As I write this, Barbados is far away behind us. We had just arrived in the port town of Kralendijk, on the island of Bonaire. For most of us, Bonaire really is just a minor stop along the way. I mean, it’s pretty, but not such a big deal. That’s why I originally planned not to go on shore leave for our stay.
Originally. But then my friends stepped into the picture and the next thing I knew I was heading down the ramparts and walking with them on an excursion! Well, maybe it isn’t such a bad idea. Kralendijk is a charming place, a town center that calmly proclaims its Caribbean heritage at every turn. Aside from the fine weather, there were colorful sights and island trinkets aplenty.
It was after lunch when we left the ship, so we didn’t have to worry about finding a place to eat in. We just strolled aimlessly on the streets, ducking in and out of shops, and browsing the goods on display. We didn’t have any particular product in mind, either. We were just taking it all in, basking in the quiet activity around us. There were boutique shops of all sorts, selling stuff like flip flops, swimming outfits, jewelry items, and even branded perfumes! Despite that, there was a laid-back air. I’ve seen such places take on a more hurried and stressful atmosphere in other places. Still, the place wouldn’t disappoint shopaholics.
I didn’t buy anything, but I enjoyed seeing all the colorful buildings. The clean colors and pastel shades shone in the sun, and the architecture reminds one of a time in the not-so-distant past. The coconut trees swayed against the clear blue skies, amidst the spectacle. “Kralendijk” loosely translates to “coral reef”, and it reflected much the same colors as its namesake. It did not disappoint!
Besides shopping, the Bonaire capital is also perfect for bar-hopping! There are several bars along the waterfront, and we decided to browse them to find a place to rest. We ended up in one called “Karel’s Beach Bar”, serving coffee, beer, wine and an assortment of mixes. Being the waterfront, the air is fresh as can be! There’s no music, so it’s a good place to relax and enjoy a cold sip.
We stayed ashore for about three hours were back onboard by 4PM, since the ship will sail at 6PM. Ah, such is the life of a mariner! We’re tourists when there’s time, but when the ship calls we have to answer at all costs. Our shore leave is just a way of making our homesick lives easier.
Our next destination is Colombia, where we will be visiting the famous Cartagena. It’s my second time in the country (the first one was around 2010), but I wasn’t able to roam the streets during the first. Hopefully this time I can satisfy my wanderlust — may my feet take me out and see some of the Cartagena sights!
Until then, good night!