Traveling While Black? Head to the Curacao and Bonaire

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By Stacy M. Brown

NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

@StacyBrownMedia

 

With the pandemic badly hamstringing travel plans for so many people, the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) would like to take Black America on a trip – at least digitally.

Destination: The World.

Until medical science gets a real stranglehold on the coronavirus, we invite you to explore from the safety of your home the many places around the globe that might make your bucket list.

This week we take you to the beautiful islands of Curacao and Bonaire.

In Curacao, the natives boast that “no matter where you go, you’ll be surrounded by beautiful people, places, and things.”

A 25-minute flight from Curacao to Bonaire allows travelers to see the many different features and hues of residents, which tells the story of dozens of ethnic and racial influences.

Located in the Southern Caribbean and about 90 miles north of Venezuela, Curacao counts as an autonomous country within the Royal Dutch Kingdom.

Aruba joins Bonaire as a sister island of Curacao.

“People don’t realize the richness of Black history in Curacao and Bonaire,” Shondra Cheris, the owner of Black Will Travel, told NNPA Newswire.

Cheris pointed out the story behind the homes of slaves in Bonaire and the story of Tula, an African slave who led a liberation effort in Curacao.

On Aug. 17, 1795, Tula led an uprising at the Knip Plantation in Western Curacao.

The revolt lasted seven weeks, and Tula was eventually killed.

However, the government began providing rights to slaves, and each year, on Aug. 17, Curacao commemorates the actions of Tula.

Tula’s life is documented in the film “Tula: The Revolt,” starring Danny Glover.

The Tula Museum now stands on the site where the former slave was executed near Corendon Mangrove Beach Resort.

Curacao contains some of the “best beaches,” and, in Bonaire, “you might want to try the only cactus liquor,” Cheris noted.

“They also offer cactus tea, and the distillery process is awesome to see.”

Cheris said food is always good in both Curacao and Bonaire.

In Curacao, perhaps the most famous dish is Keshi Yena, a “four-pound wheel of cheese stuffed with spiced meat, olives, capers, onions, tomatoes, and then baked until perfection.”

There is also Guiambo, which acoyacuracaco.com describes as a “thick, hearty and slimy dish commonly known as okra soup.

“The okra is stewed to perfection then mixed with a variety of local seafood,” the website notes.

“The strong rich taste, coupled with the slimy texture, can be something you have to get used to before you decide on how much you love this dish.”

Bonaire is the Caribbean’s “hottest food destination,” according to the Caribbean Journal.

The island’s best treats include Pastechis and Piska Kriyoyo.

Pastechis, as describe by carvinal.com, are “these flaky little pastries, stuffed full of meats, shrimp or poultry and deep-fried until they’re crisp and golden, are the island’s universal snack. They’re available all day, everywhere you go, and they’re just the right size for a quick bite.”

If you speak Spanish, you may recognize this as fish prepared Creole-style, according to Carnival.

“It’s grilled or pan-seared, and then served with a spicy tomato sauce over rice or funchi. The fish is often lionfish, an invasive species that’s been aggressively colonizing the local reefs. It’s delicious, and eating it helps preserve the local ecosystem. Win-win.”

Bonaire is also known as the number one snorkeling island and is a complete marine park, Cheris proclaimed.

“Divers and snorkelers alike love it,” she remarked.

Cheris also provided a brief history of one Bonaire landmark, the nature reserve at Washington-Slagbai Park.

The terrestrial park is a nature sanctuary that’s located in the northern one-third of the island, according to http://www.infobnaire.com.

It is a safe habitat for the terrestrial native and endemic species of Bonaire.

“Parrots, flamingos, parakeets, iguanas, and many other species of birds and reptiles can be found in this reserve,” the website added.

There are beaches inside the park that serve as an important nesting ground for all four sea turtles found in the Caribbean.

 

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