Being Normal

Not only was our trip to Bonaire a vacation from work but also it was a vacation from our lifestyle. There are so many amazing parts of living on the road however we both get very tired of eating all our meals at restaurants. This was one of the reasons we rented a condo vs. going to a resort. Being able to spend an evening in your jammies with a book and bottle of wine is a luxury.

 

This is for the Van Gelder kids, fresh raisin buns with cheese!!!

This is for the Van Gelder kids, fresh raisin buns with cheese!!!

So while we were on vacation we were normal. Who gets a kick out of going grocery shopping and hitting the fish market?!? (You will need to bring your own shopping bags) Most food was labeled in Dutch but not terribly hard to figure out. We had no issues other than one terrible piece of cheese.

Look how normal I am next to our little rental truck

Look how normal I am next to our little rental truck

 

This has spurred us on to make a few changes in our lives. Neither of us really enjoy eating out anymore; the occasional great restaurant is one thing but too often we have to pick from what is just around. It takes too long and isn’t very relaxing, plus the portions!! Josh is compulsive about cleaning his plate. There are many times where there just is not a good healthy option either or what is offered does not appeal.

 

This year we are going to try something new. We do stay at many hotels that have kitchenettes, although they have no cooking essentials. I found a great little travel spice kit, designed for RVs and we have some other small amenities. Utilizing the kitchenette is one part the other is to utilize the great deli and pre-prepared food options at many grocery stores. We can eat lighter and with a bit more variety. This is not a New Years resolution just a product of getting a glimpse at how we can live better.

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One of the best parts of the condo we rented (Coral Seas) was the partially stocked kitchen. We didn’t have to start from scratch; there were basic spices, oil and a few non-perishables left behind. Another great feature of this place.

 

***This is part of a series of posts called “Travel Tuesday“, each covering topics unique to our lifestyle***

We Went to Bonaire

I’m back!!! We have been away for long enough and have one heck of a trip to share. This year Josh and I went someplace unique for our winter vacation, Bonaire. This Caribbean destination is part of the ABC islands or sometimes referred to as the Dutch Caribbean, Dutch Indies or Dutch Antilles. That sure is a lot of Dutch huh!! Like I don’t get enough of that with a last name like Van Gelder.   Actually that was one reason we decided to go, the Dutchness aside, the “B” island is known as a SCUBA diver’s paradise. After the recommendation of a family member, Thank You Will, we went for it.

 

What's more Dutch than a windmill

What’s more Dutch than a windmill

I have many things to talk about over the coming weeks but let’s just start with the nuts and bolts of planning the trip. Getting to Bonaire and getting around was different than other places in that region. This is not a typical Caribbean island set up with massive chain resorts to hold beach going tourist, nope it’s all about diving.

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To get there we flew on the once weekly offering from Delta, yep you heard me, one flight a week. There is your start to different. If you are flying from the US and want to go directly to Bonaire there are only a few carriers that will take you and they only fly once a week. However there is a second option and this might be good for many. You can take a daily flight from the US to Curacao, “C” island, and then get on an InselAir commuter to Bonaire. We were able to be flexible with our departure and arrival days so Delta’s Saturday flight fit us fine. We also had miles to spend on the tickets, they run around $600 from Chicago.

 

Then there is a getting around, again you have two options. If you chose to stay at one of the resorts, mind that they are not chains and operate on a double occupancy scale, they will help you with transportation and outings. They also charge a hefty penny for that “service”. You are limited to their reefs or the excursion reefs without a car. However if you stay at a rental condo or apartment (even what we would call a condo is often called an apartment) you will also be renting a car. Not exactly car, you will rent a truck and not just any truck a little Helix pickup with a rack in the back for your air tanks!!! It was the cutest little thing and we could just go, set our own schedule and really enjoy the island. The truck we had was a manual, something good to note when making the arrangements.

 

I’ve sort of led into this but we rented a condo, CoralSeas Apartments. This place was amazing. One of the highlights for us was that the kitchen came with a few amenities, can’t tell you how many trips we have taken where we don’t cook a thing due to the unit not even having a salt shaker. No one wants to start from scratch just to make breakfast. CoralSeas is well set up for divers. They have a rinse tank; clothes line and the patios have hooks for you to hang your gear to dry. There are three units that share the tank and pool. While we did see our neighbors you didn’t feel like they were always around.

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With all this good there must be some bad, well there is (just a little). This is no foodie’s paradise, I’m not saying all the food was bad, we had a couple of good experiences that I will share. As a whole the food was average. Most places are not open for lunch unless a large cruise ship is docked. We ate lunch out most days and only dinner a few, this is a bit counterculture, as you will find most places open for dinner. We prefer to be out during the day and relax at night. The second bad thing is theft. We did not have anything stolen or broken into but it is a well-known problem. So when driving your cute little truck to a dive site and going down for an hour thieves are known to pilfer your vehicle. You are instructed to keep it unlocked and nothing you don’t mind loosing in there. I was given a scary warning before going but once there assured that items towels and clothing will not likely be lost. We did buy cheap sunglasses there to leave in the truck.

 

Sheesh that was more of an into than I planned. So overview done, enjoy what’s coming soon.