When it's twenty degrees at home, it's great to be able to escape the cold. At the end of January, Nhu and I went to the small island of Curaçao for five days. The weather was beautiful: just a few puffy clouds, and a relatively balmy 85 degrees. I picked the destination out of a desire to see somewhere new, and also to burn four nights' worth of free Hilton certificates. Unfortunately, the destination of Curaçao is now served only by American Airlines, after Continental abandoned it just a month prior. So, without my top status to get us into first class, we were prepared to suffer in the back on a redeye to Miami followed by another few hours to the island. Fortunately, one of my friends from work, who lives in Chicago and flies American Airlines as much as I fly United, decided to give us two upgrade certificates for the redeye to Miami. We were very thankful, because we were at least able to get some sleep!
After arrival in Curaçao, we were greeted by an immigration line that contained not only our plane, but a 747 that had just arrived from Amsterdam as well. Forty five minutes later, we finally made it out of the airport and made our way to the hotel in the rental car. The hotel was very nice, though not the nicest Hilton I have visited. It was located on the beach, but the beach was rather small. Overall, I liked the Hilton in Cabo much better, but this one was still nice. Perhaps the best part was the executive lounge, which one night even had chicken wings! That night, Nhu and I didn't even bother getting dinner afterward.
Most of our trip consisted of relaxing, exploring the island, and swimming. I personally don't care for swimming all that much, but if you put a snorkel on me, I'll be more than happy to get in the water and look at fish. And Curaçao had some beautiful fish! We took a day trip to the small uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao, just a few miles away. As part of the trip, we had a great barbecue lunch. The beach was beautiful, and the water was a gorgeous blue-green. The island also sported a fantastic abandoned lighthouse, which I of course had to explore and photograph extensively. Unfortunately, the area just around the lighthouse had bunches of lizards, of which Nhu has a bit of a phobia. So, we didn't stay toolong. Afterward, we went back to the boat to enjoy some snorkeling, and some free booze that came with the day trip. I would highly recommend!
After five days of getting thoroughly cooked (despite my sunscreen), we made our way reluctantly back to the airport. Fortunately, the line to leave the country wasn't nearly as long. Unfortunately, the line to get back into the US at the Miami airport was even longer. We waited in line for nearly an hour before getting our passports checked, then rushed to the security line to make our connection. That took forever as well. All I can say is that the Miami airport is a nightmare. We did make it to our flight though, and even had time to grab a bite to eat before we boarded. We were definitely very happy when we finally made it back to Denver.