Showing posts from January, 2012

Do We Have To?

I am not ready to leave.  Last year, when we left Tahiti after two weeks, I was more than ready to leave.  I would have left earlier, as beautiful and charming as it was.  
We were talking to a tour operator on the beach this morning after we'd taken our final stroll along Playa Del Agua and I felt a sudden pang in my chest at the thought of not being able to spend the day under a beach umbrella with a "coca-lite" clutched in my hand and a paperback flipped open in my lap. I think it has to do with the people.  Many of the homes and business are run down and sometimes it's frustrating to see the garbage lining the roads and piled up on the beaches. It's frustrating to see because Venezuela is such a rich country but the current government doesn't want to pass the wealth on to the people. It's a complicated situation that you can't really make clear in a brief blog, but despite this, there's something about the friendliness of the Venezuelans them…

Travel Day

For a while I was beginning to think our trip to Venezuela was more like a tour of airports than a vacation.  From the time we arrived on January 17th, until we landed in Porlamar Margarita this afternoon, we'd been on eleven different flights.  I can't say eleven different planes because we took the same plane with Angel for three different flights.   It's been a lot of air time and a lot of time waiting in airports, but when I look back on the photos I've posted here over the past two weeks, it's been a pretty amazing trip.  I'm grateful to my husband for his planning, his patience, and his translation skills.

There's still two flight left to get us back to our home sweet home, but I think it's been worth it.

The airport in Porlamar
A plane coming towards the runway at Los Roques

Coming in for a landing at Ciudad BolĂ­var Airport

 Landing at the Canaima Airport - this was the only one that made me feel nervous.
Arriving in Margarita

Thirty Two Years Later

When we made our plans to visit Venezuela for my husband's fiftieth birthday we had no intention of returning to El Pao, the small American camp  where he grew up.  We were discouraged from visiting by a number of people, particularly my father-in-law.  "You can't go home again," he quoted.  He insisted my husband would find it depressing and would regret it.

When we met up with Cesar, my husband's childhood friend, he suggest we go to El Pao on our last day in Puerto Ordaz.  It was less than an hour's drive away and afterwards we could have lunch in San Felix, visit Llovizna Falls on the Caroni River (the river my niece was named after) as well as the nearby Dam and Museum.  "We'll bring a towel for Mikey," he said.

Cesar and my husband infront of the house he grew up in.
The mine where his father worked has grown over considerably

The school is one of the few things that has been maintained over the years.  The town was certainly run down an…

We Shall Return!

We had only arranged to spend one night at Waku Lodge and as much as we would have loved to stay it turned out to be a good decision as it rained on and off the most of this morning.  We walked around the property, taking pictures and returned to the reception area with our books.  As my husband speaks fluent Spanish he was able to have a long discussion with Isaac who was waiting for the next group to arrive.

A charter group arrived and registered while we read our books.  I watched with much anticipation as one woman broke off from the group and walked in the direction of the view.  She stopped suddenly and turned back to her friends.  The look on her face was one of wonder and joy.  Oh how I wish I'd had my camera at the ready.  I'm sure her face mirrored the awe I had displayed yesterday and I think both of us would have enjoyed being able to look back on that special moment.  
We left shortly after lunch and Angel said he had been given permission to give us a reduced ra…

Canaima, the Lost World

When Pixar made the movie "Up" the animators could have drawn anything they wanted to represent  Paradise Falls and the Lost World that Carl, the grouchy protagonist, longed to visit.  Instead they used Canaima National Park as their source, a 3,500,000 hectare, beautiful lush jungle with amazing waterfalls, and giant mesas or tepuis, located in a south east corner of Venezuela.
We had hoped to visit Canaima when we started making plans for our vacation.  We just couldn't seem to make it work and had given up on it by the time we left.  When we arrived in Puerto Ordaz to visit my husband's friend Cesar, he informed us he had a pilot friend aptly named Angel, who would see to it that we got a chance to visit one of the most beautiful places in Venezuela, if not the world, and stay at the best lodge in the park.
I have to say I felt like a VIP as Angel met us at the entrance to the airport looking quite dashing in his uniform and dark aviator glasses.  He took our ba…

Island Time

You always hear about "island time" when you go to the Caribbean.  People complain about having to wait in line for things, flights are often delayed, and stores never open on time. After ten days of our vacation which included five very smooth flights on and off two islands, we hadn't experienced anything like that... until today.  Our preferred breakfast place seemed closed for the day, the internet cafe wouldn't be open for several hours and we visited three different travel agents, returning to two of them because "[they'd] be back soon", before we could find one where there was someone who could book us on a flight to Puerto Ordaz on the mainland...the place where my husband would meet up with his childhood best friend.  
Our original flights were no longer available and our plans to leave tomorrow and return Sunday evening were thrown out the window.  (For some reason my husband didn't think we'd have any trouble booking the day before.) …

Drama Queen for a Day

I have a tendency to be drawn towards the dramatic. Because of this, I've always assumed that if I ever found myself in a disaster or life threatening situation I'd go off the deep end.  I'd be the one flapping my hands and yelling, "We're all gonna die!" until someone slapped my face and shouted, "Get a hold of yourself!"  I'm pleased to say that it turns out I was wrong about that.
After yesterday's catamaran trip,  I was quite burnt despite the 60 spf sunscreen and valiant attempts to stay in the shade. When I looked at my red face in the bathroom mirror this morning I said,"I think the best place for me today will be in the house with a wet towel over my head." My husband was scheduled to go diving in Los Frailes this morning and I was scheduled join him, but I would snorkel rather than dive.  
I assured him that I'd be fine at home and would enjoy some time to relax and catch up on laundry.  At 8:30 my husband departed in…

Coche Island

When we got up this morning at 7 a.m. it was pouring rain and at 7:50 when our ride didn't show up, we figured our trip to Coche Island on the catamaran Mamale had been cancelled.  We poured ourselves another cuppa and sat on the deck, planning to head into town around 8:30 to pick up our refund.

Despite the downpour, we heard a honk at 8:30 and rushed out the front door to join our fellow tourists for the hour drive to the marina.  It poured all the way there but stopped when we got off the bus.  It was still very grey but by the time we got a few miles from shore the skies were blue and we were slathering on the sunscreen.

Our crew kept us well entertained and lubricated with lots of rum punch.  There are a number of incriminating photos of hubby and I doing our turn dancing with various head gear.  They are truly awful.  They are so bad I want to post them so you can see just how bad they are, but they are truly bad!  We stopped at a small reef on the way to the island to do a…