November 2, 2015
Today was a travel day. We headed to Curacao with two different pilots, same type of plane: a C-12 with only a tube to pee in- not made for the ladies!
We were shown the flight plans before we left; there were a LOT of lighting bolts on the iPad, which means the flight could be bumpy and we would have to zig-zag over to Curacao. The superstitious side of me was glad that we were traveling AWAY from the Bermuda Triangle.
Thoughts I wrote while on the flight:
It is interesting to watch the pilots map out a new flight plan in order to avoid the thunderstorms, which are popping up all over the Caribbean. We were supposed to fly over Haiti, but instead passed between Haiti and Jamaica.
Just flew through some very bumpy air. The turbulence doesn’t feel much different than being on a big commercial jet, yet somehow I feel better about a small plane being able to weave it’s way around a tricky spot, especially with Top Gun pilots. They said over the intercom, “You guys might wanna hold on back there.” That happened right after I said, “I feel like Amelia Earhart.”
They are creating, yet another, new flight plan. It is clear that we are not taking a direct flight to Curacao.
Steven got up to use “the tube” to pee, so John, one of our pilots, got out of his seat to show him how to do it. Jody, the other pilot, let me come up and fly the plane. I was nervous at first, with other lives in my hands, but of course he could just take over at any time. It was pretty cool to see what it’s like in the cockpit. I am now considering adding a pilot’s license to my resume. Boom. (You know, in addition to the motorcycle license…of which I rarely get to take advantage.)
First glimpses of Curacao:
As soon as we got off the plane, we were immediately taken into a debriefing room, where we learned about the real Curacao- not the one we saw in pictures.
When researching this island on the Internet, we saw beautiful beaches and colorful buildings. We thought that this place might easily be the most luxurious of the stops on our tour. Not the case. There is actually a lot of crime and criminal behavior on the island, including identity theft. We were told which places to avoid, for our personal safety, and which ATMs have been known to read cards. We were told about recent murders in the area, etc.
This base’s mission is to identify drug smugglers, especially ones by ship. This year, they made a HUGE cocaine bust. What do they do with all that cocaine? I didn’t ask. Perhaps I didn’t want to know the answer. Once you know stuff, you can’t go back to not knowing. I already felt like I knew too much about drugs, drug lords, and Central America’s drug empire. Again, I choose to omit certain information for the purposes of this blog. Though interesting, I want no association.
Curacao is a Dutch Caribbean Island and the currency is Netherlands Antillean guilder. There are many Dutch speakers on the island and many of the street signs are in Dutch. The Dutch come to Curacao on vacation from Holland. I’m not sure exactly why, as there are probably cheaper, nicer places to go, but alas, they do. Perhaps there are nicer parts of the island that I didn’t get to see.
The other language that is spoken by the natives, if you will, is Papiamento. Papiamento is “a multifaceted Creole language based on Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, and several African dialects. It's spoken most often in the ABC (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao) Islands, and has been in use for 300 years. It is, in a way, the original language of Curacao, and was meant to be a spoken communication, not a written one.” www.curacao-travelguide.com It doesn’t sound like words to me; it sounds like mumbling, which is probably what happens to people when they are speaking several languages at the same time. I communicated by miming and pointing, which might be rude, but definitely universal.
That first evening, we had dinner at an all-you-can-eat pizza place. I had a smoked salmon pizza. It was amazing. I could only eat one pizza; more than that is just ridiculous, or for men. I went back to the hotel, excited to snorkel in the hotel cove the next day, iced my foot and went to bed.
My breakfast items in the morning would be Denny’s or the buffet by the beach. I think you know what I chose.
Every day, I strive to…
Be the light I wish to see in the world.