(Guest Post by Ryan King, Author of the Land of Tomorrow Series)
In truth it is. Curacao is the largest of six islands in the Caribbean that make up the Dutch Antilles. I recently visited the island and was overwhelmed by its beauty, culture, and rich history.
Discovered by the Spanish in the early part of the 16th century, it was disregarded despite its excellent harbor and labeled useless on their maps because it had no gold. During the Netherlands Eight Years War with Spain the Dutch took possession of the island primarily as a source of scarce salt. The island served for centuries afterwards as an important trading outpost, source of salt, and as a fairly poor agricultural colony.
I was surprised to see this tropical hilly island covered in tall barrel cactuses, giant agave plants, and fields of wild aloe vera plants. There were plenty of trees, but they were hearty ones like the mesquite tree that can withstand low annual rainfall. I’ve always been fond of southern Arizona and if you placed an ocean completely around it…you would get Curacao.
Although the temperatures typically stay in the 70-95 degree range depending on the time of year, it rarely feels hot. This is due to the constant trade winds that blow across the island. The winds also serve to make annoying flying insects extremely difficult to find. Countless species of beautify tropical song birds fill the island and wake you in the morning to their melody.
The rarely visited, at least for tourists, north side of the island is the real beauty. Although most visitors stay around the southern capital of Williamsted and its lush beaches, resorts, historical town center, cozy bars, and wonderful restaurants, the northern rock faces are the jewels on the sea. Huge warm waves crash in against sheer coral rock faces. Inlets are typically filled with giant sea turtles grazing on the thick sea grass that grows there. The sights are awe-inspiring and make it difficult to leave.
Aruba is the most popular of the Dutch Antilles islands, known as the Las Vegas of the Caribbean. Yet, Curacao is more relaxed and peaceful. The residents take time to enjoy the weather, a nice drink, and the wonderful views (admitted there isn’t much for many of them to do on an island with nearly 40% unemployment). Despite this high unemployment, violent crime is almost unheard of.
For hundreds of years the residents of Curacao have had a saying they have used with the Dutch main-landers, and it still seems to apply even today.
“You Dutch have the clocks, but we the time.”
Ryan King is a career army officer with multiple combat tours who continues to serve in the military. He has lived, worked, and traveled throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. He writes post-apocalyptic, dystopian, thriller, horror, and action short stories, short novels, and novels.