Saturday 6th December – Puerto La Cruz to Isla de Margarita

In the morning I briefly wandered around the town prior to heading up to the port to find out aboat boats.  Unfortunately the first available boat was in the evening so, after ditching my bag, I headed back into town.  I decided it would be a good waste of time type activity to get my hair cut and went into a reasonable looking salon.  I always have vague pangs of fear when locks fall on the floor in England but this becomes something of a terrifying experience in countries where your language skills suck.  It wasn’t the best cut in the World to be honest but I did get a free glass of wine whilst my barnet was being hacked at so I guess I can’t really complain too much. 


After the haircut I had a beer on the front before heading back along the dark road and through some attractive looking wasteland to the port.  The boat took ages to leave, partly as it arrived late and partly as they had some trouble docking it due to the crazy waves.  These had arrived due to a nasty storm which had decided to pick up just before my sailing time.  As I went and handed my rucksack over the staff suggested that I take the things out of the side pockets lest they fall out on the journey.  I assured them that they were tightly packed and handed the bag back to them.  The boat journey itself wasn’t as traumatic as I thought it might be.  It was very rough but fortunately the bouncing and rocking was from front to back and not a nauseating side to side movement. 


I got off the boat when we arrived and headed to the place to collect my luggage.  This was basically a big holding room with a large metal gate which a man occasionally opened before ramming it shut, often on people, to control the flow.  It was a bit like the sheep herding which I was rubbish at in New Zealand.  When it was my turn to be herded in I found that the staff were right and I was wrong as all the things in the outside pockets of my bag had indeed fallen out.  One member of staff seemed to find this distinctly amusing and the other clearly didn’t as she handed my belongings back firmly stating that next time I should remove them.


As I had arrived at night there weren’t any buses so I was forced to get a cab.  I rifled through my faithful, “Lonely Planet” and found an okay looking place.  The taxi driver turned out to be relatively sweet and not too leery.  He did, however, share the traditional Venezuelan taxi driver characteristic of driving at crazy speeds regardless of the road’s surface, other vehicles and the weather.  At one point he slowed down and I was reassured to see the remains of a taxi and another car wedged against the central reservation with a couple of confused looking Policemen staring at them.  Shortly after this, like maybe one hundred metres down the road, my driver asked if I liked beer before “parking” the taxi halfway across the carriageway and getting out.  I watched him as he walked into a kind of outside bar place where there were teams of girls playing something resemblimg petanque.  He then reappeared with two plastic cups of beer.  Slightly bemused I thanked him and he continued to drive to town beer in hand.


When we arrived at “Hotel Tamaca” there were a lot of people around the bar and courtyard area and a live band playing.  I was greeted by Eric, the owner, who I instantly warmed to.  Organised as ever I didn’t have enough cash on me and he was fine with me paying the following day.  After sorting myself out I headed downstairs where I chatted to some friendly sorts at the bar, watched the live bands and had a few beers.  It transpired that it was also okay for me to pay for these the following day which was very kind I thought.  When the music finished I said my Goodbyes to the few people still propping the bar up and headed to bed.

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