Monday, September 22, 2008

Aruba

"At the foot of these fairy mountains [the Catskills of New York], the voyager may have descried the light smoke curling up from a village, whose shingle roofs gleam among the trees ... a little village of great antiquity, having been founded by some of the Dutch colonists, in the early times of the province ..." -- Irving, Rip Van Winkle.

Few are the reminders today that the plucky and late-forming nation of The Netherlands once had an empire in the New World. New Yorkers know it, for their great city began as a Dutch project. And down in the warm Caribbean Sea, a chain of islands still holds ties to the faraway land of tulips and windmills.

One of those islands is called Aruba and in the waning days of September, it will be my geographic study, as I revive this long-suffering project. Technically, it is not an independent nation, it is autonomous but still part of the Netherlands. There are many places such as this in the world, either by choice or by force.

Aruba is a speck in the sea, a mere 19.6 miles long and 6 miles wide, crammed with 90,500 people, but it enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the Caribbean. Of course the official language is Dutch, though the native language is something called Papiamento.

When I have more time, I will upload a picture of the island's distinctive divi-divi trees.

4 comments:

Janice Thomson said...

I've heard of Aruba but know little about it. Ninety thousand people on a 20 mile island - wow! Look forward to the photos and more info.

citizen of the world said...

Haven't been there, but the islands around that area sure are beuatiful.

Eastcoastdweller said...

Janice: Alas, I only have a few days to complete my study of this place before October will demand that I move on, to Australia. To linger, will be to ensure that I am very old before I finally reach Zambia or Zimbabwe.

Citizen: Lucky You, to have been there, to Aruba's Sister islands, if not to Aruba.

Chase March said...

It's good to see that you've gotten back to your plan.

I know it's often hard to do all the things that you want to, or that you even say that you will do.