Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Paradise Chronicles - Day 3
It appears that I left the connection cord which allows me to download photos to the computer from the camera - at home. So for now, I will spare you the photo I took of the exquisite sunset dipping into the ocean perched next to last night's cocktail at the little beach restaurant located about 1/4 mile down the beach from me. We fed our basket of bread to all the fish gathered under our table at the edge of the dock. The water is absolutely clear - you could see the bottom clearly at ten feet, and the fish are everywhere. I had conch ceviche and fresh barracuda for dinner.

I spent yesterday with a new friend from Winnipeg, CA, exploring the island. Being just 20 miles long and 6 miles wide, and largely uninhabited along the windward side of the island, it doesn't take long. Historic lighthouse, little chapel, rock formations, and then we ran across a local flea market where some locals had set up a BBQ, so we grabbed some napkins and tucked in - YUM. Got some good local shots of goats, chickens, dogs and donkeys, and the rest of the island is pretty much cacti and divi divi trees bent over at 90 degrees from the winds.

There's a cultural oddity here. The Chinese. They own and operate every single grocery enterprise on the island, including Tio Pepe's - the Spanish bodega in my neighborhood. And there is a plethora of little Chinese restaurants dotting the island from top to bottom. I asked my hostess Inecke about it. "Ya", she says, "they are from Venezuela and Suriname". At some point in the past, a large influx from the Chinese mainland - notably Hong Kong and Taiwan, settled in Venezuela and made their way to Aruba. The reasons for their monopoly in the grocery business are still a little hazy.

Speaking of grocery stores....this is a Dutch enclave. So I might have actually squealed like a little girl when I realized I can get all my Dutch food favorites here like Vla, Kwark, Stroopwafel, Conimex sauces, bierworstjses, and good Dutch cheese. I found that the geckos hanging on the wall of my bungalow like to eat Dutch cheese. They keep the mosquitos at bay, so I'm getting used to them hanging around. I am less used to the ginormous cockroach I found perched in my wine glass, half soused from a good cabernet. Luckily - he was on the little table on the veranda, and not in the bungalow.

Today, I am going to drop my Canadian friend off at the airport because her 2.5 week diving vacation in Aruba, Bon Aire, and Curacao has come to an end, and then I'm going to explore the main city of Oranjestaad before heading back here for a late afternoon snorkel. With my Teutonic curse of blue eyes, white skin and freckles which are now blooming like bad weeds into a mottled tan, I need to stay out of the sun, or cover up, for the hours between 10-3, and the sun is really intense here.
posted by Broadsheet @ 7:25 AM  
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