Written by Stanley Greenberg Friday, 04 February 2011 00:00
Bulletin: “Snow is coming up the East Coast!”
It’s another Nor’easter!
12 inches of snow!
Will the NYC airports be closed?
Lorraine and I had airline reservations to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for a Friday morning. I’ll admit it- we panicked!
We pushed our trip back one day to Thursday, before the oncoming storm. Lorraine changed the airline reservation. What a bargain, $150 more per ticket, and we got a hotel room at the airport in Miami.
We met our ship on time at the Ft. Lauderdale pier. The Holland American ship, the Westerdam, sailed at 5 p.m. on Friday night. Our ports of call were the Bahamas, Curaçao and Aruba. Here come the Greenbergs!
Life aboard a cruise ship is luxurious, and full of elegant food and drink. Our cabin had a small terrace. It was divine!
Our first disappointment came one day later. The waters in the Bahamas were too rough, so the captain told us over the loudspeaker that we were skipping the Bahamas. We were recompensed $36, but went on to the southern Caribbean.
We docked at Willemstad, Curaçao two days later. The brightly colored houses, in the Dutch style, were truly striking. Curaçao was discovered by the Spanish in 1499. In 1634, the Dutch conquered the island, and it has been Dutch ever since. “Bon Bini” are the words of welcome.
The downtown shopping district is bisected by a waterway. A swimming bridge opens and closes for ships. The shops are stocked with diamonds and emeralds (which we admired, but did not buy). The tour took us to the oldest synagogue, Mikve Israel-Emanuel (1732) in the Americas. It had sand floors, mahogany fixtures, and huge candelabras. Refining oil from Venezuela is the major industry; tourism also rates high.
We left Curaçao and headed for Aruba, also Dutch. The southern portion of Aruba is a beautiful series of luxury hotels on a lush, sandy beach. Oranjestad is the capital and has expensive shops. Aruba is 15 miles north of Venezuela and has 110,000 inhabitants. We went to an aloe factory and saw the processing procedure; Lorraine bought some lotion. The rest of the island was desert-like. It had more cacti than I had ever seen. The temperature on both islands is 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit all year. Rainfall is 17 inches a year.
Back on the ship, and on to Ft. Lauderdale. I enjoyed the hot tubs and too-much food. The TVs on board told us of 10 more inches of snow that had fallen on Long Island.
Here we go again!