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!
We’ve been doing a lot of snorkeling with Mike here the last couple of weeks and we’ve been kind of quiet on the social media front. We’ve been getting up early, and hitting lots of different beaches. And of course we’ve had a few rounds of happy hour, so our days have been quite filled – Caribbean style!
We were at Playa Piskado a couple of times, since you absolutely 100% know you will be swimming with turtles. And both times we were there, it was a really good snorkel. But I managed to get a couple shots of a herd of turtles that is kinda hard to believe! Seven turtles in one shot! SEVEN! Fun stuff for sure!
New Year’s Eve is quite an event here in Curacao. For weeks before hand, shipping containers pop up all over the island, in vacant lots, beside major roads, in store parking lots, selling fireworks. And they are busy, busy, busy. People are buying armloads full of various noise makers. There is a celebration on the 29th, called Pagara, where people pop noisy fireworks to drive out the bad spirits of the last year, in preparation for the new year. It’s quite a display itself.
But on New Year’s Eve we just were not prepared for how the island goes crazy. There are major fireworks displays across the whole island. From our apartment we watched fireworks going off at least 100 places. The horizon was filled with a constant display. And it went on and on. The main displays went for well over thirty minutes. Solid color from left to right, in front and behind us. It was unreal. They were still going off at 1:30 in the morning! This island knows how to ring in the new year!
Hope you all had a great New Year! Pam and I are hoping that 2012 will be MUCH better than 2011. It would be hard to be worse of course! It was a challenging year, to say the least. Hopefully the health issues are behind us, and Pam can continue to recover from her many surgeries!
We decided to go to one of the local casinos for the New Year, and it was a crazy experience! Seemed half the island was there. They had party hats, and noise makers for everyone. They put out hundreds of glasses of free champagne for a midnight toast. They had free give aways all night, and at 1 am they had a mad-crazy balloon drop. Hundreds of balloons dropped from the ceiling, and inside of the balloons were 300 prizes! Just crazy stuff!
The fireworks were as advertised – just crazy and went on til the wee hours of the morning. I’ve included a short film here of one of the local homes that put on a display. If you look on YouTube you’ll see there are dozens of videos of Aruba’s fireworks… the Ling and Sons (a local grocery store) was particularly amazing.
We’ve seen some great stuff in the ocean the last few days… we saw a big bluespotted cornetfish, at least five feet long, who had absolutely no fear of us. Usually they are quite shy, moving off when we approach. But this guy, maybe because he was so big, just didn’t seem to care. I even dove down right into his face to snap a couple of pictures, and he stayed there, perfectly calm. They are a cool fish, and we’ve seen a few here, but this guy was the biggest, and the most fearless.
We’ve seen a number of octopus (octopi?) and one that was particularly large. We tried to get him to move, but again, no fear! I even touched him with my swimming fin, and he refused to move… he just moved his tentacle and eye-balled us!
We briefly (and I mean BRIEFLY) saw our first turtle – he was off in the distance, and when we swam toward him, he took off like a shot… really miss the turtles. Swimming with them is so cool and relaxing. Not sure why they are skittish and not hanging about…
We’re approaching New Year’s eve here, and the fireworks are going off at a rapid clip! There are fireworks shops set up at every corner, and people are buying them up like crazy. You’ll see fireworks being shot off at random times, any time of the day, and they have been going off for several days. One of the locals said that it sounds like a war zone on New Year’s eve, so be prepared! And Pam is – she has brought a pair of ear plugs!
I haven’t been doing a daily update, since most days are pretty routine – breakfast at home, jump in the ocean for a few hours, home for some lunch, a dip in the pool and soak in the hot tub, then dinner. We haven’t eaten out much, just twice since we’ve been here. I have uploaded a few pictures everyday, so you might want to check out the gallery to see what we’ve put up.
The 28th we went to Casa Tua Mediterranee – a very nice Moroccan/Greek style restaurant. It is located in the new Palm Beach Mall, which is just a short drive from our timeshare. It’s on the second floor, so we were able to sit outside, and people watch. The food was very good. We started with some Greek Keftedes, meatballs in a fresh tomato sauce. Very tasty. Also some Tunisian Meat Brecka, which are philo pastry stuffed with spicy beef. Tasty, but needed more than two!
For the entree, Pam had the Chicken and Lemon Tajine – a tajine is a typical Moroccan lidded cooking vessel. It was very good, but Pam objected to the many olives! I had the Couscous Casa Tua, also served in a tajine. It was a tasty dish of beef and lamb, with plenty of vegetables, slow cooked in a wonderful broth. Both our dishes were served with couscous. We were too full for dessert! The total bill including three glasses of beer and one strawberry daquiri was $61 dollars. Very nice value.
They also had a bellydancer, who performed nearly continuously throughout the meal in various locations around the restaurant. She had a small space inside to perform, but then would come out to the balcony and perform at each table. She was very good, and rather attractive!
Snorkeling the last few days has been fun, as usual. We’ve seen octopus, lionfish, barracuda, and many other fish of course. About the only thing we have not seen is a turtle. Used to be we’d see them at Malmok all the time, but we’ve never been here over Christmas. And I have to say, the place is PACKED! Lots of boats, just full of snorkelers. It sure has been busy.
The stores too, have been busy. Getting into the grocery stores has been crazy some days! The parking lots are full, and we’ve had to create our own parking spots, just sort of pull over and abandon it! We gassed up today, and they will close at 5:59 PM – not 6:00 o’clock – 5:59!
Anyway – Happy NEW YEAR everyone! Hope you have a great time!