or else Kòrsou in papiamentu, is one of the ‘pearls’ that embrace Caribbean’s neck, located only 150km above Venezuela. Curaçao gained its self-government in 1954 while its autonomy within the kingdom of Netherlands was established in 2010. Even though it is a tropical island, its climate is relatively dry preventing epidemic diseases to spread, one of the biggest problems around tropics in the past. This unique characteristic granted its name – Curaçao* – the healing heart, since the sailors used to travel to this island to get cured.
That was my first transatlantic trip, first non-European experience. I landed in Hato Airport on the 6th of January escaping rapidly from another freezing winter in Amsterdam. Imagine me with three layers of clothes, plus a fleece and a leather jacket stepping my foot out of the aircraft. The heat shock was immediate. The layers went off within seconds while an instant naughty thought put a bright smile on my face. The lady in the passport-check gave me a look like disapproving my presence on the island since I was apparently one of the gazillion tourists that come here to parade their ‘developed’ habits without getting any clue of the Caribbean breeze. I thanked her silently for welcoming me in her way to another kind of living.
The pick-up car brought me to a sweet yellow house that was going to be my base for the next six weeks. We drove through palm trees while the sun was reigning down. I closed my eyes and let the sweet salty air fill my soul with joy.
First thing next morning we had an introduction in the Tropical Marine Biology course that I was about to attend. I hadn’t realized till that day that the complete existence of this island was based on: volcano eruptions, decreased water level and coral reefs. The entire island is a massive coral reef that came out of the sea due to an eruption, the corals died since they were emerged, forming the land that we walk on.
The afternoon we jumped in the water, fully equipped and with enough air for this breathtaking experience. The reef was still there, still alive, trying to keep up and outcompete our incapability of respecting nature’s creations.
The day came to an end with a cool beer, gazing another beautiful sunset, convincing me that this is the life to live, colorful like Curaçao!
curaçao*:state of becoming cured, coraçao=heart, in portugues