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June 9, 2010 / ebretzel

Beautiful Bonaire

This is the sight that greeted us when we awoke in Bonaire. The water was so blue, the landscape flat and the architecture clearly of a Dutch influence. Bonaire is part of the Netherland Antilles islands, explaining the architecture. It was much more arid than the first 3 islands and didn’t really have sandy beaches. Instead, it had “beaches” made up of giant chunks of coral (ouch!). The island is actually surrounded by a giant coral reef, making it a fantastic place for snorkeling and fish-sighting. In fact, just walking along the pier we spotted vibrant blue and yellow fish swimming in the water right next to us.

We didn’t have any plans for Bonaire so we wandered around the city, stopping in at an information center where we picked up a self-guided walking tour. It was HOT and very sunny, the shrub-like vegetation provided very little shade. We went past a convent/school and stopped in at a very pretty church. I was totally impressed by the mosaic-tiled backdrop behind the altar which depicted holy figures on a beach.

We followed the tour out to a museum which was closed for the next 2 hours over lunch. Thus ended our walking tour and we turned around to go back. On the way we passed an older couple who looked like tourists and we asked if they were headed to the museum. They replied yes, and we informed them that it was not open. They looked very disappointed since it was a rather long, hot walk out there and they were not exactly in the best of shape for walking.

Emily by the Plumeria "tree"

A few years ago, my in-laws brought us a Plumeria plant from Hawaii. If you have never seen one before, it looks like a fat stick. Once you plant it, it begins to grow leaves and eventually is supposed to flower. Ours has never gotten past maybe 5-6 leaves before they all fall off and it goes dormant again. In the few years we’ve had it I suppose the stick part has grown maybe 2-3 inches. Well, we were very surprised to find a plumeria plant the size of a tree growing in someone’s yard!

When we arrived back at the pier it was bustling with tourists. It’s amazing to think of the ebb and flow of tourists on islands like this. One second the place is deserted, and the next it’s overflowing with thousands of people. One of my favorite things to do when surrounded by thousands of people walking around is to just sit back and watch the people walk by. So Ryan and I bought a beer, sat on the dock and watched.

When we had our fill we checked out the booths set up near the shops and were pleasantly surprised to find that they were not all junk made in China! This place had actual local artisans selling actual cool stuff that they made. We debated over some homemade, glass trivets and finally decided to buy a driftwood wall hanging with mosaic tiles. The piece is signed on the back by the artist and she was the one who sold us the piece. It’s the only souvenir we ended up getting on our trip. We ran into our tablemates Michael and Michelle who had stocked up on salt chunks, another popular item in Bonaire.

Eventually we made our way down to the other end of the pier which led to a cute, little resort with beautiful gardens and a refreshing-looking pool which we probably could have jumped in and no one would have been the wiser. Instead we made use of their lounge chairs, set up on a grassy bluff overlooking the ocean. There we sat with a warm breeze and hot sun, and wrote postcards. We ended the day with a quick dip in the ocean and then back to the ship to set sail for Aruba.

Next Up, Aruba!

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