The Venezuelan Diaries
A humid soup of a city
We arrived in the biscuit coloured capital, after a relatively long and uneventful flight from London via Paris. The Air France cabin crew were surprisingly friendly but were perhaps assuaging passenger annoyance at the failure of the in-flight entertainment. Oh well Jennifer Aniston and the rash of predictable RomComs can wait, we’ve got South America to explore.
The tortuous wait for our luggage at Simon Bolivar airport soon dissipated as we spotted my red rucksack entombed in its tamper proof wire cage, followed by its little brother. The conveyer belt continued to spew ice-berg sized luggage wrapped in industrial cling film, some unclaimed, or unloved or abandoned by its owner. Relief came in the shape of Felix, the deeply tanned slim Venezuelan transfer driver who watched me struggle with the mammoth rucksack as sweat coursed a delta across my face…trust him to park as a far from the terminal as possible. The cool air conditioning kissed our weary brows and we gazed at the streetlife as we whizzed out of Caracas to our overnight respite.
Reminiscent yet more progressive and perhaps a little less alluring than its Cuban cousin. Venezuelans of every hue seemed to tire of the heat finding solace under palms or shop awnings, others simply gave into the sun’s commands and baked their bodies an even deeper chocolate by the thin beach. It was a strip of coast which appeared to work hard and play hard, busy with construction vehicles, fishermen and fringed by dusty football pitches and play parks all twinkling under a string of lights parading cafes and rough looking restaurants awaiting their patrons for the evening. Caracas is a sprawling coastal capital which clings to the steep verdant mountains embraced by a constant thing veil of mist. The swankier looking apartments crept further up the mountains seeking a more temperate opportunity than the humid soup served up by the city.
A comfortable overnight stay, some forty minutes from the traffic choked airport was completed with a healthy portion of marlin and fried ton ton (plantain), ice cold water and a relaxing game of chess (Delfino Tours). We slept like babies after doing battle with our less than compliant rucksacks….re-packing will be a constant chore I fear. An unwelcome 4:30am alarm shook us from our bed ready for our 5:30am pick up. Today we travel to Canaima National Park via two domestic flights and a heap of departure taxes. Sleep interrupts my eyelids from time to time as I struggle with the instructions for our borrowed SLR camera.