Sunday 7th December to Wednesday 10th December – Isla de Margarita

After my first night in hotel Tamaca I woke up to a very wet room after heavy rain during the night.  Fortunately this had not managed to get anywhere near anything of consequence such as the cupboard and Eric explained that the whole of downtown was flooded and staff could not get to work.  Apparently this was very unusual.  I headed out and tried to find a shopping mall listed in my guidebook.  I managed to walk straight passed it but this little diversion did lead me to a rather nice bakery so it was all okay.  After exploring a bit I headed to an out of town shopping mall.  The place was pristine and over priced.  I went into one shop to inquire about converter plugs.  When I looked at the tag and did the conversion I thought I must have got my conversion rates or the old and new currency rates mixed up so asked a member of staff.  When they explained and it transpired that my conversion was accurate my mouth dropped and I had what my mother would call a sock moment.  The thing was one hundred pounds.  Being English and unable to say it was too much I asked questions about the plug, pretending it wasn’t what I was looking for before leaving the store in disgust.  I didn’t buy anything in the whole mall but I did take some pictures of rather entertaining signs.


After the shopping mall experience I headed back into the old town where I saw the devastation that Eric was talking about.  There were locals trying to start cars and, in many cases, using buckets to get the water out of them which had accumulated overnight.  The river was rampant and there were trees draped across roads.  After watching the attempts to normalise the town I headed back to the hostel.  I had a few beers at the bar and played a guy from Trinidad at pool.  I was on form for once actually and impressed a lot of the crew who hung around the bar that night.


The following day I pottered around the town some more, ate more unhealthy food and explored the, slightly uninspiring, beach.  When I got back to the hostel the usual friendly faces were there and I joined them for a couple of drinks.  As we were sat looking at the restaurant opposite a couple of guys turned up, broke into a car, and started unloading the contents.  The guy from Trinidad commented that Eric should call the Police to which Eric replied that he didn’t want a bullet in his head.  I was then treated to all kinds of stories about crime, people being threatened and shot, in town and at the hostel itself!  After a little while when I had convinced people to stop telling me horror stories there was the sound of gunshot very clearly just down the road.  One of the bar staff rushed to the gate, shut it and put the chain over the top.  Although it was nice that someone actually reacted it was also rather comical as the chain was just one which you could lift up and, regardless, the fence was of a height that you could actually possibly just step right over it.  Later in the evening I headed out to a different bar with the guy from Trinidad (please never read my blog as I will be very embarassed to have forgotten your name) where locals were drinking and doing karaoke.  It was a bit dead so we didn’t stay long and I headed back to the hostel.


The next day was much of a muchness with wanders around the town and greasy, fried Venezuelan food.  The one thing of note is that I went to the dentist.  I had been speaking to Eric the night before in the bar and told him my concerns about having a strange lump in my mouth since the incident when I was assaulted in Wanaka, New Zealand.  He said that he would inquire about dentists and, sure to form, he had a name and number, and even someone to take me there when I arrived at reception the following day.  When we got there they said that I needed to come back later, which I did.  After looking at the people amassing in the waiting room I thought I would be there forever.  I also noted that nearly all of them had braces.  When I was in Vietnam an English guy from Barnet was telling me that braces are almost a status symbol in South America and that people keep them on for longer than they need to.  At the time I thought he might have been exaggerating but it turned out that he was not.  You see the most beautiful people with very obvious braces from in the streets to advertising signs.  Anyway, when I went into the dentist’s room she looked at my mouth.  She spoke some English and, when she saw the, do I have mouth cancer look on my face said, “not a problem for your mother, father, brother or sister, problem for you”.  Regardless of the fact that she went on to tell me that I needed braces, had six cavities and that the lump was bone which probably means I have a broken or deformed jaw, those words made me so happy.  So happy infact that I paid her to clean my teeth!

In the evening I had a couple of drinks at the hostel bar before heading to a different bar with the guy from Trinidad.  Wow, I really should remember his name, particularly as it wasn’t even that difficult.  He shall now be known as Dave!  Anyway, on the way to the other bar the heavens truly opened and Dave and I got drenched.  It turned out not to matter too much though as the other clientelle were hardly dressed to impress!


On the Wednesday I decided I really needed to explore a bit more of the island prior to leaving and headed out to a different beach which many locals had told me was the best on the island.  When I got there I could see why, the place was glorious with crisp white sand fringed by palm trees.  An Italian guy came to talk to me who turned out to be an annoying sleaze but the place was awesome nonetheless.  The sea was amazingly warm although the waves were quite strong and hand action was needed in order not to lose the bikini!  There was also possibly the strongest long shore drift (wow my Geography teachers would be impressed) I have ever experienced with you ending up a few hundred metres down the beach if not paying paramount attention.  After speaking to a few ex-pat bar owners and enjoying the sun, sea and sand I got a shared car/bus thing back to town.  This was a relatively amusing experience as every time we passed anyone by the side of the road the driver, and all the passengers for that matter, would lean out the windows and shout, “Porlamar?”.  At no stage did we acquire any more passengers!  I was dropped at the plaza in the old town which I must have missed by about thirty metres on all of my previous wanderings.  The place was lovely with lights in the trees around the central square and street traders lining the side streets.  I went to a renowned local restaurant for dinner where I ate the most extraordinary fish.  Once back at the hostel I intended to say my goodbyes to all the awesome people I had met there and have an early night.  Unfortunately it wasn’t to be as they were all insistent that I had farewell drinks.  Admittedly my prostetation could have been slightly stronger.  I ended up with a couple of the guys at another bar before returning to my hostel in the wee hours.  When I walked in the guy on reception asked if I realised that the time I had asked him to wake me up to share a taxi was only one and a half hours away.  I replied that I was completely aware of this, which I was, and that all would be fine which……..

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One Response to “Sunday 7th December to Wednesday 10th December – Isla de Margarita”

  1. I guess I’m kind of an old fart, but I can’t get behind the concept of molecular cooking. Apparently, neither can Italy. They have introduced a ban on molecular cooking for italian restaurants. What do you think?

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