At the end of our first month in a new location, we like to take stock of our first impressions with a short self-interview. A third of our time on Curaçao has already passed; what do we think about life on the island, so far?
Mike: Pulling into the parking lot which overlooks the Grote Knip Beach. This was our first sighting of the Caribbean Sea, and the beach simply couldn’t have been more lovely. If I wasn’t quite in love with Curaçao yet, this view sealed the deal.
Driving across the towering Queen Juliana Bridge for the very first time. On one side you see historic Willemstad and on the other side the refinery. These two views say so much about this island.
Mike: I don’t know if I’d order guiambo every day, but this was defnitely the most interesting dish I’ve yet had on Curaçao. A rich, salty, slimy soup made of okra, it’s a popular item at Plasa Bieu.
It’s not the most traditional Curaçaoan cuisine, but the skewers at Equus were the best meal I’ve had so far on the island.
Mike: It’s been a month, and I still haven’t had any Blue Curaçao! Green rum, yes. Despite its fame abroad, Blue Curaçao doesn’t seem to be all that popular at bars on the island.
The language skills of the islanders. Many here can speak five or more languages fluently, and it even gets better when they start blending them all together, and it becomes one true world language.
Mike: I’d say the danger of theft. The island has done so much to encourage tourism, and most of the people are so polite and welcoming, and then a few punks ruin all the goodwill by repeatedly smashing car windows, and stealing bags. Everyone knows it goes on, and everyone knows the spots in which it’s especially likely to happen… so, where are the cops?
The amount of pollution, starting with the obvious: the refinery. Also, old cars leaving trails of huge black fume clouds behind them, and the huge amount of plastic trash left out to rot in nature.
Mike: The Papiamento word “dushi” means “sweet,” and the sheer frequency with which it’s used cracks me up. Apparently everything is dushi to Curaçaoans. Dushi food, dushi people, dushi tourists. And then there’s the fact of its English-language homonym — a word impossible to use while here. In Curaçao, telling someone that they’re “douchey” is a compliment!
There can be up to three huge cruise ships at the port of Willemstad. The amazing thing is, even though there are suddenly thousands more people on the island, you won’t notice them if you go to the smaller beaches up north.
How Expensive? From 1 (cheap) to 10 (expensive)
Mike: 7. Curaçao is a lot more expensive than I thought a Caribbean island would be. It does make sense; this is an island, so everything has to be imported. But still… fresh produce, museum tickets, restaurants, excursions… it all costs much more than we had expected.
Curaçao has its price, so I give it a 7. A night out can get expensive but luckily there are plenty of Happy Hours you can take advantage of. Groceries are more pricey than back home. Taxis are expensive but you can find cheap car rentals with some planning. Bring your own snorkeling gear and hunt down the free beaches if you’re on a budget.
People from Curaçao Are…
Mike: … about as multi-ethnic as people get. Everyone seems able to speak five languages, and every shade on the human spectrum is represented here. The people are relaxed, almost always in a good mood, friendly and welcoming to strangers… and boy, do they love to honk their horns. We’ve started doing it, too!
… masters of language, and there’s nothing more interesting than listening to people talk Papiamento. If you speak some Spanish, you’ll be able to pick up quite a lot.
Curaçao in Three Words
Mike: Colorful, Relaxed, Diverse
Blue, Windy, Dushi