After touring the colorful east side of town, we walked back across the footbridge and hired a taxi to the other side of the island
. Like almost every place we had visited, this island also had a striking division between the haves and have-nots...with mostly the have-nots. It was still disconcerting to see so much poverty outside of the main tourist areas. After passing many cacti filled vistas on this desert island, taxi driver Joe took us to Cueva de Hato (Hato Caves) . These raised limestone caves were formed many thousands of years earlier by dripping water through the porous rock. This process took so long because it does not rain very much in Curacao. Strangely, our guide had us walk many steep steps uphill before walking down inside the entrance. The beautiful caves were surprisingly hot with 90% humidity. We soon were dripping with sweat. There were the typical stalactites and stalagmites, fresh water underground pools, along with the ubiquitous fruit bats and huge cucarachas (cock roaches that ate the bat guano). The guide told us the history of escaped slaves that made the caves a temporary home, their torch soot still evident on the lower cave ceilings. Once deep down inside the caves, our guide shut the lights off to show how dark it really was. I sure would not want to be in the caves without artificial lights! After we exited the caves, taxi driver Joe (who slept while we toured) drove us back to our ship.
Later, Bone, Tom & I walked to the sea and had drinks at the Anchor Waterfront Bar & Seafood Restaurant. Below us, huge waves were crashing up on the cement walls and spraying us with salt water. They were beautiful and powerful. We went shopping in the many shops by the sea before returning to the ship in time for dinner. Tomorrow we would start our crossing of the Caribbean Sea to the BVIs (British Virgin Islands) to the northeast.
032910 Curacao: We arrived at the charming and colorful Dutch harbor of Willemstad (Curacao's capital city) early morning. The floating footbridge swung opened to allow the Star Flyer entrance into the harbor canal. We moored alongside the west side of the harbor canal’s cruise ship terminal. Bone, Tom & I walked along the harbor to the now closed footbridge and walked across the canal. The bridge moved with the waves so that I felt as if I was still on the ship. The bridge was used to connect the west & east sides of Willemstad and had lots of pedestrians. The colorful, iconic shops on the east side were shown on most every Curacao postcard. We walked to the nearby floating market on a side canal. The moored boats were full of the fresh catch of the day and smelled like it, too. Beyond were the typical tourist vendors and then the fabulous and colorful fresh fruit stands.