Tag Archives: Beer

Our First Cruise: Bonaire

Posted by Cassie

After traveling throughout the night we arrived in Kralendijk, Bonaire making it our first stop of the cruise. Our cruise, as it turned out, was to all Dutch or formally Dutch islands. I know very little about Dutch or Holland, and barely skimmed the surface of Dutch colonialism in our stops. Three of the four stops were also to the southern Caribbean closer to South America than north, the exception being St Maarten.

Overlooking Bonaire
Overlooking Bonaire from upon high -notice all the lounge chairs are empty as nearly everyone had left.

We got in the habit of checking out the port cities from high above on the cruise ship each day before exiting. This gave us the ability to see from a bird’s eye view what was walkable and anything else of interest. The boat was eerily vacated by the time we descended and left, but I much preferred it to the crowd of masses on sea days. It was only on port days that we enjoyed the pool and other areas that were otherwise way too packed.

At the pool
Enjoying one of the empty pools on a port day

Since it was our first stop, we thought we would play it by ear and just wander around near the port of Kralendijk. The process to leave the ship was very simple. There were no customs agents of any sort. No passport stamping at all coming or going. When we exited the boat, they simply scanned our Sea Pass card and we descended. To reboard, we rescanned and went through a metal detector by the security company hired by the cruiseline.

Mind Your Head -I thought this sign was interesting for a few reasons

Britton and flowers
It started as a bit of a cloudy day and then turned hot and sunny

Being the anti-authoritarian rebel I am (haha), when they said to go left for “great shopping” we went right to see what Kralendijk was really like. We ended up in sort of a ghetto neighborhood and in an Asian grocery store.

sodas Liquor
Some things on the shelf of the store

I enjoyed looking at all the products I have never seen elsewhere. One thing about being on a cruise with all the gourmet foods you can stuff in your system is that you don’t have a desire to try any of the local cuisine of the stops you take which is a shame because you can learn a lot about a culture through its food.

Britton beers
Britton hot and sweaty with two different beers we have never seen before

We did, however, get a chance to try local light beers at each of our stops. These included Zulia, Claro, Bright, and a different variety of Amstel.

Let Op
I loved seeing all the road signs in Dutch. Let OP! Drempels

I stopped in to a photocopy shop to get copies of our passports because they said onboard that we should have some sort of identification with us, but that a copy would suffice. I talked with the woman behind the counter and she spoke more Spanish with me than English though it was interspersed with what I think was Dutch. I ran into some Dominicans, Colombians and Venezuelans in the stores too, a reminder of how much impact Latin America has on these Dutch islands.  This was also our first introduction to Papiamento, the pidgin and commonly spoken language in the A, B, C islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao.

Cactus fence
The first signs we weren’t in the lush tropics anymore, but rather a desert were these cactus fences. Also, note the milkweed to the right where we also saw a lot of butterflies feeding

As I was inside the photocopy shop, Britton waited outside and set down the bag of goodies that we bought in the grocery store in order to throw away a beer bottle. When he came back to it 30 seconds later, he found someone rifling through it. He yelled that it was his bag and the guy started to give him aggressive attitude and posturing. Britton said he started to feel the heat rise and tried to diffuse the situation speaking in Spanish and English “it’s ok, amigo, friend” and finally the guy left the bag alone. After that we grabbed it, got the heck out of there and went left after all.

Street Scene Bonaire
Street scene in Bonaire

Flamingo Express po
Bonaire is known for its flamingos and nearly everything uses this spirit animal including the post office

Building in Bonaire
Apparently this was some sort of government building whose sign I didn’t understand because I again got ushered out

Downtown Bonaire
Cool old Dutch architecture – and cannons!

Our day in Bonaire was pretty short with a departure time of just 5pm, so we just barely got a feel for it and went back aboard the ship to take more pictures from above. If we had gotten up earlier or had more time in general I would have liked to have seen the flamingos, some of the beaches or gone on the ATV tour, but for our first stop we felt pretty content with just walking around a bit.

Britton Bonaire
Britton and Bonaire

Bonaire sea cow
I thought the Sea Cow was a pretty funny little boat

That evening as the ship left Bonaire on the way to Curacao, we watched a lovely sunset off the deck and prepared for another exciting port day.

Watching the sunset BC boat sunset

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The Unofficial Drink of Colorado and The Official Drink of Puerto Rico

Posted by Cassie

One thing we will definitely miss about living in Colorado when we move to Puerto Rico are the quality micro-breweries here. It is almost like a passtime for some people. While we have some moderately strict alcohol laws (no sales after 12 at liquor stores, separate liquor stores and the former blue law of no sales on Sundays), we do have a lot of microbreweries (and some that I wouldn’t call micro anymore). Some of the good ones include: New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins (this is probably the most well-known), Left Hand Brewery in Longmont, O’dells in Fort Collins and even Crabtree Brewery right  here in Greeley.

I would have to say, if there is an unofficial drink of Colorado, I would give it to New Belgium even though Coors is from the Rocky Mountain water. They definitely have a lot of Coors in Puerto Rico, whereas we don’t have any Medalla Light here. I also like New Belgium because, while it is a growing company, it is not a huge conglomerate Corporation like Budweiser (also in Fort Collins) or Coors. They are also into sustainable energy supplies, bicycling and generate all of their electricity from wind power. They also come up with seasonal drinks like Frambozen in the winter which is one of my favorites. Frambozen is a sweet, dark beer made with raspberries. They have other specialities as you can see in the picture, but they are probably best known outside of Colorado for Fat Tire.

2 Below, Mothership Wit (Organic), Frambozen, Cherry Ale, 1554, and Fat Tire

I never really used to like beer until I met Britton, and now I can handle the occasional beer if it is sweet or light. Britton really likes it, so we have limits on how much we buy. One thing I always liked, however, are pina coladas! And guess what? Pina Coladas are Puerto Rico’s official drink! I didn’t realize this, but I guess it makes sense. Colorado has lots of micro-breweries and Puerto Rico has lots of rum (or Ron) distilleries. I definitely think Puerto Rico is much prouder of its rum history -Bacardi, Don Q, Malibu (is Malibu from there?), etc- than they are of their beer (Medalla is just a party beer like Bud Light or something).

Apparently, as the story goes, some bartender in San Juan, Puerto Rico experimented with pineapple juice, coconut juice, and ice and called it Pina Colada. Then, of course, he added some rum and a cherry on top and it has become the drink that it is. If you are in Puerto Rico you will notice that when you order a Pina Colada that they will ask if you would like it con o sin ron (with or without rum). This goes back to that history! Puerto Rico is so proud of the Pina Colada that apparently they have rum festivals featuring it and they play that cheesy 80′s Pina Colada song over and over.

Anyway, so while I’ll miss the occassional beer here, I would gladly trade it in for a few pina coladas, sin o con ron. For Britton, it may be a little harder to give up his great beers for Medalla Light (and an aside- there is no Medalla, only Medalla Light, is that weird or what?), but I’m sure he’ll manage.

Pina Colada Receta (Recipe)

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