Monday, March 12, 2007

The Curacao Cure - Part 1

Sean and I decided to join our friends Woody and Katy and about 15 other members of the local dive group on a trip to Curacao during the week of February 8 – 15, 2003. Flights, dive gear and boats, car rentals, and hotel were arranged for all about six months before the trip departure date. All that was left was to wait.

Finally, the date to leave was upon us. Our American Airlines nonstop flight to Miami left at 6:12 am. That meant that we had to wake up at 3 am in the morning (ouch!) to leave for the airport. Woody volunteered to drive us all there. Thank goodness for Woody. He is quite the morning person. At 6 foot 3 inches tall and the owner of the local auto body appearance shop he had the aura of someone really trustworthy. His employees jokingly nicknamed him “bigwood”. His wife, Kaitlyn, did the books at their business. He drove us there and stopped by Dunkin Donuts for coffee (and donuts). God it was painful being up that early in the morning. But, when one is going to the Caribbean, one can make some sacrifices.

We flew to Miami International without any trouble and then had to figure out how to get to our next gate. Miami was undergoing construction that year and even with helpful signage and well placed personnel (demonstrating that the airport people in Miami were aware of how complicated the airport had become), it was still humorous and complicated trying to find our gate. We were wondering if it was an intelligence test of some sort and which architect thought up this catastrophe of a non-intelligent design, non-plan. There just had to be an easier less circuitous and three dimensional way. Up this set of stairs, down that escalator, up, down all around, this way, that way, we were so confused! We used up almost all of our hour and a half layover finding our next gate and boarding our flight. That was without getting lost and keeping up a quick walking pace. Our whole group just made it and everyone was laughing at the maze we had all just navigated just in time to make our flight to Curacao.

It was a long flight South over the blue Caribbean to Curacao. The Netherlands Antilles Islands once included the A B C islands or Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao (as well as Saint Martin, Saba, and St. Eustatius) which are within about 125 kilometers of Venezuela. Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles on January 1, 1986. But the rest remain as part of the Netherlands Antilles islands. The currency is the Netherlands Antilles guilder.

As we approached Curacao from the North shore, which is the windy side of the island, we could see windmills on the ground.

The water here looked very rough and not so good for diving. At long last we landed at the Curacao Airport.

Clearing customs was a snap and it was on to ground transportation. It was like they looked at us and said, "Oh boy Americans with dollars, let them in!!!" Some of our party had rented a bus to go to the hotel and they loaded up in no time and were off on their way.

We rented a car for the four of us, but when we saw it, it was way too small for all four of us and our bags with all of our dive gear. So we told the car rental gal, and we had to wait for another car. Everything seemed to move like molasses there. You know, you get someplace and you are all pumped to get going and do stuff and all you can do is wait. I “hates” to wait. Plus it was really hot. Who was I to complain after leaving such a cold February winter that is was too hot? I picked out my spot in the shade and tried to be patient. Katy came by and stood near me. We had never traveled together before and had yet to bond. But so far so good. I liked her. She had pretty flaxen hair and big blue eyes. She was a big gal, unlike me, buxom and tall. I loved to make her smile; her smile was child like and innocent.

After what seemed like a long time, a native man with our new car came. We let Woody and Sean load the car and tie the luggage into the open trunk and then we squeezed into what space was left. I think I was sitting on Sean’s lap. We drove to our hotel, Habitat Curacao, and checked in. We had Lanai rooms. Woody parked the car as close to the rooms as he could so that unloading would be easy.

Here is what our hotel looked like:

The verandah where we ate all of our meals

The lobby with wireless internet

The infinity pool we never swam in

We stayed in these Lanai Suites

This is what our room looked like

These are more expensive suites we didn't stay in

The hotel's boat dock - we snorkeled off here many times

One of the hotel's dive boats with tanks ready to go

When we got to down the beach, the parrot fish were swimming right up onto the beach to feed. You didn’t even need to go into the water to see them. Just look down and there they were! Later, we all went snorkeling just to see what the water was like. It was fucking beautiful!!! I opened my eyes and I was in heaven!


about a boy said...

oh. my. god. beautiful. im going to have to post my st john photos.

Sue said...

Please do! I have never been there!

Peter said...

I'm already envious and have not seen any fish yet. I'm not really a beach person, people always try to push me back in the water... thinking a whale has been washed up on the beach. Hahahahaha!

Doug said...

Your trip looks friggin' awesome! If I were in that maze by myself, I'd be panicking.

You know, I'd rather go snorkeling than go outer space. It's cool having fish in an aquarium, but to be in their world would be something else.

Sue said...

Peter - You are envious with good reason. It was a beautiful trip!

Doug - That is why it is so cool that you are learning to swim. Next thing you know, you will be snorkeling!!!