Curacao: (28rd September to 29th September) Medellin: (29th September to 01st October)

I am so glad I decided to stay in Curacao for the night as opposed to just doing the 11hr flight stopover and heading out. What a lovely little place. Okay it is VERY touristy but since it is the first Caribbean island I have ever been too and I relay needed a little me time in a nice safe clean place it was just a great mini break for me. It is EXPENSIVE thought WOW shocker the taxi cost usd30 to take me on a 15min ride to the B&B, as opposed to usd20 for a 50min ride from the airport in Colombia. I spent the day walking Willemstad flat just enjoining the scenery, hamburgers and ice-cream.

I decided to get out of the sun and went to the Curacao African and slave museum, Kura Hulanda. What an excellent museum extremely well done and informative. I learned a hell of a lot and just cannot for the life of me no matter how much I think about it understand how one person can make a slave of another, I’m not even talking about forced labour where people could fool themselves that their workers are not slave, I mean true captured / chained slave how is this humanly possible.

One of the many facts I learned was a little more about why there was a slave trade in South America. As I mentioned in a post before the settlers found it hard to enslave the local South American Indians as they knew the jungles too well and would fight back. I learned that they were also very susceptible to the settler’s diseases so many of them died and large numbers of them committed suicide rather than remain enslaved. So the African slave market grew as it was seen as an endless supply of stronger hardier people. I also learned that during the slave trade roughly half a million Europeans were enslaved including aristocratic women who could not pay their debts. Their creditors were legally allowed to sell men and women into slavery if their debts were not paid. The museum claims that there are an estimated half a million slaves in the world and 20 million forced labourers. It was a very sad museum if one thought for any length of time about slavery, however it was extremely well done and factual.

Outside the museum I cheered myself up by having homemade lemonade sold by a really lovely chatty friendly lady selling her lemonade and homemade food and sweets outside the museum.

After a good night’s sleep I got up early the next day to go have a swim in the crystal clear clean sea, in a small bay area. There standing in the water was a largish lady in their underwear with a huge red afro smoking a very big cigar and chatting to her two friends. I was gutted that I did not have my camera with me as this was a sight worth capturing. They were very nice and friendly and explained that they did this every morning. I could only think that these are the moments one sees when you stop and smell the roses or go for an early morning swim in the sea.

After Curacao I felt like I had totally de-stressed and was my old chilled self again…welcome back me

At the airport on my way to Medellin I met a young Dutch girl backpacking in South America for 5 months. She had spent a lot of time in Suriname and enjoyed it as much as me. On recounting her stories I was reminded about why / how I like to travel. She’d spent some time in a home stay with local people and was a real adventurer going way off the beaten track. She really inspired me and helped shake some of the demons out of my head. The demons other people (at home and from the trip) had put in my head by questioning the reliability of my bike, telling me be careful, telling me that I’m travelling in a very dangerous part of the world, telling me not to ride in Venezuela and telling me stories of Joe Soap who knows Jane Doe whose fathers uncle got robbed in Brazil. Uuugghh sometimes I just let these things get through the brain filters and they start playing on my mind. BIG TIP people if you know someone who is travelling feel free to say good luck, enjoy, we love you, take care but that is it don’t go on and on telling people how dangerous what they are doing is or how bad the place is or that they need to be very careful. My safety is paramount to me so I don’t take risks but I’m not going to sit in my lounge and watch the world go by, so please stop getting my head by saying all these things it does not help and I think is even damaging.

So with fresh enthusiasm I flew out to Medellin. It was a quick stop to get my panniers but boy did I enjoy it all I can say is Empanadas 🙂 I really really like Colombia and the people are fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed spending the day walking around (finding a new plastic petrol bottle to replace mine that got a hole in it) and just chatting to friendly helpful people via sign language and the few Spanish words I’ve learned. I would very much like to come back to Colombia and spend more time travelling here.

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