Monday, May 07, 2007

The Curacao Cure - Part 9

Click to enlarge

Willemstad, Punda

One day we decided to explore Punda on foot. We drove over the Queen Juliana Bridge, and wow, what a panoramic view from there! Actually it turns out to be one of the highest bridges in the world at 185 feet. We could see all of the colorful waterfront houses of Punda and Otrabanda, plus there was a cruise ship coming in.

There is a cute story as to why Willemstad is so colorful. The story goes that one of the early Dutch governors, under the pretext of medical advice, outlawed buildings being painted pure white, because the reflection of the sun glaring off on them was said to cause major headaches and could lead to eye inflammation or even blindness. However, after the death of this governor, they discovered that he had shares in a local paint company.

We found parking near a large round food market on Punda, otherwise known as Marsche Bieuw or the old market. Most of the food there was unfamiliar to us, so we walked around to see what was there. But we really wanted to get out to see the floating market with all of the boats just in from Argentina. They had fresh fish that was being butchered and fresh vegetables and fruit. It was unusual for us to see fish being butchered right out in view. But the fishermen were accustomed to be stared at and were very friendly.

We then found a street closed off to traffic and reserved for shoppers.

Of course you could buy the ubiquitous wooden shoes there (though we didn't).

Katy and I looked into one store that sold women’s clothes for parties. That was a hoot. There were wild spangled vests that didn’t cover much and we dared each other to buy. There sure were lots of giggles at that place.

Then there was a place that sold religious items belonging to Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Santeria, Voodoo, and Hindu faiths. They certainly had almost all the bases covered. The owner was Hindu and burned incense in the shop. There were many statues of saints and gods plus candles with pictures of saints and gods. It was also kind of a magic shop, but you have to expect that in a tourist area.

We left there and found the boys and sauntered back to the waterfront to look at the Queen Emma Bridge (built in 1888). People were crossing her wooden boards just now. But we knew that at some point later she would be swung open by her two boat motors to allow traffic to pass across the water.

We decided to have lunch right there within view of her.

The Queen Emma Bridge at night


Shaney said...

You have been to some beautiful places Sue...Everything looks so enchanting...You lucky traveller...xox

Sue said...

I have been very lucky with travel. Thanks Shaney!