Saturday, January 19, 2013

Curacao Part 4 - CMU Residence

The main goal of our recent trip was to help my daughter settle into her new environment. The secondary goal was to have some fun in the process. After two days of relaxing, we decided it was time to begin our chore. We rented a car, a Terios, and headed toward the Caribbean Medical University headquarters at the World Trade Center, Piscadera Bay. Before long, registration was complete and we took all the suitcases to

 the student residence at Andres Bello plaza. In keeping with the lovely colourful country, the building was a vivid yellow...attractive. It was a wise decision to say "no roomate".

 As it turns out, some rooms are considerably smaller than this decent sized unit. Prior attempts to find out what might already exist in a room were futile, so we brought what we thought was needed and whatever we could squeeze into suitcases.  Here's what we had to work with in the room.                                 

lawn furniture
two beds, one to be removed


 There was also a small fridge and t.v., a kitchen unit which consisted of a two burner range combined with sink another small fridge and a microwave. On either side of the "kitchen" were the bathroom facilities, shower and sink on one side and toilet sink on the other.
toilet on one side, shower on the other
small fridge and Spanish speaking t.v.



Since we had to remove some items from our overweight luggage, it was necessary to go shopping the next day when we no longer had a vehicle. We learned that the best shopping for household needs was at two stores. One such large department store was called La Curacao and had unusual hours. It was closed when we arrived around 1:30 with a sign saying it would reopen at 3:30. We also discovered that everything is closed on Sundays...civilized.

It was recommended that we go to Breedestraat, a neighbourhood in the opposite direction of the touristy shopping area. It seemed "seedy" by our standards but we felt safe enough. The buildings were a bit decrepit, not yet restored like much of Willemstad. We noted some construction work going on. Items for sale in this area were more suited to residents  ...appliance and furniture stores, grocery stores, kitchen and bath wares and some clothing. We loaded up on items we needed. The employees were incredibly helpful and unearthed whatever we asked for. One person even drew us a map of how to get to the residence from where we were. This was useful since we were now walking, carrying lamps, garbage cans, a scale, pots, a clock, a rug, curtains, groceries and more.

We were part way to the dorm when we were cooled off by a small downpour. After a few minutes participating in a Curacao custom, standing under a roof ledge waiting for the rain to dissipate, we made the decision to venture into the drizzle. Soggy hand drawn map in hand, we headed out and immediately got lost. Our shopping was getting heavy as we walked in a circle near a small plaza. A lady, waiting under another roof, asked what we were looking for. She wasted no time opening her umbrella and telling us to follow her. Through two fences, along a muddy secret pathway, around some trampled lizards, past a cemetery and there we were...Andres Bello plaza. The sun came out. We thanked her profusely. We made the same trip two more times over the course of the next days until the residence room looked like this.



Satisfied that we had done all we could, we returned to our hotel and relaxed for the remainder of the trip. We estimated that the trek to the stores, to residence and back to the hotel consisted of many kilometres each day. We definitely got our exercise while we were there.


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