Bon Bini — Papiamentu for “Welcome.”
Welcome, newbies, to the never-ending saga of the Boston suburbanite working on the delicious/delightful Dutch island of Curacao.
This island just gets beautifuller and beautifuller. In addition to the ocean below, I’ve got a 10′ x 22′ pool, which I like to swim in after dark. This is because there’s no light pollution here and from the pool I see every darn constellation possible in our galaxy. It’s easy to make out Orion, Cassiopeia, and maybe the Dippers and the Pleiades, but HELP! there are so many more out there that’s it’s frustrating to be so ignorant!
I’m also grooving on the silence. No noise pollution either. Which was shattered, to my chagrin, on New Year’s Eve. The Dutch traditionally do firecrackers for New Year’s: half are the beautiful kind, and half are ear-splitting noise. From the terrace of my best friend Alicia’s house, I saw many of the beautiful ones in a panoramic display. (BTW, fireworks are legal for purchase by anyone here.) When I got home, I saw one or two “beautifuls” but then my very own next-door neighbors launched some that seemed like atomic bombs! Yikes! The cat ran under the bed.) Generally, the lack of light pollution and noise pollution makes sleepy Lincoln, MA (my home town) seem like Times Square in comparison.
I have finally eaten lionfish. Unless you’re a diver or marine biologist, you might not realize that lionfish (a gorgeous/venomous denizen of the tropical Pacific; google it) has become the scourge of the Caribbean. (Probably released — i.e., disposed of — irresponsibly by hobby acquarists.) Here it has no predators and its population has exploded so that you see them on every dive, though they don’t belong here. There are organizations and individual divers who try to capture and destroy them, but it may be too little too late.
Anyway, the saying goes, the only proper place for a lionfish is on your plate. So I ordered it. Turns out it looks pretty on the plate (they gave me 4 fish: 2 little and 2 big; I wasn’t expecting that); it’s all striped and attractive. But it’s totally insipid! You would like it if you hate bluefish and swordfish, and love haddock. Big surprise for me since I expected something stronger-tasting, given the rep of the fish.
Honey is another thing to enjoy here. (Try good honey in your coffee, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.) My fave is the honey from Bazbina Farm (don’t you love the sound of that name?), where right on the label it says in Papiamentu: “Si bo ten problema ku abeha yama 667-5674 —-.” “if you have problems with bees, call 667-etc”. Obviously, this is the real thing, honey. You betcha, he’ll relieve you of your unwanted swarm.
Yes, I’m living the life of Riley/Reilly, especially since my tour business has really picked up, thanks to appearing on an app that is on iPhones and Androids. I try to avoid cruise ship passengers because I’m afraid they don’t have the curiosity to enjoy the things I do, but I accept them if they insist. See my website www.CuracaoWithDiana.com, to get an idea of my approach.
Stay tuned. Meanwhile, I’m wishing you a 2013 full of joy, peace and health!!! Diana