Meet Michal, my new young friend, Miroslaw Andziak’s precocious son. He skipped school to come meet me for breakfast but let’s not tell the teacher that?.
Countries travelled: 29. Favorite country: Cape Verde. Country he must travel to? Tuvalu. Why? He did a presentation at school on this South Pacific Island and is afraid it may sink. He must go urgently. Country he is afraid of traveling to: Syria.
Questions he asked:
1. Is Djibouti dangerous? I said no.
2. Are there pirates around Comoros? I said perhaps north of there.
Curaçao. Where do I begin? Let’s start with Jurandy Regina who was instrumental in organizing the Pride Parade here, 700 people, inspiring speech from the Prime Minister, floating bridge with Rainbow flags. I asked him what motivated him and he said: “Everyone went to Europe to come out and I wanted to be right here…”. Now the marketing and sales leader for the Hotel which hosted the pride cocktail he stands proud. You now know where to stay when you visit Curaçao.
The country became “autonomous” 7 years ago but the Dutch influences remain. Day started with a cruise ship right in front of my balcony:). Loved touring the island, fascinated by the bridge which floats to open up for ships coming in and transports people across the water. Loved the barges which come from Venezuela with fruits and vegetables and that is your floating market. Loved all the UNESCO preserved buildings, architecture preserved, history revived. Visited the plantation houses, reminded of the sad past.
So this tax haven otherwise called “endless summer”, is home to 65,000 people, of whom 35,000 are expats, 120 nationalities. There are 680 banks, about 1 for 100 people locally and you can fill in the blanks. 5-6 cruise liners a day in high season visit this 22 by 8 miles island. Notable is James House, a historical house where in 1835 the slave trade was announced abolished. Now Mahogany and Gemstone. Hurricane Ivan in 2004 destroyed the island but now restored with million dollar homes on the beach, many designed by Italians. Today the island is one of the richest and most expensive in the world. Crime rate low, prison not crowded and air-conditioned, menu choices for inmates. Beaches beautiful, warm water and white sand. P.S. Tree is natural colours.
What’s not to like? Montevideo boasts 22 km of waterfront, 5,000 acres of park, 420,000 trees – half on the streets, all available to 1.3 million people, a really beautiful city, great vibe. Coastline reminded me both of Beirut and Bombay. Elegant new and old granite and marble buildings.
Buenos Aires influence visible, everywhere! I am not a house person (I like condos), but what I see here is so different, unique and lively, just fell in lust. Then went to Punta del Este, the equivalent of the “riviera” for the locals and a summer destination for the rich Brazilians and Argentinians. Waterfront lined with luxury condos. Exclusive area called Beverly Hills, lined by Gourmet Boulevard filled with French restaurants. Homes here not numbered, they have names. Punta also home to the famous “hand” sculpture. All in all, a wow day. And oh! I have developed a new practice. The complimentary gifts I get (this time wine from the tourist agency and champagne from the hotel), I regift to the staff. Cheers to that! The little things that give us joy….