A Travellerspoint blog

Panama

sunny 26 °C
View School at Sea on meimeilin's travel map.

Hey everybody!
Right now I am in Gamboa, a sort of suburb of Panama City, which obviously is in Panama. I kept up my blog on the boat and will try to upload it as soon as I can. (Turns out I forgot my blog on the boat so I will upload the information about Aruba, New Years, and San Blas probably in Cuba).
This past week has been really different since we spent an entire week with the Embera Indians here, in Panama. More details about this later but this did include going to the bathroom in a whole, not having clean drinking water, sleeping on the floor, and electricity only at night that turns off when the Indians run out of gas.
Now I am enjoying the luxury of the hostel: normal toilets, warm showers, and a variety in food.
Well hopefully I can upload my entries soon, but for now this is all.
Byebye!
- Meilin

Posted by meimeilin 08:11 Archived in Panama Tagged city indians panama gamboa Comments (0)

On our way to complete the ABC-islands (Dutch Antilles)

Bonaire, Curacao, now only Aruba

semi-overcast 26 °C
View School at Sea on meimeilin's travel map.

Hallo iedereen,
I forgot to mention that in Bonaire very many people speak Dutch since it is part of the Netherlands since about a year. This I learnt on the tour we had. Again we went in a yellow school bus, this time with windows however and drove through the northern part of Bonaire. We got a tour of the whole island. I learnt that Bonaire is in the top three of the world of best diving places. Bonaire is quite picturesque, very green like Dominica but a lot rockier. We drove towards another national protected park. On the way there we saw flamingos, parrots, and all other types of birds. There were really beautiful yellow ones and even a bright orange one. It was so weird to see flamingoes, we were just sitting in the bus and all of a sudden someone screamed “FLAMINGOES!” In the National Park we also went for a walk to the sea. Along the way there were a million cactuses, one of which was called the Mickey Mouse cactus. We walked towards the sea which was really wild. The waves clashed against the rocks and sometimes went up two to three meters. In the National Park it was quite beautiful. After we went to the National Park we went to the supermarket. Not just any supermarket, no the Albert Heijn. A Dutch supermarket. According to me the best supermarket in the world, no joke. In Bonaire it was called Van Der Tweel since they weren’t allowed to use the name Albert Heijn but it had everything an Albert Heijn had including liquorice, stroopwafels, and even the apple cake we sometimes buy when we are in Holland. So we bought some food for in our room. IN our room we created our own sort of mini bar. Since everybody in the room bought food we have so much food and drinks. Enough to last till Panama, which is the planning.
That afternoon after the tour we left for Curacao. I decided since I had gotten little sleep the last few nights that I was going to get some sleep. At four in the afternoon I went to bed, so did one of my friends who sleeps in the same room as me. At eight in the evening I woke up to the sound of “WOOH LOOK AT THOSE COOL LIGHTS!” “CURACAO”. We were actually supposed to have ‘wacht’ at eight luckily though we didn’t have to have ‘wacht’ since we had arrived. My friend and I slept all the way to Curacao. We even missed dinner. However, we decided instead of soup we’ll raid our mini bar and have something in the city. We were allowed to look around in Willemstad till 11 at night since it was the evening for Christmas shopping so the shops were open till 10 at night.
The streets were really lively and filled with color and people. We had a mango smoothie and looked around in the shops.
Anyway, tomorrow we have a half day school, some cleaning of the ship, and then time to go to the city which I will probably spend most of the time collecting information for school and maybe a bit of shopping.
Kisses from Curacao!
- Meilin

Posted by meimeilin 13:27 Archived in Curaçao Comments (0)

