Christmas in Curacao
08.01.2009 26 °C
Waking up to the Captain gleefully welcoming everyone to Curacao bright and early Christmas morning is not exactly what I had imagined Christmas morning looking like, or rather sounding like. I guess strikingly blue waters and a fruit salad of buildings lining the coast is not a typical Christmas morning view out the window either. However, we did salvage some Christmas morning traditions. Marty's family does eggs benedict on Christmas morning and so we made it to the dining room for our one and only formal breakfast for delicious (although I'm sure the homemade stuff is better) eggs benedict.
Our excursion for the day was two-fold. Part 1: a mission to find working internet or telephones on shore to reach family back at home since the cruise internet was out and $8.00/minute seemed a little steep for international calls. After wandering the colorful and fairly lively streets of Willemstad, Curacao (filled mostly with cruisers like ourselves and less of the locals) we managed to find a phone in a hotel where I was promptly rewarded for such dilligent searching with about 25 mosquito bites. Awesome, but mission accomplished nonetheless.
Part 2 was a trip to the other side of the island, Curacao is the largest of the 3 ABC Islands, to check out the Hato Caves. We welcomed the break from the hot sun, a little history of Curacao and a chance to see all over the island as we drove out and back from the caves to port. Willemstad is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you can see why as you drive through. It has been hit by its fair share of tropical storms but the buildings are beautifully preserved, very colorful and lively and there has been a real effort to preserve the history of the Jewish community who settled there, the slave trade who passed through and/or worked there as well as the continuing relations with the Netherlands and the nearby Latin culture.
Before boarding the ship we sampled a few locally made beverages. While the Curacao plant (the manufacturer of that sweet bright blue liquor) was not on our tourist map for the day we did manage to sample locally made pistachio and banana cream liquors...Yuummmm! If we hadn't had too much to carry already and weren't trekking through the coffee region the following week, I would have bottles of that stuff! After tantalizing our tourist taste buds with local brews we hopped back on the boat to relax.
After a wonderful day, our evening performer left a little something to be desired. I know most shows on cruise ships have to be taken in with a grain of salt (or 5), but Christmas 2008 was really a test of how much you are willing to put up with. The star of the Christmas show was Charo! I had seen her on my last cruise performing the same show in the same red get-up (far left) and knew well enough to stay away. Marty had not been so lucky as to catch her so we popped in for literally 30 seconds, just enough time to hear a "cuchi, cuchi" and got the hell out. Wheew!