Out of gas


Isla Refinery, Curacao

After three weeks of living in a beachside hotel, as nice as it is, the tedium of choosing what meal to eat (shall I have the cobb salad AGAIN?), or what to do (beach, pool, beach, pool, weight room?) doesn’t seem to garner much sympathy from family and friends. After all, many people save for years to go on a holiday like this…blue skies, blue water, blue liquor, it’s all quite nice, but after three weeks of tiny soaps, dozy cover bands, no real connection with the country itself, and squealing vacationing kids dive-bombing into a three foot pool, I’m simply out of gas. But then again, so is Curaçao. Apparently, a couple hours ago, the truck drivers who deliver gas are on strike. Thinking we would beat the crowd and fill up before the Monday workday, we went to the nearest gas station. We were told in no uncertain terms that we should head on home and save our (gas) energy, as the country was out of gas. Back at the hotel room (saving my energy) I googled the crisis, thinking perhaps it would make some kind of news…a whole country OUT OF GAS. I found nothing. From what I understand, some workers are on strike at Curacao’s Isla refinery–leased by Venezuelan company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA)—a refinery that has been paralyzed since March due to compliance and pollution issues. Last year, the refinery was court ordered to upgrade the facility to meet air quality standards, which it has yet to do. Meanwhile, the actual reasons as to who and why remaining workers are striking, are unclear…as dim as the oft polluted skies around the refinery.

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