The Venezuelan Diaries
Barefoot and beached
We arrived on a 16 seater aircraft with an air hostess of mature years whose days as a glamorous stewardess were now in a rear view mirror. However, her professional service industry mask didn’t slip and for the first time in years I heard the safety instructions being performed by a human instead of an illustrated video or tannoy voice over...how refreshing and reflective of these string of islands. The skilful landing on the tiny airstrip, barely longer than a Tesco shopping aisle was applauded and the luggage was ceremonially dumped on the sand road allowing for a bun fight between weary passengers. The streets on this island, Gran Roque (the main island) are made of sand. We were met by Angel, brown as a nut with a sun drenched face and barefoot ‘La Cigala?’ he questioned. ‘Si’ we responded. He slung the rucksack across his back with ease and we ambled the three minute journey to Posada, La Cigala a beautifully relaxed Caribbean guest house, oozing cool charm with white washed walls, weather seasoned teak furniture and an inner courtyard of fans, slumber cushions and two palm trees swaying the open air sky roof. All, perfectly arranged to ease the most stressed townies into a tropical zen state. Gorgeously prepared food in the courtyard consisted of freshly caught snapper followed by a heavenly passion fruit mousse.
The next day we were whisked away in our Posada’s speedboat to a choice of tiny islands in the Los Roques archipelago. We chose our very own desert island surrounded by 360oof interrupted coral sea.in total solitude, with the sound of white sand gently flirting with the azure water so pure, so unadulterated it could only be the Caribbean.
The heat of the day took its grip and we sheltered under our beach umbrella and unpacked little food and drink surprises throughout the day from our pre-packed cooler. Our island, Cayo Vapor accommodated a rough side of broken coral, scrub green ground cover, a couple of fluttering Gaviotas and a constant on-shore breeze. By 4.30pm, paranoia set in and we wondered whether Angel had forgotten to pick us up, island rescue appeared in the form of La Cigala’s speedboat, carving its way Miami Vice style through the calm water, after almost seven hours we had our fill of solitude in paradise under the unforgiving sun. An air conditioned room, a ton of after-sun and a cooling shower aided the patchwork of red blotches worn by my Maharani, her body resembling an aerial map of the islands. The next day would be spent out of the sun relaxing at La Cigala and allowing ourselves to soak up the laid-back Venezuelan vibe.
It’s good for a while…as long as you’ve packed your factor 50.