Before talking about this island, I wanted to share "The Ongoing Misadventures of Steve (& Lisa). Back on Aruba, we had problems with the GPS mapping service trying to get us to drive the wrong way on one way streets (which we did once, much to the consternation and honking of the native Arubians). Because of this, we ran late getting to the restaurant on our last night there and were unable to find parking anywhere close. Steve dropped me off to let them know that we were there, and he went off to find parking. As he walked up, he said that he realized he didn't have his wallet. The hostess asked for a credit card number (that he had on his phone), but when she tried to run it through the machine by hand, it wouldn't take it. He was going to let me eat, while he went back to our apt. for his wallet, but the hostess was sweet and said for us to enjoy our dinner, and then email our card number to her when we got back to our room! He found another card number in his phone (that worked on her machine), and we had a delicious and stress free dinner. Here in Curacao, we're running into weird GPS issues also, but we've learned to stick to main streets, rather than following the directions and heading down someone's driveway. I won't go into the evening the GPS quit working altogether -- as we were driving to a restaurant (aarrgghhh).
Our first day on Curacao was spent walking around downtown Willemstad, the capital. It has a very European feel, mixed with Caribbean influence.
There is a harbor that cuts through the middle of "downtown", with the two sides joined by a floating pedestrian bridge. This opens up to let ocean going ships through, and we were lucky enough to see it swinging open. While it's open, there's a free ferry on each side to get people across. As we were wandering through the city, we heard a ship's horn blasting, and caught glimpses of the ship passing by, and it was taller than the buildings!
We also did a tour of the Curacao liqueur factory and learned how to make some cocktails. The liqueur is made from the peels of Lahara oranges, that are hung in gunny sacks (along with cloves and other spices) in the distilling vat. Curacao liqueur is actually clear, and they just add blue food coloring (or red or yellow or green) to achieve the color that you usually associate with the drink.
The next day we drove up the west coast of the island to snorkel (no pictures, sorry - it was nothing like our diving, but still enjoyable) and stopped along the road to peer at some flamingos.
We're going to have a lazy day today.