A…B…C…

THE ABC Islands as they are known, once formed the Netherlands Antilles.  They boast beautiful white sand beaches, warm waters, and world class diving.  The official languages are Papiamento, Dutch & English.  Curaçao has the highest population, followed closely by Aruba and then a long way back comes Bonaire.  On all three islands, there is something that makes you feel you have dropped back fifity years.  There is a lack of sophistication and a lack of slickness that is really quite refreshing.  Tourism of course is the main economic driver. Aruba is known for its beaches.  Bonaire is a diver’s paradise, with its cyrstal clear water and shore line reefs and the dive sites can be reached from shore.  The entire coast line has been designated a Unesco World Heritage Marine Park.  While the Dutch Colonial architecture in Willemstad Curaçao is also a Unesco World Heritage site.

 

images.jpegARUBA – I spent a lovely day at the Barcelo Hotel with Lynn & Richard Coyle. They have a beautiful timeshare there, with a great beach and lots of friends.  We went out for a catamaran sail and I was offered to take over the sail but chickened out.  Keith & Scott, my Canadian sail mentors, will be so disappointed with me.  But it was just lovely to sit there in the “hammock” and enjoy the sun and warm water splashing over me and let someone else do all the work.

 

CURAÇAO –  I saved alot of money on Curaçao, it was Sunday and all the shops were closed.  I hired a cab for an hour and saw the highlights including colourful “LandHuizen” – the old Dutch colonial houses.  I found
images-2.jpeg a neighbourhood restaurant that was serving local fare and had a delicious lunch.  On the way back to the ship, walking along the shoreline, I stopped at a bar to try the specialty drink of the island – Blue Curaçao.  I had a Green Iguana – I think mixing blue Curaçao with yellow pineapple juice makes green – No?  I enjoyed my drink and was mezmerized by the waves breaking just below me. Then had a long nap when I got back to the ship.

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BONAIRE –  The highlight of my day in Bonaire was kayaking in the ocean to a lovely little beach away from the crowds.  Once there we were able to walk into the water and snorkle.  The lowest point was to find that the coral close to shore was mostly dead. Therefore, the fish population was sparse.  I did see a puffer fish, a green moray eel, a parrot fish and a myriad of minnow type fish.

 

Sidebar:  So.  I did a taxi tour of Curaçao just to get the lay of the land and learn a bit about the place.  All the tour taxis were gone when I got there so I went to the taxi stand and said I wanted a tour for about an hour or so.  One young man jumped up and gave me a price which was cheaper than the ship’s tour which was sold out, so I said fine.  Hopped in the car.  His name is Edwin.  And then discovered his English was not that good.  Neither is my Spanish so we managed with our cell phones on “translate” back and forth.  He did speak some English but details and something more in depth than the weather was a little difficult.  However, I learned about the Landhuizen, where the wealthy Dutch lived during the 18th & 19th centuries, and had slaves to farm their plantations.  Also that the minimum wage is $5.00 per hour and that besides tourism, salt mining and oil refineries make up the economy.  That fresh fruit & veggies come over from Venezuela, illegaly on small boats, along with refugees; that Edwin is working to save money to get his own taxi; and that he loves Canadians and would love to live in Canada.  All in all, it was a fun hour and a half and I got a good feel for the island which seems relatively poor except for the huge homes that belong mostly to foreigners from different lands,mainly Holland according to Edwin. Tourist alert:  Make sure your guide speaks English!  Live & learn eh? 

25 thoughts on “A…B…C…

  1. Seems like the first islands treated you well. As far as shopping goes you have a long trip in front of you and I think there are still weight maximums on baggage – so pace yourself!😂😂😂

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      1. Hi Cat & Fred, I am somewhere off the coast of Brazil heading for Recife tomorrow. Trying to keep up with my blog and photos. It’s hard to do with a drink in each hand. :-)) Seriously one would think there would be all the time in the world, but we are busy on board AND I am playing Mahj. Every sea day we play at 1:30 until it is time for Trivia at 4:30. Take care. It makes me happy to know you are following along – and Carol & Donny too. Lots of love, Pat

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  2. Hi there Pat! Great to read your blog
    and to know that you are enjoying
    the beautiful islands. Of course you enjoyed
    that cocktail and we know it takes
    more than one drink to make you turn
    green! Keep on having fun. Lots of love, Phil and Jim xx