Back @ Sea + Day 1 Bonaire

Hello from the sea again,
From the 18th of December to the 21st we were at sea. This meant ‘wacht’ and school again. Now I had ‘wacht’ with our new ‘wacht’ group. On Sunday however, I had my kitchen shift.
My kitchen shift went quite smoothly. For lunch we made burgers with potatoes and a salad and as dinner we made bread with smelted cheese, pesto, and a tomato. As desert we served apple cake. I thought it was quite delicious.
On Monday we had school and it was quite stormy. Some people started to get a little bit seasick again. Luckily, I had no problems. However, it was hard to concentrate on school since the boat was going all different directions. Still I finished most of my Dutch and prepared for my oral. Doing school on the boat is very good for your concentration I think. There is always something distracting you; or it’s the movement of the boat or sails have to be raised or there are dolphins or something falls on the ground. Nevertheless, almost always you have to stay focused.
A day before we arrived in Bonaire we saw dolphins and this time I managed to get a picture of one properly jumping.
Also, we have a camera woman on board who is going to teach us how to take proper films. I had my first lesson. We had to create a storyboard and then take pictures that created the story. After which we had to shuffle the pictures and another group had to put the pictures in the right order. In addition, we learnt about how a camera woman works (one person does everything) and a camera crew works and what the benefits and downsides are of both of these. It was really interesting. We are also going to have three more lessons on filming. In the next lesson we are going to properly film.
On the 21st of December at 1 in the morning we arrived in Bonaire during my ‘wacht’. We had to have ‘wacht’ for five hours since we had to help the next ‘wacht’ drop the sails and help get arrive in the harbor. What was less was that because of this I only got 6 hours of sleep so the next day I was quite tired. On the day of the 21st we had the morning to look around in Kralendijk, the capital of Bonaire. Kralendijk is more a town then a capital but it’s filled with little shops and cafes.
After the lunch in the afternoon we went to one of the reserve parks in Bonaire. In this park we went canoeing with 4 or 5 VWO4 students (same level school as the other students here on the boat). We learnt about the different types of mangrove trees. Mangrove trees are much more useful than you would ever think. Because of the complex roots in the ground they can prevent tsunamis from destroying areas and they protect sand from coming on to the reefs which is what keeps the reefs alive in Bonaire. We canoed through these mangroves and also looked at the underwater life. Turtles live in the area, sadly we didn’t see any turtles but I did see a lot of colorful fish and very many different types of underwater plants.
Jeltje-Mei.._Andrea.jpg
After canoeing some went snorkeling but I just went swimming. The water there was so nice, a beautiful color blue. However, it was quite cold. The whole time in Bonaire it was raining. Nothing could ruin our mood though. Some of us girls had a little bit of a laugh attack.
Anyway, after we went swimming we had to pick up some trash to help clean up the nature there. It was filled with mosquitoes there! I think I spent five minutes there and I got stung about 10 times. Not very pleasant. A benefit of sea is definitely that there are no mosquitoes.
We cleaned a little bit but then we had to go back in the school bus. Oh yeah, we were picked up in a school bus. A proper yellow one with no windows. Usually windows are useful when it rains though. In the bus I felt really unclean. Everybody was in desperate need of a shower. We were cold, salty, sandy, and covered in mosquito bumps probably one of the worst combinations.
When we got home we rinsed off and thoroughly rinsed out all our clothing. After that we ate and were allowed to get ice-cream in Kralendijk. Then we walked back to the ship.
- Meilin

Posted by meimeilin 13:23 Archived in Caribbean Netherlands Comments (0)

Martinique

sunny 28 °C

Bonjour,
We went from Dutch, to French, to Spanish, to English, and back to French again. The French of now is Martinique. On the 16th in the evening we arrived on Martinique and on the 17th we spent the day in Martinique. The town we were at had not much going on, but we started the day off good. We had ice-cream and internet. On the internet I found out I am so behind with school. Luckily, everybody has vacation now so hopefully I can catch up. After the ice-cream my friend and I walked to another café so we could charge. There we had cola and internet. At around 3 in the afternoon we decided it was perhaps a good idea to have lunch. We walked around a bit but all the lunch places were closing. So we went to a bakery and had a Panini, a very yummy Panini. I had a Panini with tuna, cheese, and tomatoes. After we finished our Panini we decided we were still hungry, so found a little café where we could eat crepes. There we had our crepes and mango juice. During moments like that you think “this is the life” but then we went back to one of the internet cafes and logged on to the school website and you were more like “oh, so much school to catch up on”. Luckily, I could send out some emails and hopefully soon I will be caught up again. Also, I updated my blog in the internet café and uploaded photos to Facebook. Other than that we didn’t do very Martinique. It is quite a beautiful island though. Definitely more civilized than Dominica.
That same evening we left for Bonaire this was a four day trip.
- Meilin

Posted by meimeilin 13:22 Archived in Martinique Comments (0)

