Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Vaster and vaster

Well, here I am. In Curacao! I know what you're thinking right now; you're thinking, "Where on earth is that?" This is even better than when I went to Honduras. For those who falter in geography double Jeopardy: Curacao Map. Yeah, have a look. Little island, eh? It was kind of trippy when we were landing in Aruba. (I stopped there first. Go on back to the map again if you need to, I'll wait.) I gazed out the plane window and just saw all this water. Sparkling and vast. And oh, looky there, a tiny little bit of land. It's so crazy. I'm just on this little bit of land. I *really* trip out at people who've lived there for their entire lives. Now, I like islands, and I like hanging out on them, unless there are cockroaches, but here I've seen hundreds of lizards and nary a roach (knock on wood), so this one would be flawless except for the fact that it really trips me out to be on this tiny, remote place!!

Islands are so weird! Not just Long Island. In fact, good ol' Wrong Island never even feels like an island, because you can get out of it via so many roads. And I mean, I realize that, technically, every piece of land is an island. But you know what I mean: island in the sense of what "island" connotes. Is there such a thing as geographic reverse claustrophobia? (Perhaps I just invented it. Hook me up with a DSM!) People with claustrophobia get anxious about being in small, confined spaces, right? I get a bit anxious when I'm confronted with the vastness that surrounds me.

So, our hotel is essentially at the water. Each day I go for my little run along a run path on the beach, gazing at all that vast sparkling. The Hilton and Marriott are down the road and I spend time there, too, for their beaches, spas, gift shops, and the like. Our hotel is sort of minimalist as far as fancy amenities go, but it does have a pool, restaurant with outdoor terrace seating and free breakfast, and a bar with an awesome peacemaking bartender. More later about the fight in which his peacemaking skills were on display.

Among other things since arriving, I have: attended "three weeks worth" of classes (accelerated winter session, of course), seen an old plantation house and slaves' quarters, clambered around rocky shores, drunk a pina colada on the most picturesque beach ever, eaten good food, gone to a dance club on the beach, drunk a lot of Heineken, met fun people, spoken a little Spanish, lounged on a beach chair, swum, walked across the floating bridge, danced...did I mention all that lounging on a Caribbean beach? I LOVE IT.

I'm sad I did not start blogging on the first day. Well, the first day I was stuck in Aruba for a while, but how about the second day? Being stuck in Aruba was all right; I met people also headed here for this program and every time an airline rep sort of ambled over to say, "Oh, your plane leaves maybe in thirty minutes" we knew it was time to go have another beer or two.

There are about fifty students, a mix of Hofstra and U Baltimore students plus one or two each from some other schools thrown in. The professors, of course, are totally cool and mellow. I knew they would be. However there is this little matter of having to do a semester's worth of reading, with glorious ocean views and tropical rum punches all around...

I will try to be a better blogger as the time goes on. Can't believe I'm one-fifth of the way through the trip already!


Kim Diaz said...

Agoraphobia: fear of open spaces or public places.

linda said...

But that's not quite right. It's definitely not the public thing. It's just a vastness thing. Like, New York, Seoul, ten million people ... all good. But there's something about being a castaway. I'm afraid Ben's going to move the island.