Het is eind 2017 ik zet na bijna 7 jaar weer voet aan de grond op mijn geboorte-eiland Curaçao, ik ben even terug. Alles en niks is veranderd. Mijn moeder woont nog in het huis waar ik de laatste deel van mijn tienerjaren heb doorgebracht voor ik ging studeren.
We komen met de auto aan in de garage. De hondenkennels staan er nog, maar de honden uit mijn jeugd zijn er niet meer. Wel andere die me enthousiast groeten ookal kennen ze me niet.
Ik loop naar binnen door de porch het huis in. Door de grote raam in de huiskamer zie ik de pool waar ik vele baantjes heb gezwommen en toen mijn vader nog leefde veel gebbqd werd door hem.
De volgende dag maak ik een rondje in de tuin. Alle vruchtenbomen staan er nog. De mangoboom heeft vruchten. Ik pluk er een, was het en begin te eten. Dit brengt me terug naar mijn jeugd waarin er kneppa’s (Spaanse appel), sorsaka, granaatappel, cashewvrucht, appeldam, mango, etc uit de tuin zo in je mond belanden. Tja daar kan zelfs geen balcon of tuintje met aardbeien en tomaten in Nederland tegenop.
Mimi’s Ecofarm is one of the many small private initiatives on Curaçao and can be found near Fuik, Curacao. It is a Mondi (local forest) turned into a natural farm. This Ecofarm works as naturally as possible. For example, they use fish to prevent mosquitoes. And nets over the baths to protect the fish from birds of prey. They also use water plants instead of filters to keep the water clean.
The chickens and peacocks walk freely around the yard. So organic eggs are a fact and for sale. The geese and the duck have their own garden with a pond.
As a visitor you get a tour of the site along the animals and plants with explanations. It is also possible to fish for a fee, take a foot bath with Tilapia fish or organize a children’s party.
It is a great initiative and a good idea to develop this land ecologically and also to provide nature education for children in combination with fun. There is a true running track with obstacles for children.
So if you are looking for organic eggs, some fishing, water plants or garden plants visit them or just visit them and let them show you around. You can find them on Facebook.
Curaçao has a lot of unknown museums which are still under construction. One of them I learned about because my mother and father had worked at ALM, the old National airplane company of Curaçao. This museum can only be visited by appointment and is called museo aeronautiko curaçao.
So we made an appointment and went to Terra Cora on Saturday. What a surprise a starting museum in the backyard of a collector. Before retiring, he collected everything about aviation and, after his retirement, decided to specialize in the aviation of Curaçao.
The owner Cedric Bronswinkel leads you around with a story for each displayed attribute. There has been thought thoroughly about the design. You start with a picture of the first balloon flight on Curaçao in 1912, then some small aviations in the port to the first klm flight to Curacao that took 7 days. Nowadays, a flight takes around 9 hours.
A bit further on you will find the program booklet of the show of transfer of ALM shares from KLM to the local government of Curaçao. Also all scaled planes of ALM are displayed and all kinds of merchendaise of ALM.
After that comes the worldly aviation circus. This collection will gradually make way for expansion of the local collection. The plans are ambitious, but realistic. Each attribute is numbered and provided with a story behind the scenes. They would like to make audio tours of these stories. There are also plans for screens that show films and photos of the aviation history of Curaçao, and especially the ALM time. There is also a foundation in formation and they would like to receive shelter at the airport of Curaçao, Hato.
This project certainly deserves support, because the owner leads you around with a lot of passion and there is still much to tell about the Curaçao aviation. Not to mention the history of Curaçao aviation is one to be proud of and should not be lost for future generations.
So if you still have attibutes about the Curaçao aviation do not hesitate to contact the museum. Donations are also more than welcome.
You can find the museum on Facebook or contact them through email.
In almost any city you can find Graffiti. Sometimes this street art, when it is painted with permission. Another difference is that Street art is most of the time more than only words, imaged based.
Famous street art
On my travel I have seen some beautiful street art. In Melbourne there was street art of Banksy. In Berlin you have el Bocho who drew Little Lucy killing her cat in different manners. In Eindhoven you have Lempke, the smiling bulb.
Street art Festival
On Curacao there is some street art. Mostly in Punda and Otrobanda made by artist. But this time young talents got to show their work in the Streets of Punda with the street art festival held for the first time. The youngsters showed their talents painting the Streets in Punda and some were even aloud to paint murals. It was nice to see. A pity the festival wasn’t visited by a lot of people. There was one painting which stood out, a drawing of a shoe. If you stood in certain angel, you could see the shoe in 3D.
I hope these youngsters get to show their talents in an annually street art festival in Punda and maybe some murals. I will follow how the street art in Curacao will develop, but in the mean while I will look for street art on my travels.
