Have you noticed yet every post from Bonaire contains a picture of a flamingo? This post is not different. Here you go. Your random flamingo picture from the beautiful little island of Bonaire.
We spent a little bit of time exploring the east side of the island by car. This is the windy side and there is not much there. However, since it is the windy side, it is an ideal place to windsurf. About half way up the eastern coast is Lac Bay. This is home to Sorobon Beach Wellness & Windsurf Resort, Jibe City, Hangout Bar and Windsurf Place. This lagoon is protected from the swells and waves of the Caribbean Sea by a long reef. The reef covers just about the entire entrance of the bay except for the very northern part allowing windsurfers to play in the turquoise water without big waves.
Lac Bay is also an area frequented by locals since it is pretty much off the tourist path. You need a car or moped to get to this part of the island. This is way off the bus route and a taxi would be costly. It is the sort of place where you never wear shoes and sand between the toes is just the way of life. It is the sort of place where a teenager might come to hangout for a little while and then one day wake up to find out twenty years have passed. Everyone has a sun tan and going to get a burger in a swimsuit is perfectly normal. While sitting at the bar, to have a lizard walk over your foot is also perfectly normal. It is a one block community entirely devoted to windsurfing.
On this side of the island the roads are narrow and in really poor condition. There is an area where the road was recently repaved. However, it was only about a 2 miles stretch of fresh tarmac. The road after this recently refinished stretch was covered in pot holes. This made me wonder. How bad was the road that was recently repaved before the repair work was scheduled to be done. If these other stretches didn’t qualify as “needing repair” the area that was repaired must have been horrid.
The local people have a method of dealing with the potholes. They drive down the middle of the road only pulling to one side if they meet an oncoming vehicle. And, they pull over at the very last second. They also drive very fast. I think the logic behind this is to get the car airborne therefore minimizing the impact of the holes in the road. As things travel faster they become lighter, hence the light speed of the vehicles on these little back roads. The islanders drive like an airplane taking off on a runway. Not yet airborne but very light.
In all honesty the local people are very polite drivers. We haven’t been honked at or flipped off once, yet. This does seem to happen to us a lot. No matter where we go, we are tourist and we’re usually lost. In a recent trip to the USA, we were not on the road for more than 10 minutes before being on the receiving end of a one figure salute. This is not the norm on Bonaire. In one instance on Bonaire, we were stopped in the road (there was no pull off) and we were looking at the map. Yes, we use paper maps on these islands. Cell coverage is spotty and our Garmin GPS doesn’t do Bonaire. I guess the people at Garmin figured they were not going to the expense of mapping the island for 19,500 residents. And keep in mind, the 19,500 residents know where everything is located. They don’t need GPS. Anyway, we were stopped on the side of the road a car came up behind us. It sat patiently until we moved. I happen to glance in the mirror and noticed it. Who knows how long it was there. Perhaps they were lost too and were following us.
We toured up to Lake Goto. It is a single lane road through this area. In front of us was a taxi doing a tour for some of the cruise-ship passengers. The taxi went so slow I had to drive in first gear. They stopped when they saw a flamingo. They stopped when they saw parrots. They stopped when the saw a donkey. It didn’t take long before several cars lined up behind the taxi. I don’t think it dawned on the taxi driver to pull over and let us all pass. The most surprising thing was, I was the most annoyed person in the line of cars behind the taxi. The residents really didn’t seem to care. Oh well, I guess I still have a long way to go before reaching the chill level of the locals. But it does make me wonder why such chilling people drive so fast. Odd, isn’t it? I’ll stick with the pot hole and flying car theory.
To end on a bit of a funny note: When I went to the car rental office near the marina I was surprised to see a closed sign on the door. I had made a reservation a few days beforehand by email and they didn’t mention the office being closed. Chatting with Julianne during my previous rental, I learned how to get a better price and knew they were short staffed. When I approach the office I saw all the lights were out indicating she hadn’t left for a few minutes for a potty break (it’s a one person office). It was then I saw the note on the door, “Mark, Please call me at ###-####”. I didn’t have a phone on me so I went to the office next door unrelated to the rental car company. I told them about the note and they responded, “Oh, you must be Mark. Let me call Julianne for you”. I had to smile at this point as it seems the entire island knew I was renting a car on this day. Julianne explained she was stuck at the airport and would send a ride for me and I would only have to wait for about 10 minutes. I can easily be entertained by iguanas and lizards for ten minutes so I parked myself in a shady spot and waited for my ride. I guess I was the only person scheduled to pick up a car that morning or perhaps the next note was for Frank, and then Sue. Things are a little different on the islands. You learn very quickly to go with the flow.