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    1. HI Phil & Jim, Yes I am enjoying the islands. But I am missing my Clangers. Insignia is full, but I am loving my cabin right at the front of the ship. a little noisy at times, especially when we dock and leave, but it has great views and of course a veranda. Take care and lots of love, Pat

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  3. Love following your blog aunt Pat! Daddy and I are sitting in Tim Horton’s together having a coffee and reading together 😊! We are living vicariously through you xo

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  4. Following you on your journey is so much fun. I never followed anyone’s blog, so this is very interesting to me. Hope your entire cruise is a blast!! Looks like you have already made some enjoyable traveling companions. Keep having a great time. Tom and I are thinking of you

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    1. Hi Betty & Tom – I am so happy you are following me. I just wish you were here with me! Having a great time though. I am liking this ship. Missing Red Ginger & Jacques. However they have a featured selecton every night in the Grand Dining room from both. So I have had Miso based sea bass at least four times. In some ways it is better because one doesn’t always get to go to Red Ginger that often. Lots of love and you have a wonderful cruise to the Antarctic.

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  5. I read your posts to Anton while we were walking the puppies this evening! It’s so much fun following your travels! Our AZ weather is fabulous while the rest of the country freezes. Luv, ❤ Katie & Anton

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  6. Hallo Patt, ich dachte ich schreibe Dir mal auf deutsch (dann bekommt dein Blog ein internationales flair 🙂 ). Wir haben heute Deine Reiseroute bekommen. Da kann man ja richtig neidisch werden bei dem schlechten Wetter hier in Deutschland. Wie ist die Reise so ? Hattet ihr schon starken Seegang? Geniese die schöne Zeit auf dem Schiff. Grüße, die Keimlinge aus Deutschland.

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    1. Liebe Kinder. Super!! Internationales ist toll… Gut das meine Reiseroute hat gekommen. Schade das dein Wetter ist nichts so gut. Hier es ist sehr warm und feuchtig – um 80 – 85 grad Farenheit und we haben jedes Tag regen. Das See is nicht glatt. Taglich es ist ein bisschen schwer zu laufe. Abends es “rocks” wei ein Kinder bett. Gut das ich habe kein problem mit see kronkenheit. Ich kann esse u. trinke alles. Entschültegen, aber meine Deutsch/Englisch buch ist nichts dabei. Viele liebe Grüße, Pat

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    1. Hallo meine liebe Knielinger!! Es freud mich auch das Sie sind mit Mir an meine Reisen. Sofar alles ist sehr gut. Das Wetter ist warm – 80-85 Farenheit – und feucht. Essen und trinken sind auch sehr gut und meine Zimmer ist klein aber sehr schön. Ich habe auch eine Balcony und Ich find es sehr gut. Wir sind jetzt bei Brazil. Zeit gehts sehr schnell. Viele liebe Grüße an alle….Pat

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  7. Oh, Pat! We are so excited to be able to follow along with you. Donny and I – Cat too! – are having vicarious thrills reading about your many adventures. And how perfect is it that you are getting to see many of your friends along the way?!?!?!
    And while I don’t want to cause any trouble, I have to say “Go Wild, Hunny Bunny!” on the shopping front. It’s not as if you can drop around next week and pick up the things you wanted. And you can always ship them home along the way or when your ship docks back home, so weight really isn’t an issue.
    This is the first blog I’ve ever found/followed and we are all so extremely grateful that you are taking the time to share with us. We love you, and wish you smooth sailing and many more fabulous adventures…Carole & Donny

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    1. Hi Carole & Donny – So good to hear from you and that you are following me. It’s like having friends along on the journey. You are absolutely right. I will shop til I drop. The weather has been variable, sun, rain, rain, sun rain, and the seas have been somewhat heavy. We are all walking like drunken sailors, but sleeping like babies at night in a cradle. Take care. Sending lots of love & hugs, Pat

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  8. Dear Pat , today is the first time that I have a chance to read your blog as of Jan. 9th, could not get anything else….. I also tried your wordpress, but could not get anything…Keep on writing, it is soooo
    interesting….
    I am leaving for Holguin next Wed. 24.1. and will be back on 7.2.
    Take care and continue to have fun…
    All the best
    Rita

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    1. Hi Rita, Nice to hear from you. I’m having a wonderful time. The seas have been a little rough, but it’s OK. Did you try gypsyboots.blog? Enjoy your time away and travel safe. All the best to you, Hugs, Pat

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