Wed, July 31
Curacao (pron. “Cur-ah-sow”……we just found that out today, I am ashamed to say!!!!) is the largest of the Dutch ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) and you can easily see the Dutch influence in the colonial architecture. All the houses are painted in bright colours and the story goes that previously all the houses on the islands were white. However an enterprising previous governor (who was also a partner in a paint company) decided that white was boring and it would look better if people painted their houses in different colours and so that is what they do right up to today. It’s the same in Aruba.
Another story we were told was that when people died, they were buried in cemeteries above ground. After about 5 years their bones were removed, crushed and put into boxes and stored in their families’ cellars, leaving room for other bodies – a form of “time share”!!! In recent years, cremation has gained popularity and now there is a waiting list.
We did a nice tour of the island, starting with a drive through Willemstad, the newer section of the city, over the Queen Juliana Bridge and a visit to Chobolobo, the Dutch colonial estate where the famous Curacao liqueur is distilled. Samples were ready for us … very nice. Continuing through the eastern part of the island, we visited the Caribbean Handicraft shop and Chichi’s Workshop. “Chichi’s” is a nick name for women of Curacao and we could not resist buying one of these unique little sculptures, which are painted by the local women in lovely designs and tropical colours.
Markets were plentiful around the ship selling a variety of local crafts and there were many jewellery and designer brand label shops and the island is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.