Monthly Archives: January 2012

Go back a few days, OK?

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Or you’ll miss my stuff about Papayas.  I drafted it a week ago and then thought I’d lost it. But when I re-discovered it and posted it, they gave it the date (way back when) when I first started writing it.

Other cool stuff at my website www.CuracaoWithDiana.com.

Ciao 4 nao, Di

 

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The Costa Concordia cruise ship — here in Curacao!

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Yesterday, the Costa Mediterranea was in port here in Curacao.  It is a monster of a ship — huge, gigantic, words-fail-me — and just happens to be the sister ship (same exact design and same cruise line) of the Costa Concordia which ran aground on the Italian island of Giglio (means lily) a few days ago.
It just so happens that (before my Curacao incarnation) I lived in Italy for many, many years and visited a lot of the islands on vacation  — Elba, Ponza, Ischia, Giglio, etc.  And I’m also a scuba diver.
I won’t speak to the captain’s actions on leaving passengers aboard his ship while saving his own skin.  But I do know one thing for sure: the captain of the C.Concordia would have to be either drunk or a moron even to consider buzzing the Giglio so his onshore buddies could admire his dream ship. 
All those islands are surrounded by dangerous reefs and are visited by small boats, the largest being a small inter-island ferry.  Rowboats, yes.  Yachts, yes.  Ocean-going skyscraper hotels, nope. The captain’s name is Francesco Schettino.  I prefer to call him Captain Cretino (= cretin, idiot, etc.) 

I’m sorry I didn’t have my camera with me so I could send you pix of the towering sister ship, because the photos on TV showing half a ship on its side, don’t begin to give you an idea of its enormous size when it was afloat. 
Tell me what you think,too.  Your ever-lovin’ correspondent, Diana

Papayas and Papayas

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BTW,  I always forget to mention that you can find out more about Curacao and/or me, at my website www.CuracaoWithDiana.com.

As you can imagine there are many kinds of Papayas in the world, but I never realized it until I started spending the winter in Curacao.

What we get in the States is the Maridol Cuban type.  Long like a football and quite red inside, with lots of black seeds.  Here they have 2 types, Venezuelan and Curacaoan.  The Venezuelan type which is also grown here) are also long with seeds, but there are 2 types – the ones for eating raw as a fruit turn yellow when ripe; the ones for cooking (yes, cooking) stay green. They make a delicious papaya stew with pork from those; completely yummy.)

The special Curacaoan papayas are completely round and – – – get this – – – no seeds.  Turns out there are 3 types of plants: male, female and hermaphrodite.  The females HAVE NO SEEDS, and are literally sweeter than sugar.  I eat them whenever I can.  Supposedly there are 5 types of flowers on the hermaphrodite plants.  (I must check them out at my friend’s mini-farm.)  Notice that I said plants not “trees.”  For it turns out the papaya is a herbaceous plant, whereas the mango comes from an actual tree.  And that is why I am so fearful that my round papaya supply will come to an end if my friend’s plants rot out with all the rain they’ve had this year. (La Nina’s fault, of course.)

Today at lunch, I had to “make do” with a papaya from Venezuela, the La Indiana type it’s called.  Still scrumptious.  No complaints.

Ciao 4 nao, Diana

A tour with a twist

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The day of New Year’s Eve, I led a tour of the western part of the island, my “Natural Wonders” Tour.  There are really some amazing things to see there:  an incredibly wild stretch of ocean with 7 “mouths” or inlets, where the waves shoot up 20+ ft. in the air (not for beaching it!– our beaches are on the other coast), the oldest tree in the Caribbean, wild flamingos, including some babies, etc., etc.  My “guests” were two couples from Tulsa, OK and they loved the tour and had tons of fun.

In short all went well until I was driving them back to their hotel.  And suddenly I had a flat tire (the roads can be terrible).  Well, those two Southern Gentlemen didn’t miss a beat:  they got right out of the car, and changed the tire in the tall grass by the side of the road, in the blazing sun, and we were on our way again.

Moral of the story — aside from renewed appreciation of Oklahomans — instead of going to the New Year’s party where I was expected, I crashed at 10:30pm to the sound of firecrackers.  No regrets either!

Here’s a picture of that wild and crazy ocean:

How I love this island!  Visit me, Diana

 

Birds of Paradise 2

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  I promised you pix of    bananaquits and the bare-eyed pigeon, and here they are!

But the captions I wrote are not showing up, alas.  So I’m writing new ones.

The bananaquit is the size of a small sparrow and is called in the local language, Papiamentu, a “barriga gel,”  which means yellow belly.  They are very jolly to have around.

Bare-eyed Pigeon

The bare-eyed pigeon is a huge bird. bigger than our street pigeons. Here they call it “Ala blanca,” meaning white wing.  But I think the English version is much truer to the distinctive feature of this bird.

Birds of Paradise

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Living here, or in my case just wintering here, is like living in an aviary.  My cottage is on a cliff overlooking the sea, but I’m surrounded by beautiful trees and shrubs.  The birds are always around me.  An Emerald Hummingbird visits the flowers on the Ixora bushes, 2 Bare-Eyed Pigeons engaged in courting behavior on a railing, Bananaquits and Rufous-collared Sparrows actually come inside the house to visit.

At home in Lincoln, Massachusetts, I am a birder, meaning somebody who goes somewhere with binoculars specifically to see interesting birds.  But here the birds come to me.

I am going to post photos of Bananaquits (yellow bellies they call them here) and a Bare-Eyed Pigeon, a much bigger bird than our street pigeons.  If I can figure out how to do that!