Friday, January 02, 2009

Lizard traffic

So I thought I would share a few musings about life here in Curacao (on Curacao?)

I absolutely adore the mornings. I have been incredibly good about sticking to the recently commenced 25K training schedule (year two!) -- haven't missed a day. So, to run before breakfast I get up at 6:15, and as I stretch and prepare I watch two things through my window: the breaking dawn and, most days, the morning cruise ship slooooowly making its way into the Willemstad harbor. Our hotel is basically on the water, and it amuses me that the "traffic" I watch from my window consists of ships and boats instead of buses and cars and taxis. Two seconds from our parking lot is the entryway to the "Coredor" which is a run/walk path along the water, and that's where I go through the paces. On the days I've slept "in" ('til 7) I hit the path in the evening, but I prefer the mornings. There are so many birds!!! I love how they sound as I exit the parking lot in the fresh daylight.

What I do love about the evenings are the gorgeous sunsets. A blazing orange disk just sits atop the blue expanse for a few minutes, simple but utterly beautiful. I have staunchly defended Arizona sunsets my entire life, but I've got to say that they now officially have some competition.

Besides birds, birds that really enjoy hanging out at the hotel terrace and scavenging the breakfast leftovers I might add, there are also lizards and iguanas. Many, many lizards. On New Year's Day, I slept in (not "in," but in, until 9:30 a.m.!) and ate breakfast (served at the hotel until 10) first, then went on my walk around noon. (One day a week in the training schedule is a walk; the other five are runs.) At that time of day there were insane amounts of lizards and an iguana or two in my path on the sidewalks. Some of them were fast, too! They generally scamper away upon hearing a human coming, and there were so many out that day that sometimes I'd even slow a bit because there would be three just in my path, inches away, but one particular lizard was just tearing along in the grass growing alongside the sidewalk. I could hear him and occasionally see him as he would pop up to run a few inches up the wall, then back down, and so on with these loops at quite a clip. It was impressive. At the end of the walk I realized I'd spent time with more lizards than people at that point in the new year. (This may still be true, honestly, at the rate we see them here.) You all must surely know how happy this makes me: lizards eat bugs!

Watching the cruise ships trips me out a bit. It's exciting enough for me when they arrive just because it's fun, even though it's almost a daily occurrence and we all came and will go via airplane. But I cannot even begin to fathom what it must have been like for "New World" settlers waiting, yearning, hoping each day for a ship's arrival to bring supplies, news, and tidings from home. As remote and surrounded by vast vastness as we may be, we definitely have it easy, too.

I watched the Rose Bowl in a fantastic sports bar on the water, another picturesque setting that almost didn't seem real. And for New Year's Eve, we were at a dance club on the beach to count down, cheer, and watch fireworks at midnight. I really like this whole dance-club-on-the-beach concept. You've got sand, waves, a bar, a dance floor. Some big slabs of rock on which to perch. And then you're just grooving with the dj, sweaty people, red and blue lights, but you look up and there are stars. Can't beat that. The New Year's Eve dance party really kicked into high gear after midnight, and with drinks flowing under the thatched roof and palm trees all around, it was surreal to hear, "Though it's cold and lonely in the deep dark night, I can see paradise by the dashboard light." Apparently that's Meat Loaf's biggest hit in the Netherlands, and we're kind of in the Netherlands, so there you go. Speaking of the Dutch, they all speak remarkably good English, of course, but I was quite impressed with how well they busted out the lyrics to "Summer Lovin'," "You're the One That I Want," etc. from Grease.

Amid all the paradise, though, there is the downside that we have been strongly admonished not to walk anywhere alone or anywhere after dark (except possibly down the street to the Hilton) and especially nowhere alone after dark. This is particularly annoying because taxis are expensive. So I'm not really getting to wander and explore the city as I love to do when I travel, but rather I am getting it in fits and starts when a group of us goes out and about. Oh, well.

That's all the anecdotes for now. The hotel bar downstairs has karaoke on Friday nights! And this is my last Friday night here in Curacao already ... my, my!

No comments: