With the flame in the pipe!
With the flame in the pipe…
Driving on Curaçao is fantastic. Just ask any teenager who just got their driver's license. Every ride here is something of a 'road trip'. But again not. We don't have the endless roads here like in the US. Yet it feels like an adventure when you do a round of the island. This also has to do with the sometimes bad condition of the roads. This is especially the case after the rainy season. So it is sometimes navigating past holes and cracks.
The unique Curaçao culture also contributes to the driving experience. The horn here has more of a social function. This is a greeting to someone you know or a signal to give way. The direction is also often indicated with an arm out the window. And when this arm goes up and down, it means that the driver is going to stop or at least slow down. We don't just drive here to get from a to b.
We also drive for fun. See what comes your way. That is why it is sometimes also necessary to be careful. People who suddenly turn off (usually without giving direction) because they see someone they know at the 'trukdipan'. Therefore always keep enough distance. The through road at a T-junction also has priority by default, unless indicated otherwise.
Curaçao has a number of dual carriageways. Officially, overtaking on the right is not allowed, but it is tolerated and it happens regularly. It takes some getting used to, but doable. Fortunately, petrol is a lot cheaper here than in the Netherlands. You have to pay in advance at the pump. This is also possible with a Dutch bank card. You make an estimate of how much will go in and you can receive the excess paid back at the checkout.
The roads become slippery when it has rained. This has to do with the composition of the asphalt. Especially when it rains for the first time after a prolonged drought.
Just like in the Netherlands, you can get your driver's license here from the age of 18. We used to have to deal with driving license tourism on the islands. Often these were candidates who had failed a number of times in the Netherlands. At some point they put restrictions on that. Logical too. You will be trained for the place where you take the exam. On Saba, for example, you only had to drive up and down the mountain.
Nowadays you can only get your driver's license on the islands if you have lived there for at least six months. For our teenagers on the island this can be very stressful. Many go to study abroad at the age of 18. The theory exam can only be requested on the day you are 18. When you have passed your theory, you may only take practical lessons. So if your birthday is in March or April, there isn't much time. However, prospective students are given priority. If you can demonstrate that you are going to study abroad, the relevant body will do everything it can to provide a departure date for your departure. This means that, after the central writing, lessons take place almost daily. There is also often only 1 exit option. And that is stressful. But when it's done, these teens are having the time of their lives.
For the first time in their lives (when they were born and raised on Curaçao) they experience freedom. Can go wherever and whenever they want. Those last weeks on Curaçao will therefore often go down in the books as the best time on Curaçao. And thus a good preparation for student life elsewhere.
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