Curacao has basically gotten back to “normal” – minus the tourists! While most restrictions have been lifted, and restaurants and stores are open again, tourists are not yet being welcomed. Flights are not wide open, and cruise ships are not welcome, yet.
It was nice to go out and enjoy a dinner cooked by someone else. I was getting tired of eating my own cooking. The beach restaurant has renamed itself, and gotten a new menu. The food was pretty good. It was just good to be out on the beach enjoying the evening.
The flamingos have returned to the lake just off the first hole here at the golf course. They seem to leave at odd times, then return. We have not spotted a routine to it – sometimes they are there, and sometimes not. There are quite a few here this time, usually ten or more at a time.
With the lifting of the quarantine we were able to get Bailey down to the ocean. She loves to chase sticks out on the water. We can throw it as far as we are able and she’ll still chase it down.
The golf course has re-opened and I’ve played a few rounds. That’s also been very nice. Before the lock down we were out playing at least twice a week, and it’s a big part of our routine. We’re glad to have that back. Here is a short movie of my “hole of the round.” It’s a lovely par 3 across the ocean. You need a nice drive, because the swirling winds can easily send you into one of the many bunkers protecting the green.
We were wandering around downtown Willemsted the other day, and there is a lot of cool wall art all over some of the buildings. I’ve posted some in the past, but I think these are a couple of shots that are new. The shot used in the featured pic of this post is a close up of the building in the picture to the right here.
This next one is kind of simple, but really elegant. It’s down a back alley, so would probably not be seen by the vast majority of tourists. Kind of cool I think.
We’ve been woken up a couple of times by Bailey growling and sometimes barking. She’s in protect mode, and this is what she’s protecting us from! Pretty funny stuff.
We have lots of water features around our property, mostly associated with the golf course. There has been a large community of flamingos that spend their days at the water feature that separates the first and eighteenth fairways.
But, they all left. We have not seen any for a long time. There is a salt flat just a short distance away, towards Kokomo Beach, where lots of flamingos can be seen virtually any day.
Well, today we saw one back on Blue Bay! It’s been a while, so it’s good to see them start to come back. Hopefully it won’t be just the one, and more will come back.
Oh, and Happy New Year! The fireworks were crazy here again this year. Went on pretty much all night. The whole island lights up, and it’s crazy noisy. Poor Bailey. She pretty much spends the night in the shower – it’s farthest she can get from the noise!
Pam has been taking lots of pictures on the golf course lately, mainly because I’ve been out playing every other day! There are just tons of birds around here, and she got a couple nice ones in the last couple of days. To the right is a southern lapwing. We see this bird quite a bit. Around the 17th hole there is a one with three little babies. Very cute.
The lora parrots are a brilliant green (the bird in the featured picture at the top of the message) and Blue Bay has a lot of them around. Pam calls them squawkers because they noisily call to each other. The movie at the end of the post has a nice little clip of these two in a playful mood.
I like this shot of a snowy egret giving himself a shake. He looks like he just got out of bed after a rough night!
The clip also has a bit of Bailey in it – she has made several doggie friends on the resort, and the whippet named Ollie has become her favorite playmate. When we get near the golf course, she is constantly looking for him. The second she does, she’s gone like a shot after him!
Yesterday was the one year anniversary of our move to Curacao. It’s been a busy year! Our first months here were taken up with renovations to the apartment, and getting our residency permits in order. Discovering how big the island was was a surprise. It seems very tiny on a map, but there are a lot of hidden gems we hadn’t been aware of, even after ten years of coming here!
There have been some other surprises for sure. Food is a lot cheaper than I figured. Some foods are much pricier, including certain fruits. Cherries are through the roof expensive. But a huge pineapple is cheap cheap cheap compared to Vancouver. Boneless skinless chicken breasts are under 3 dollars a pound. I miss the diversity of Canadian craft beer, but the beer that is available is cheaper than in Canada.