Indians and lakes that boil

sunny 29 °C

Hi people,
After a night of Dominica we obviously wanted to see what else was going on, on the island. On the 14th and the 15th of December we visited the Indians and hiked up to the boiling lakes.
Dominica is a very green island. They have a lot of jungles, forest, and different types of plants. There aren’t very many houses and the houses which are there, are multicolored. There biggest city is one big street with a couple of local shops. Most of their roads are dirt roads and I believe there isn’t very much money on the island. Also, there aren’t very many tourists and most of the tourists are American or British. However, the island does have an atmosphere; a positive atmosphere. Everybody is relaxed and ready to help. A lot of the people there are Rastafarians which already probably gives you an image of the vibe on the island.
On the 14th we went with the bus from where the boat was to the Indian reserve. The Indians don’t live as they used to but they try to preserve their cultures and traditions and share them with the rest of the world. On the tour we learnt about their culture, for example that women and men never used to live together in a house. The men had a separate house and the women had a separate house. After that some Indians showed us their local dance, which was quite interesting. It was however a bit touristic and you kind of got a fake feeling with it. But, on the other hand it was interesting to see how the Indians tried to preserve their culture. After the dancing we walked up to a waterfall. At the waterfall there were children jumping of cliffs and chilling there. Quite funny to see that children are just having fun in a place that is actually meant for tourists. From the Indian reserve we drove to Indiana River which was more a creek but definitely very beautiful. In this creek we took a boat and got a tour of one of the Dominicans. The guide took us through the creek which was in a jungle and showed us the different flora of the creek. We also knew that some of the Pirates of the Caribbean were filmed on the island. In the creek Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3 were filmed. There was an area where the trees were cleared out and our guide told us that Pirates of the Caribbean built a house there and one of the major scenes were filmed there. What was even cooler was that one of the tour guides brought Keira Knightly and Johnny Depp from the place where we started to the set. The creek was really green and picturesque. After the boat tour we went back to our own ship to get a good night’s rest before the hike to the boiling lakes.

Boiling Lakes

Boiling Lakes

On the 15th we hiked up to the boiling lakes. It was a quite tiring hike but interesting hike. In the jungle parts of Pirates of the Caribbean were also filmed. The hike took us about 6 or 7 hours. It started out with a little waterfall and along the way we almost constantly walked next to the stream. The beginning of the hike was quite easy but after we took a break and ate fruit at the stream it only got harder. Finally however we got to a point which I thought were the boiling lakes but it turned out to be desolation valley. In desolation valley one of the guides boiled eggs for us in the water and we got a mud facial. I was all prepared to go back down when it turned out we had to hike another part up. Finally, we arrived at the boiling lakes after a quite tiring hike. The boiling lake was very interesting though. It was one huge lake and the water inside was actually properly boiling. Bubbles came up through the surface and you saw it cook. The reason why the lake was boiling was because the boiling lakes are actually volcanoes and there is a crevasse in the earth where heat comes up. This heat is so warm it boils the water of the lakes which brings you boiling lakes. At the boiling lakes we had our lunch and after that we hiked back down. Along the way down we stopped at a stream so that we could swim. This was really refreshing! Everybody dripping from sweat, but the stream you didn’t really cool down. The stream was very warm because it was quite near to the boiling lake. Nevertheless, it still felt good. The hike down went much faster than the hike up. Maybe that was because we had one of the tour guides with us. This tour guide had that vibe the rest of the island also had. We were just walking down and suddenly he started singing/ rapping. It was really funny and we all joined along. He called himself DJ Forest. Our mood was instantly changed from negative to positive. This made it much more enjoyable to walk through the warm, humid jungle. Finally, we arrived at the little waterfall again. It was already quite dark but there was a cliff where you could jump off. The water here however, was really cold. But this was really nice after the long hike. After cliff jumping we walked back to the bus. We were so tired. Then all of a sudden one of the teachers said, “I think we have a flat tire”. No way is what we were all thinking. However, there was no reason to worry because only seconds after we stopped the bus about three cars stopped and what people walked by to help us. Also, they of course had a spare tire so after a few minutes we had a new tire and were well on our way back home.
The next day we left for Martinique. Dominica is probably not the first island that comes to mind when you think of vacation, but it definitely is a beautiful and very interesting island to visit.
Greetings from Dominica,
Meilin

Posted by meimeilin 13:18 Archived in Dominica Comments (0)

(Entries 36 - 40 of 59) « Page .. 3 4 5 6 7 [8] 9 10 11 12 »