Only A Test

Dearest Rachel –

I’ve already told you about the alarm that actually went out a couple of days ago regarding health emergencies. This morning, while I was writing you, the call went out again; this time, it was ‘Bravo, Bravo, Bravo’: a fire aboard ship. I had to catch myself and recall that, barely ten minutes before, the captain had come on the PA system to warn us that this was going to happen. Long story short, this was only a drill.

It wasn’t the only one, either. It was shortly thereafter that the call ‘Kilo, Kilo, Kilo’ went out, which I don’t remember at all. At this point, I decided to head ashore and take a look around, just in order to be doing something while waiting for my shore excursion. I encountered a few crewmembers in an alcove near the elevator bank, and asked one of them what this second alert was supposed to mean. Evidently, ‘kilo’ is code for ‘assemble at your emergency stations’ in order to guide and inform passengers as they scramble for the exits. The crew are expected to direct us sheep as to where to go in order to get off safely before attending to their own.

I keep remembering that old high school skit, parodying the emergency broadcast transmission, where the announcer finishes out the usual schpiel of ‘had this been an actual emergency, this announcement would be followed by,’ at which point he and the ‘crew’ ‘taping’ him dropped everything and ran around in panic, yelling something to the effect of ‘AAAAAAA! We’regonnadie, we’regonnadie, we’reallgonnadie!’


Once off the ship, and seated on a pile of rocks by a collection of tents set up as a makeshift bus station and taxi stand, I start writing this letter to you, only to be interrupted by seven short term blasts from the ship behind me, followed by the long blast, all of which would otherwise indicate a serious emergency, had we all not been informed otherwise. Glad I got off when I did; time to make my way into the city, I guess.

It’s strange… even as I make my way to the nearest tent containing arts and crafts for display and sale, I sense a slight headache, dizziness and a rise in my gorge. Were those few moments in the sun as I was writing you enough to set me up for a case of sunstroke already? I’d best be careful as I make my way; indeed, when I find myself a seat in the shade, I immediately start to feel that much better. I’m going to have to make progress slowly, and spend time in the shade on my way.

Even though we’re only in Otrabanda, I think I’m seeing the kinds of buildings that make up the real attraction, architecturally speaking, of Curaçao.

I pass by a pub with a clock made out of a lime announcing that ‘it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.’ I’d seen a similar place in Aruba; I wonder if it’s not a chain around here.

Of course, at the moment, I don’t think it’s even 5 o’clock in London yet. But hey, when someone wants a drink out here in the islands, do they really need an excuse?

I know that’s also the slogan for the online podcast/conversation that PJ Media holds every Thursday afternoon that you and I just got involved with barely a few days before your accident; somehow, I doubt that I will be joining them today.

My goodness, everything is an excuse for selling stuff:

That’s right; this is both a historical fort… and a mall

While I admit some of the wares are attractive (the bamboo fabric sheets really are soft), I don’t see the point in buying something like that while on vacation, even after listening to what amounts to an unsolicited testimonial from a fellow passenger and satisfied customer. The stuff is made in India, not here in Curaçao. I get that we are expected to stimulate the local economy, but there’s no need – or point – in buying it here. And in fact, the passenger is actually talking up the comfort of the bed itself; even if the feel of zero gravity that she describes was appealing to me – and I’ll be honest, I’m using enough space in this letter to suggest that it is – there’s no way I could get that into my luggage.

Speaking of things of which there’s no point buying… I am reminded of a story about the fact that there is a statue of Frank Zappa in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.  The front man of the Mothers of Invention was not Lithuanian, nor did he ever visit the country.  But for whatever reason the city fathers decided to put up a statue of him, concluding that he would’ve loved to visit, had he lived longer.  It’s the sort of thing that comes to mind when I see a purple T-shirt or another.

It’s a little more mauve and fuchsia than true purple, but still…

But I’ve already bought something like that, and that was because you had been there before. Getting something like this makes no sense, any more than a statue of Frank Zappa in the capital of Lithuania.

On the other hand, honey, while this dress isn’t your color at all, what do you think of the cut? I have to admit, I would have liked to have seen you in it.

Now, I realize I haven’t gone all that far, but I do believe I’ve gone farther into the city than I had in Oranjested, and I haven’t dug into its seedy underbelly yet. Not that I’m looking for it, mind you, but it was so easy to find in Aruba, that I almost expected to find it fairly quickly in Curaçao as well. The fact that I haven’t is… actually somewhat reassuring. I think I’m going to like it here.

This is overlooking the Saint Anna Bay to the old city of Punda. You can see the Queen Emma pontoon bridge in front of that cruise ship (I think it’s supposed to fold to one side to allow ships like that passage – the Odyssey, however, is way to large for the bay), and the Queen Juliana bridge waaaay in the distance.

That being said, however, I’m going to need to get back to the ship shortly, so that I don’t miss my tour.

Even as I wait make my way back to the ship, using the road behind the mall, it still looks pleasant and clean.

Even the license plates are jauntily colorful.

In any event, I’m going to rest my feet – I’ve already put in more steps than I did in Aruba – so I’ll have sufficient energy for this afternoon’s excursion.

Until then, honey, keep an eye out for me. Love you.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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