Parrots and Small Animals Sanctuary (4)

The women go topside where they are joined by a couple from Holland, Pieter and Mari.

Pieter:     Willemstad reminds me a lot of Holland.
Mari:       Except for the pastel colored buildings, 

Donita:     Are the houses anything like this in     
Mari:       The architecture is very similar, but    
            most people don’t have porches, shutters or the 
Pieter:     The weather is not this warm so most     
            people don’t sit around too much. They like to  
            be outside hiking or riding bikes.
Sandra:     Look, they’re throwing the lines toward  
            the dock... that man is tying the ropes to the  
            back of the trucks... now the trucks are driving 
            across the pier. So that’s how they tie up the  
Pieter:     Mari and I were here three years ago and 
            really enjoyed seeing the floating market, and  
            the museums. You might want to go just west of  
            the floating bridge to the Ortabanda district. 
Mari:       In the 17th century it was a place of    
            quarantine for lepers. In the center of the     
            square, is a statue of Pedro Luis Brion, one of 
            Curacao’s most beloved historical figures. 
Donita:     What did he do?
Pieter:     He lead the islanders in a fight against 
            the British in the 19th century. Then he went to 
            join the Venezuelan freedom fighters. 
Mari:       It’s very easy to get lost in the area,  
            but the maze-like design was done on purpose. It 
            was thought to be an easy way to stop invaders  
            who would find it easier to pillage along neatly 
            aligned streets.
Sandra:     A very smart plan!
Mari:       Some people say Curacao is a “cross”     
            between South America and the Caribbean Sea.
Donita:     Why is that?
Mari:       There seems to be more than 40 different 
            cultures that are represented here.
Sandra:     What languages are spoken?
Pieter:     Dutch, English and French.
Donita:     Are we ready to go ashore?
All:        Yes, let’s go!

Willemstad, Curacao

They all say goodbye after agreeing to get together later on the ship. Donita and Sandra cross the floating bridge, then pay for a guided tour of the area. They visit the oldest Jewish Temple in the America, see the floating market lines de Ruyterkade, where small boats arrive daily laden with fresh produce and fish. The driver takes them through the Scharloo and Pietermaai Districts where mansions which date from the 1700’s have been restored. Then they go to the Kura Hulanda Hotel and Museum. They soberly look at the exhibits of African slave trade. A guide gives them a leaflet to read. Then they go back to the ship.

While waiting for Pieter and Mari, Sandra and Donita read the information from the museum:

C1000 BC     Caiquetios communities on Cauracao

1AD          Arawak tribes reach Curacao. Caiquetios people 

1514         Spaniards name the Lesser Antiles Islas        
             Inutiles useless islands

1515         European colonists kidnap indigenous Americans 
             for slavery

1516         Colonization begins on Curacao

1634         Aruba and Curacao are Dutch possessions

1636         Dutch forces expelled from St. Maarten, move to 
             Aruba and claim land.

1648         ABC islands unite as Curacao

1805         British control ABC islands during Napoleonic  

1815         Dutch regain control

1824         Gold is discovered on Aruba

1828         Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, St. Eustatius,  
             St. Maarten, and Dutch Guiana unite as Dutch   
             West Indies

1863         Slaaves emancipated

1922         Islands become overseas region of Netherlands

1924         Oil is discovered

1948         Dutch islands are renamed Netherlands Antilles, 
             Guiana becomes Suriname
Author: Torsten Daerr