The updates are coming fast and furious now as I have been to three countries in the last three days! Hold on to your hats.
As for Colombia, if I had been able to secure a hotel in La Zona Rosa in Bogota I would have been happily nestled in there… Particularly if I could have gotten in at La Boheme Hotel… A not too expensive but luxurious and perfectly situated hotel in the heart of Zona. But it wasn’t to be so I continued on to Willamsted, CuraÃ§ao (pronounced Cure-a-Sow… It’s Dutch.. Isn’t that vierd).
CuraÃ§ao is kinda neat because it has that weird Dutch architecture that you normally see in the dismal climate of the Netherlands, but on a warm Caribbean island.
However, that’s about where the “neat” part stops. In hindsight I should have figured it out on the plane over. Nearly half the passengers were ginormous big obese black people. Two of them even carried 3 large boxes of Dunkin Donuts, each, as their carry-on. I passed it off as a strange oddity.
Then after clearing Curacao customs and immigration and their myriad of line-ups, bag checks and questioning I hopped into a mini-van taxi housing a 450 pound taxi drivette.
Strange, I thought, especially after having spent the last few weeks in slim, sexy Centro y Sud America.
But as we drove past a Pizza Hut and a KFC and as enormous beings lazily waddled across the street I realized, in much the way I imagine Gulliver did, that I had stumbled upon the land of the Afro-giganti… Hardly anyone I saw was under 300 pounds… I saw body shapes I didn’t even think were possible in nature. One girl was huge but 80% of her form was on her hindside, including her back… I would have taken a picture for scientific journals but my gag reflex took control of my body and I was paralyzed in a state of half-puke.
Upon arriving at my hotel I saw the other half of the islands population: Vierd Dutch families. What kind of pure hell had I subjected myself to, I thought, as the pasty white Dutch dads walked by in their way-too-short beachwear and their spoiled idiot kids trailed behind. The only silver lining was the rare Sexy Dutch mom, but the chances of closing one of those on a family vacation was near infantessimal.
I looked in the mirror… Sure… Colombia was no Mexico… But my god, what in the world had I done! And why!?
I had actually come to the island having heard rumors of big, loose poker games.
And so I headed out to what turns out to be the only place in town with any regular poker game, the Holiday Beach Hotel and Casino.
I showed up at 9pm and they hadn’t started playing yet but they had a waiting list nonetheless. I signed up on the list and soon everyone showed up but I was still on the waiting list.
I watched from the sidelines. It was a strange mishmash of players… A few very gangster looking local dark skinned brothers, complete with neck tattoos and gold teeth and some Dutch older men. But on the first hand, Raise… Reraise… Reraise… All in…. Call… Call?! I thought to myself, could it possibly be the ultra-rare AA vs KK vs QQ?!?! Then they flipped the cards over.. First AA… Ok I thought, that makes sense… Then the next guy, one of the gangster looking guys with gold teeth.. 77?!?! And then the next guy, also a local, turned over QJ?!?!
There was more than $2,000 on the table at that point!
I licked my lips! Ultra bad playing with large pots! Itâ€™s the game I was looking for!
I waited around for 2 hours on the waiting list but never got into the game! It was torture!
I finally gave up and headed to the popular nightspot for the evening, a place called Mambo Beach. Itâ€™s in the middle of nowhere and is an expensive taxi ride to get there (note: in 2 days in Willamsted I must have spent $100+ on taxisâ€¦ nothing is nearby/close and taxis are hard to find and very expensiveâ€¦ if you do subject yourself to CuraÃ§ao I highly recommend renting a car because the island is not walkable or taxi-friendly). The crowd at the outdoor venue had a decent live band but the crowd was 97% Dutch familiesâ€¦ with their young kids and everything.
I left immediately, went back to my hotel and went to sleep, vowing to leave on the next flight out.
Letâ€™s check the Jeff checklist:
Girls: technically yes. But most over 200 pounds
Poker: technically yes. But very difficult to get into the game
Food: The most popular restaurant on the island, with a long queue, was Dennyâ€™s. Say no more.
Nightlife: technically yes. But the sunburned Dutch family crowd isnâ€™t my kind of vibe.
So, that was it. I bid CuraÃ§ao a farewell and good riddance! Again, in hindsight, I should have gone to Aruba over CuraÃ§ao. Reading about Aruba on the internet, while in CuraÃ§ao, I could tell that Aruba was much more my kind of place. Thatâ€™s two mistakes in a row (Cartagena over Santa Martaâ€¦ and CuraÃ§ao over Aruba). I gotta start getting better intel!
I caught an Aviolar flight to Caracas for $110 and am happily back in a large, latino cosmopolitan city. Updates soon!