November 24, 2008
Well after a delayed ( and a long delay at that) return flight on Surname Airways and a ridiculous immigration line in Trinidad I am back on the ground and dealing with all that means. Peter P met me and he let me use his car to get home from his place and since my car is not fully serviced I am still using it. It was weird driving on the “right side” again but I managed at 1:30am when I was supposed to be back at 8:15pm the previous day. Cascade was normal looking until I rounded the curve and saw that the flood damage had affected my area. The security gates are stuck in the open position, all the vegetation was washed away and there were piles of mud everywhere.
My place is up on a hill so there was no damage in my living space but it was weird having to pass all the damage. I stayed at home on Friday as i had a lot of laundry and cleaning to do and did a quick trip to the grocery but that was the extent of my outings for the day. The mud on the main road has now turned to dust so Cascade feels like the place that the ABCs are normally. The irony is not lost on me.
I produced and anchored news on Saturday and just produced on Sunday so Giselle could do a perfect job of anchoring. Watching her read after 2 weeks was a great experience as I see how far she has come. I pray the Beeb does not snatch her from us as she is close to a perfect news reader now.
I still have to research Tobago and also Trinidad as despite living here much of the time there is a lot I have to get right as Fodor’s does not accept poor information and least of all my editors. This should be fun…I imagine my days will be very long between ieTV and Fodor’s for the next little while. Fun? What is that?
I will say, though, after this many years of doing this I really miss my friends on the ABC islands including Susan at Bucuti, Ricardo and Monique, Rolando, Anabela and Bobby from the wonderful Pinchos in Aruba, Stephen in Curacao ( what a revelation he was) , Delno Tromp from Bonaire and Curacao..so many great people. I am truly a lucky guy to have crossed paths with such wonderful people and I am hoping to do so again next year. Traveling is a revelation as you realize that we are all very similar and that goodness and generosity of heart transcend national boundaries.Though Susan is now back in Miami I think I miss her the most as we have an intellectual connection and I consider her a friend par excellence…they don’t come along that often …I wish her the best as she pursues her dreams and I hope she knows that.
Tomorrow I hope to get the hearse back and I will commence my interviews here on Tuesday. Fodor’s T&T will slip in somewhere in between the ABC writing. It will all come together. Having traveled on islands that have no natural drinking water but have managed I am dealing with the fact my condo, on an island full of fresh water, has no water at, all with a rather circumspect approach. If I say I am on vacation it all seems amusing and somehow better. Bucket bath anyone?
November 17, 2008
This is such a beautiful island and it screams to be photographed. Today was just the usual flurry of Stephen and I running around to various properties. Willemstad is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it truly deserves the nomenclature. It is like a strange slice of Europe in the Caribbean. Cobblestones, magnificent architecture, lovely small shops…all here and all delightful.
Had dinner at Fort Nassau high above the city and actually enjoyed it though the portions were too big for me. Perfect carpaccio, tender ultra rare steak and an incredible view. Not bad though Fort Nassau is not exactly an affordable place.
I think I may need to take advantage of my EU passport and move here and open an affordable restaurant based on true Caribbean fusion. I can do it and it would put me in a place that I love and that is close to Bonaire ( the place I love for no rational reason) and Aruba where I have friends.
This might be a life changing trip..and practical too..I could save a fortune on airfare every year if I lived here. Interestingly, before my first trip to Curacao I had a very vivid dream in which I was in a church yard and was walking around looking at a peculiar above ground cemetery and exploring the grounds. When I arrived in Curacao I was being driven around and the actual church in my dream came into view. I screamed..STOP!! And I walked around the property and it was exactly what I saw in my dream and explained why I was puzzled by the architecture in my dream. Curacao architecture is unique so small wonder I could not place it. Since that time I have felt an affinity for Curacao. Stephen kindly stopped at the church today for me to see it and I was reminded of why I have a bond with this island. My dreams told me about it before i ever arrived.
November 16, 2008
Today was the day I said another said farewell to perfect little Bonaire and, it being my last day, naturally storm clouds rolled in. I puttered around my room and eventually ended up at the restaurant for a quick sandwich and some welcome WiFi surfing before Rolando arrived to take me to Flamingo Airport. I bid farewell to the lovely Rolando and eventually made my way onto the wretched 14 seater Insel plane I have come to loathe so much. I don’t like small planes and I especially don’t like small planes in bad weather. It was, predictably, a rough 20 minutes in the air before I was finally able to release my grasp on the bottom of my seat and unclench my jaw on arrival at Hato in Curacao.
Stephen was there to meet me as arranged and we basically it hit off right away as he is quite the great conversationalist. We arrived at my first Hotel the Kura Hulanda which I have always known to be an exceptional property but have never stayed in it. It is not a normal hotel in fact it is as far from a normal hotel as can be imagined.It is essentially a village in Willemstad that had a number of fine 18th and 19th century buildings that a Dutch billionaire bought up as a ruin and then restored with attention to every detail. It is now an 80 room luxury hotel in the form of a village and I don’t mean theme park here…it is completely authentic. You walk through a maze of cobblestone streets and lush landscaping to your room in one of the original homes in the area. My suite is so unbelievably beautiful and luxurious I was almost taken aback when the bellhop showed me around.
Picture 2 king beds, antiques galore, a lovely sitting area, a writing area, a small dining area and a step-up bath and you get the picture. I can’t imagine a more atmospheric and spacious room anywhere. Now it is not a cheap room ( about $700 US a night) but honestly it is as romantic as all get out.The hardest part of this trip will be leaving the room.
I also had a chance to chat with Delno at Kura Hulanda’s sister property on the other side of the island. He suggested I stay with him for the rest of the trip and I am trying to figure out if that will be possible given the 45 minute drive from Willemstad. Still, he is one of the funniest and warmest people I know so I will try to make it work as I know we would have a blast. In any case I have decided I will come and visit him on vacation just for the pleasure of his company. We will discuss the logistics of this trip over breakfast tomorrow.
Now if you will excuse me I am going to sit in my antique dining area and admire my room.