Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Slavery and Salt In the ABC Islands

In some instances, a "B" can be far more desirable than an "A". This was the case when we visited the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. Bonaire was a delightful surprise. The island has an area of 113 square miles with a population of about 16,000. Crime is minimal since it is relatively impossible to escape being caught. Traffic, is clearly not an issue.
In the morning, we found a delightful cab driver named Banban. He had lived in Bonaire for quite some time. In fact, I'd venture a guess that his vehicle was one of the first taxis on the island. He was eager and willing to give us a tour of the sites we requested on the southern part of the island.
First, Banban took us onto the grounds of the salt mines. We waited as he ran into the office. When he came back out, he brought us some sample sea salt crystals.
 Next, he took us to the slave huts and showed us the tiny dwellings where the slaves huddled together by night, after mining the salt all day. They were originally built with a corresponding obelisk in colours red, blue, white and orange. The obelisks showed ships where to dock to pick up salt after a flag of the corresponding colour was raised.

Huts often held 6-8 adult slaves
Process of transporting salt to ships
Although the salt mine and the slave huts were the highlight of our tour, Banban also took us to a beach and to a flamingo habitat. We returned to the ship to prepare for our afternoon tour...a sail on a Chinese junk with snorkelling on Klein Bonaire.
Banban showed us an original slave bridge

No comments:

Post a Comment