Willemstad is the capital of Curaçao, the Island I was borne on. It is the only city on the Island. The other places on the Island are called villages or neighborhoods. Willemstad lies in the center of the Island at a natural harbor of the St. Anna bay. This harbor is big enough that some cruise ships can enter. It is a beautiful sight to see ships enter and leave the harbor. You can stand really near and watch the ships enter and leave.
The harbor St. Anna bay divides Willemstad in two parts Punda (Point) and Otrobanda (The other side). There are two bridges which connects the two parts. A unique ponton bridge, Emma bridge and a really high bridge which ships as big as cruise ships can go underneath, the Juliana bridge. The Ponton bridge sails open when ships need to pass. It’s a nice sight to see. It is also called The swinging old lady.
Of the two parts of Willemstad Punda is the most visited one. Punda is known for its authentic buildings full of color. You can shop in Punda, admire the old buildings and visit one of the many museums. The buildings are on the UNESCO list. Don’t forget to visit the floating market and Marche Bieu and Marche Nobo.
The floating market is a market on the water side. Market stalls has been made with behind the stall a boat. These boat are from Venezuela and come to Curacao to sell fruits and vegetables. It’s a unique market, that looks very colorful. It’s worth a visit. It’s open during the day.
Marche bieu & Nobo
Marche bieu means old market and Nobo means new. These are two markets near each other, both covered. In the Marche Nobo you can get local products, handcraft, snacks, veggies and fruits. In the Marche bieu local food is sold and served till 2 O’clock in the afternoon. It’s the place to taste local food and eat with locals.
Otrobanda has been renewed the last few years and are on the UNESCO list. Also, the mega cruise ships that cannot enter the harbor dock at the new mega pier in Otrobanda. This has brought more tourist to this part of town. You can walk through the authentic neighborhood and admire some street art. Don’t forget to stop at the museum Kura Hulanda and learn about the slave history of Curaçao. There are also some shops in the nearby streets. Between the mega pier and the harbor there is also Riffort. The fort was redeveloped and has a hotel and restaurants. You can still admire the cannons and with a bit of imagination how it protected the bay in the old days.
I was asked to do an Inhouse workshop Excel on Curaçao for the employees of Serena Factory. Not knowing exactly where I had to be, I googled it. It was near St. Joris bay, a nice bay at the east of Curaçao. Not a beach bay, but a natural bay with lot of wind. Ideal for surfing. It is not very touristic yet, but a good place to see. In the future probably, more tourist will go there, because there are a few touristic attractions in the neighborhood.
Near St. Joris bay there is a plantation of Aloe Vera with a small fabric. You can visit the plantation and have a look in the shop. A lot of things are made of Aloe Vera. Aloe Vera is a medical plant used to produce medicine, juice and skin care products. There are also some goats wandering around on the plantation.
Ostrich are not originally from Curaçao, but you can visit a farm near St. Joris bay. You can get a tour in an old truck over the farm and see all the stages of ostriches growing up. You can also feed the Ostriches and stand on a real egg. Those eggs are very hard and can hold a lot of weight.
Amazonia: The lost Island of dreams (formerly known as L’Aldea) is a park with some build ruins from the Amazon Indians and some tropical animals you can’t find in the wild on the Island. On the tour they tell you about the Indians in the Amazon and the animals they have there.
A beautiful garden full of local herbs and fruits. Dinah Veeris can tell you a lot about the plants and their effect on your health. The garden is a must see if you are on the Island. You can visit the garden on your own or book a guided tour.
And last, but not least Serena factory. Yes, the one which had an Inhouse Excel course with me. Serena factory produces Chichi. Chichi is a well-rounded Caribbean figure. In Papiamentu it means big sister. You can buy the Original handmade dolls here or follow a workshop and color your own Chichi.
So now you know what to visit near St. Joris bay, the natural bay you must see.
There is a big difference between hiking competitions and running competitions. With running it goes on time, best time. With Hiking is about getting to the finish before a set time, normally. But not at the KLM marathon walking & Hiking 5k.
The KLM Marathon is an event organized each year on Curaçao. You can participate in five distances, Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, Trail and 5K. It started as a running event, but this year you could also hike the 10K and the 5K. So, when my aunt asked if I wanted to participate, I said yes. Knowing the Dutch combination run/Hike Dam to Dam I thought the KLM marathon would be the same, an event in an event. But no, it wasn’t. Runners and hikers start at the same time, at the same starting point and same parcour. So, it was a nice chaos at the start with runners and hikers all mixed.
For me this was a totally new experience. I was hiking the 5K, because of a mixed up instead of the 10K. So at 7:30 AM I set of to hike with the others. Even the hikers were hiking fast to get a better time than others. The hike was a competition against time!
