Monthly Archives: February 2013

My Green Island


Hello out there in Snow Land,

I’m embarrassed to say it but here it is balmy, breezy and beautiful. I feel so lucky to be here and dread the fact that I have to leave March 4. So this is my last communique’ from Paradise.

Wanted to tell you about the green and not-so-green here.

Even though this is an ARID island, not a lush one like Jamaica or Grenada, the landscape is totally green. The cacti are a beautiful green and the green shrubs and trees are everywhere. The trick is to plant stuff that doesn’t need much water. Here in my garden, I have a lot of aloe (now with yellow flowers in bloom), a Jacquinia tree with white fragrant blossoms like a jasmine, a Pokewood tree with blue flowers on my deck overlooking the pool, a very tall Euphorbia that looks like a cactus but isn’t (no thorns), a Brazilwood tree with yellow flowers, lots of yucca, bougainvillea of all colors, etc.

(The only time you see lots of hibiscus, lantana, and other well-loved tropical flowers is at the hotels where they have irrigation systems going full-blast.)

The giant NOT-SO-GREEN feature is that there is no recycling in Curacao. Makes kitchen work much easier: just throw away the dirty container. No rinsing even. Yikes, I feel like a criminal throwing away all those plastic triangles.

Some good green are the 3 wind-farms. 2 are on desolate beaches and 1 is in a residential area (and nobody’s complaining). Also the excess steam from the giant desalination plant (I’ve written about how good our water is right from the tap) goes to power a process at the oil refinery, which along with tourism, is a great economic engine here and is sited so that tourists never see it.

The avocados here are giant Kelly-green balls, the Florida-type, not like those skimpy little Haas avocados we get back home. Another interesting green food is “Yard Beans”: these are like string beans except they’re at least 2 feet long (maybe some are actually a yard-long, so you get a lot of bean for your money!). Then there are Green Papayas — you cook them like a vegetable. Their ripe color is green and they never ripen to yellow like the fruit papaya we know. (One of my favorite local dishes is Papaya Stoba, papaya stewed with pork.)

What’s not so green is the water which is turquoise. I did my first SCUBA dive of the year this past Thursday and I’m so feeble it took me a day and a half to rest up from it. Intend to do just one more before leaving. (BTW, I capitalize SCUBA because it is an acronym — like UNESCO — for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Thanks, JJCousteau and others.)

My big adventure was hosting 2 of my Ohio cousins off their cruise ship for a day. It was so fabulous to see them after such a long time, and although they had cruised here before and seen the capital city quite thoroughly, this was the first time they had seen the boonies, where I live. Imagine their shock!

Very fondly signing off (until next winter) from My Green Island,