Tiny, secluded, serene and beautiful; Curaçao is an island just off the coast of Venezuela and near Aruba. It is part of the Netherlands Antilles, specifically the small group of islands in the South Caribbean known as the ABC islands: Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. The port city and capital, Willemstad, hosts beautifully painted façades, floating markets, cruise liners, refineries and this motorized floating pontoon bridge. The downtown area also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage site
The Queen Emma Bridge swings open, for big and small ships alike, hinged on the far end, the Punda, or point (East), est. 1634. On the near end, the Otrabanda, or other side (West), est. 1707, the bridge detaches behind the small shelter and is propelled across the bay by two diesel engines with propellers mounted perpendicular to the length of the bridge. The Queen Emma Bridge spans the Saint Anna Bay and swings practically parallel to the Punda if necessary. The bridge is solely for foot traffic and if you really need to get across during the few to several minutes it's away, there is a ferry standing by.
Down past the cruise ships one can see the highest bridge in the Caribbean and one of the highest bridges in the world, the Queen Juliana Bridge. It was completed in 1974 and soars 185 feet above the bay to accommodate large oil tankers and cruise ships. Unfortunately one can no longer access its viewpoints, else I would have had a panorama from up there as well
If you want to talk to the locals, you only need to speak English or learn their Creole mix of Arawak, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish and English vocabulary called Papiamentu
. Listening to the Dutch and local people I worked with here was just insane! I could pick out so many words and phrases but had no idea what they were saying or speaking. Many of the locals will be tri or quad-lingual, and it speaks to how culturally weak education in America is today.