7:30 AM is early, but the marathon runners were even earlier 3:30 AM. Yes, in the tropics you must start early if you want to survive the sun. The first part of the parcour is climbing a hill, then you go downhill and at the end of the road you turn to nice walking area called Corridor (Runner). Here you walk back along the sea to the hotel were the finish is.
It was pretty straight forward the parcour and not difficult. The only thing you are battling is the sun, which is getting higher and higher at that time. If possible I walked in the shades, because it was hot, but doable. I loved the experience. It was my first competition walked on Curacao. It was well organized and not too crowded. I hope for Curacao that KLM keeps on organizing this event in the future.
Ps: If you want to know I hiked the 5 km in 00:52:18 about 5,7k/h. This is way faster than when I hike trails. And I got a nice medal.
I lived both in Curaçao as the Netherlands. So, I am entitled to compare the two with each other.
I love the Netherlands for its public transport. It’s good and on time, but too expensive. At bus stops there are signs with bus numbers on it and timetables with the schedule. Curaçao has stops, but no timetable at the stops. So, 1 point for the Netherlands.
The changing of seasons has something beautiful, but I dread the cold and all-day rain. It can sometimes rain all day in the Netherlands. On Curaçao it is almost every day the same weather, around 28 degrees and Sunny. And when it rains it is mostly not all day and the temperatures are still good. So, 1 point for Curaçao.
Going to neighboring countries
On Curacao you have only one choice to leave the Island and that’s by flight or flight. In the Netherlands you can take a car to Belgium or so. Or the train to Germany or so. Another option is taking the bus to England or so. A bit further you can take the plane. 2-1 for the Netherlands.
Both have very beautiful nature, but very different from each other. In Holland you can see forest, meadow and moorland. And most of the time it is not faraway. On Curacao you have ‘mondi’, forest of mostly cacti. You have also the beautiful sea with its corals. So it’s a tie on this one.
I am biased on this one. Although you can get almost any fruit in Holland. Nothing beats picking fruits from your own garden. Especially if they are tropical fruits. Fruits from the garden taste better than fruits from the supermarket. Two points for Curaçao on tropical garden fruits.
Curaçao is a car Island. it’s accomodated for cars. There are a few places you can hike. The Netherlands although it’s flat you can hike almost everywhere in nature or the city. So one point for the hiking options in the Netherlands.
It seems like we have a tie. Each one has it’s pros and cons. What else can you compare for these two?
In Curaçao you choose from a booklet what you want to study and if you’re lucky you’ll see the profession that belongs to that study in action. I worked at a vet during the holidays, so I was lucky to be able to taste the profession. I especially enjoyed assisting with operations! So no doubt for me and look at other studies. Because it is a draw study, I had to give up a second study. Quite complicated to find a second study that interests you. The tests showed that I was interested in everything but languages. I already knew the latter from my grades and my great difficulty in learning words. It was always a fight with the words. Grammar and listening test usually went well. So I didn’t make much progress with the tests.
Returning to the draw, I had drawn a very bad number, but luckily there were 11 minister places for all draw studies together that year. I was lucky, I was assigned 1 of those ministerial positions.
Later when I gave up veterinary medicine, I felt guilty for a long time about using a minister’s place and not completing that study. Long time I thought shit someone else might need that place badly. But over the years I confirmed that veterinary medicine was not really the study for me in terms of pharmacology and biochemistry. Dealing with animals does, I passed those subjects at once. I still considered doing animal management in Groningen, but then found Groningen too far.
I still think what if … Had I had a job abroad, for example, studying monkeys in the Amazon in South America or in a zoo in Africa.
I had to think again when I ran into the Livestock Museum during the Four Days Marches in Cuijk last year. I walked in curiously and had a chat with two vets. I had been taught by one. They got my grades and asked me about the reason for stopping. They offered me a tour, my private college. And effe came the feeling I will finish the study now …….
Enjoying the sun on my shared roof terrace, I have to think back to my sunstroke a long, long time ago. You think that if you were born and raised on an island you know how to handle the sun, but nothing could be further from the truth.
We are going back to 5 VWO day out with the class. We go by boat to small Curaçao, a small island close to Curaçao. Seasickness, I know, that is bothering me. So sit at the top of the boat where the least swell is. But yes on the ‘larger’ island of Curaçao you usually stay in the shade or in the sun. I did not need anointing. So I’m on the boat without a cap in a bikini and shorts without an ointment. On the way there it went fine!
Arriving on the island there appears to be hardly any shadow there. The ignorance of a teenager in combination with hours in the sun are not a good combination. Lovely swimming, climbing lighthouse, barbecued and back by boat. But yes the next morning in the shower all blisters rash on my body and headache. So to the doctor, 1st degree heat stroke!The advice is: Stay out of the sun, drink lots of water on an island with daily sun!
Since then I have been careful with the sun, but I still enjoy it!