On the negative side, the drivers here are absolutely the worst you can imagine. Six percent of the vehicles here are right hand drive, accounting for 25 percent of the accidents. But fully 100 percent of the drivers of those vehicles are incompetent! About 80 percent of the population do not know how to use their signal lights. Even turning left they do not use their signals. If you thought people using their phones was a problem where you drive, then spend ten minutes on the road here in Curacao. Most people are talking, texting or watching videos on their phones while they drive.
And parking? Forget about it. The cars here are all quite small, with a vehicle called the Kia Picanto being a very popular model. It is a very tiny car. Most three year olds could park it between the lines with their eyes blindfolded. But not the drivers here on Curacao. Yesterday this woman parked so poorly, I said to her, “You must be ashamed of that parking job.” She looked at me like I was drunk.
The wildlife here is really amazing. Over 5000 different breeds of birds come through Curacao over the course of a year, and it’s amazing to see. From predators to song birds, we see them all.
It’s been a real treat to have nice warm weather all the time, but I do miss running through the rain forests of Vancouver.
Bailey has made a bunch of new friends too, one in particular, a whippet named Ollie. We normally see him in the evening, and she starts looking for him as soon as we near the 13th hole. It’s very cute.
We have been doing all those things one needs to do when they have moved into a new apartment. Namely renovations, including expanding the size of our suite by stealing space from our patio. Our patio is 18 feet x 12 feet, and we’re going to convert about half of that to inside space.
We decided that we wanted a second air conditioner added, so that any guests will have air conditioning – quite important at night. Makes sleeping so much easier. During the day, you live outside, eating, drinking, playing. It’s always warm, sunny, and breezy.
Construction on the new doors should start next week. We had an architect (Henk Bolivar) come in and examine the place, and he suggested that we don’t install an additional set of doors, but move the current set out to the new location.
Adding the new airco is a complicated process, with the compressors stored in a room near the front of the apartment building, while the control unit needs a place to discharge water. In order to add an additional unit into the apartment, we would have to go through another apartment – something that they could reject outright of course – and that could potentially add months to the process. Instead we have devised a plan to add the unit through the new construction! The result is that the entire renovation will solve all the problems, and look completely seamless and built in, rather than some jury-rigged add-on.
Henk, the architect, was one of the nicest fellows I’ve ever met. Jovial, forthright and funny, he couldn’t be a better fellow to work with. He kept saying, “Look, as an architect, we want things to be perfect as possible for the owner.” The idea we had had to add the second set of doors he described as a nightmare, and something we would not like. We were very pleased and surprised when he said just do it the right way first. Don’t settle for something – get what you want, and have it done right by professionals!
Everyone we have met on this island have just been great people. When they discover we are here to live, rather than just winter here, they are so excited! Welcome welcome welcome has been their response!
We’re becoming more and more comfortable here. Believe it or not, Bailey has made the transition easier. People are just completely charmed by her. A lot of Curacaon dogs are guard dogs, and are not friendly. Bailey of course, is a charmer. All the staff all ready know her name. When they see me without her, they wonder where she is, is she sick? They bring her a bucket of water with ice cubes in it! And she loves the attention they lavish on her.
There is an off leash beach here on the resort and we’ve jumped in the ocean a couple of times with her. She’s great with it, but a bigger wave spooks her and she gets out of the water. She always wants to drink from the ocean! The first time she did, it was a big mouthful that made her start coughing. She still takes a taste, but much smaller now. Her favorite activity is chasing the geckos – not much luck for her there tho. There are a number of cats on the resort and she tries to give chase, but they don’t run.
She prefers to lay outside in the sun rather than inside in the air conditioning. We were worried she wouldn’t like the constant heat (every day is around 33-35 C) but she loves it. The other big thing with her are the birds – there are so many large birds here. She literally stops in her tracks to follow the flight of a pelican or heron or flamingo.
Here is a brief movie of a pair of green moray eels – I realize we’ve uploaded a couple of moray videos already, but this one is quite cool. They are both sizable morays, with a slightly different color. I wonder if one might be female and the other male? I don’t know, but one was quite a bit bigger than the other – not so much longer, as it was thicker than the other. And watch how wide his mouth gets when he scarfs down that fish!