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Willemstad, Otrobanda

A Long weekend is approaching, do I stay in this icebox of New York or escape to a destination where the sun will bake my golden-brown skin? A place where my T-Shirt will be drenched by the sweat dripping down my back as a result of the blistering afternoon sun? The latter two made sense to me. Therefore, I decided to make use of this three day weekend and take two additional paid-time-off days in order to make my trip a solid 5 day holiday.


Mardochere affectionately called Mardo, a former CCNY Gospel Choir Member and friend was studying in Curaçao. She’d been inviting me for some time and I’d been putting it off. But this time, since her studies on the island were nearing the end, I made it my duty to make my way out there. I had Mardo to show me around while I spent my long weekend in Otrobanda. 

I was traveling on a Buddy Pass, which I confirmed the Friday before my departure Saturday morning. All I had to pay was the taxes for the flight, but this arrangement does not secure a seat. I was number 6 on the stand by list and there were only three available seats as I was able to observe on the JetBlue App. Now, I’m no math genius but it was painfully obvious that I was not getting on that flight. I decided to take the gamble and go to the airport the following day anyway. 

When I got to the airport, I waited patiently- no fuss or anxiety. I watched patiently as all of the passengers with assigned seats boarded the plane. At this point, there were still 6 passengers on standby, myself included. I was sure I would have to get on the next flight, which was on the following Monday. As boarding ended, I walked to the agent with a sense of defeat and despair, waiting to hear the news which I had already prepared myself for—”The flight is full, you can come back for the next flight this Monday.” But as I approached her she said, “come around, I’ll check you in.” I was at a loss for words, I was shocked! I was surprised! How? The flight was full!

Surf and Turf. Meal includes the un fried version of Funchi. 
My seat on the plane was next to an amazing couple, Karen and Ray who visits Curaçao annually for relief from the brutal New York winter. We chatted the entire flight and became friends. Karen was the one who suggested that I try Funchi. As my big white bird descended into Hato International Airport, we exchanged emails and agreed to meet up sometime during my short but long five day trip on the island. 

The taxi driver that Mardochere recommended met me at the airport. He picked me up first then got Mardo from Luna Market, he instantly suggested that I get some seafood as a welcome to the island, it made sense. As we agreed he whisked us to a local Restaurant, Surf and Turf, which is close to Mambo Beach. While there, I realized that service can be extremely slow in Curaçao, I didn’t mind, especially coming from the Big Apple where I was used to everything being done at a fast pace. But most of all, I was so captivated by the views that I forgot that I was waiting for my tasty snapper dish to arrive. Watching the locals jump from the jetty, hearing the crashing of the waves and seeing the sunset was all a good setup for a delicious first meal in Curaçao.  

Mardo took me to Mambo Beach after we ate. It was a massive beach city with multiple hotels, restaurants, and shops. It was there that I realized that my accommodations had fallen through. I had to find somewhere to stay, and quickly, as it was about 9 PM. Luckily two young Dushis (“sweetie” in Dutch) were there and they recommended Bed & Bike. They told me that it recently opened. They were so helpful that they volunteered to drive me there after we all realized that a taxi ride would be extremely expensive. By the time I got to the hostel, it was after 10 PM and as I knocked on the door, a representative opened with much appreciated news that there was room at the inn for me, haha. 

I was relieved about the news, but for some reason, I was a little nervous to stay at a hostel. I was not exactly sure why I was nervous. Perhaps because I did not think that my quick getaway would result in staying at a hostel or maybe I didn’t associate a good hostel experience to the Caribbean. But God has a strange way of blowing our minds. I believe that my stay at Bed & Bike, a hostel that’s extremely close to the city center, was part of the reason why I consider this trip to be one of the best that I’ve had.  


What’s the best conversation you’ve had on a plane? Comment Below.

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