...I mean everything!!! Clubs suspend meetings, nobody plays bridge, certain businesses close and others have Summer hours, people leave work earlier, going out for a drink becomes a must, it is absolutely wonderful!!! I miss that.....but I am trying to enjoy this too.

The view from our balcony is great, the afternoons and early evenings are not too hot up here, so you can sit outside. There are trips to the library and books to read, lazy days by the pool and delicious fruits to eat. Yes, you can definitely enjoy this too.