Saturday, April 18, 2015

Otrobanda & Punda -- Quirks of #Curaçao (#AtoZChallenge 2015)

Seeing as I missed yesterday's O post, you're entitled to a two-for-one today. And Curaçao has a unique feature for that.

Downtown Willemstad, the capital (and only) city of Curaçao, is divided--quite literally, and quite conveniently for this post--in two by the Sint Annabaai (Bay of Saint Anna). It's more of a channel than a bay--part of the natural harbor that made Curaçao so valuable to Spanish and Portuguese and Dutch merchant ships (or pirates, depending on which side you're on) back in the days when transatlantic voyaging was a novelty.




Punda (point, in Papiamentu) is on the right--on the right hand, but also, being upwind (or ariba), on the right side of the tracks--or the water, in this case. Punda was where commerce flourished; first the slave trade (Curaçao was the first port of call for slave ships into the Americas), later the lesser tarnished (if not much more ethical) forms of capitalism.

Views of Punda
Across the water is Otrobanda (literally, other side). Downwind, abou, the wrong side of town. For a long time it lay ignored, ancient buildings falling from picturesque into plain old disrepair. Now it's where cruise ships dock, and home to the newest addition in Curaçao's hospitality industry, the Renaissance. The Rif Fort, beautifully preserved and conscientiously converted into an open-air mall, shouts silent and righteous derision across the Sint Annabaai at its once-sister fort, Fort Amsterdam, partially demolished to make way for that pink abomination, the Plaza hotel (upper left corner in the Views of Punda collage above).

Views of Otrobanda

14 comments :

  1. They both look very colourful and like great places to spend time now.

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    1. Glad you find them so, Nick--and you're totally right, walking in Punda or Otrobanda (or both!) is a treat on the eye for sure.

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  2. Hi Guilie .. how interesting to see the geography of Otrobanda and Punda .. and Q for quirks? - of Curacao .. and to read how both developed, lagged and then have come back as the new area .. really entices me to visit! Cheers Hilary

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    1. The history of these two sides of Willemstad is fascinating all the way back to the 16th century, Hilary... You of all people would love exploring it, I think :) And from now on, every time I'm in Punda or Otrobanda, I'll be picturing you walking around, asking questions, discovering stuff.

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  3. It does seem like a pretty nice to visit and take a break...

    Q is for Quiet at my blog.

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    1. It is, Bhavya... It is :) Thanks for the visit!

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  4. Thanks Guilie, loved this, I was in imagining mode ... yes the Plaza Hotel does raise questions about killing off the sister port.

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    1. It's such a shame, Susan... Fort Amsterdam was the main fort, full of history; I think it was the first "serious" construction of the island, actually (but don't quote me)... And then these people came in and built that obscenity--it's a disgrace. We keep hoping they'll tear it down and, even if the fort can't be restored, at least build something that doesn't scream cheap at the island's doorway :D Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. Replies
    1. Glad you liked them, Sabina! Thanks for the visit :)

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  6. I like reading your posts. It's like peeking into a window into a place I've never been.
    Have a wonderful day.
    Trisha Faye
    www.breadandbutterdays.wordpress.com
    www.chrysnjay.wordpress.com
    www.shangriladays.wordpress.com

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    1. That's possibly the nicest compliment anyone's ever paid to this blog :) Thank you!

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  7. I love the photos! And how cool that the names lined up like that for a shared O and P post. :)

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    1. Pretty nifty, yeah :D Got to hand it to Curaçao: there's magic in this island, and more often than not it works in one's favor ;) Thanks for the visit, Chuck!

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