The available excursion on Friday was to drive tiny little two-person speed boats. From what we heard from people that did it, it wasnâ€™t very fun. The boats were hard to drive, had two speeds: full staring-at-the-sky throttle or stopped. We chose that excursion as the one to pass and take a day easily at our own pace. After breakfast, we headed for the beach. The beach is at the other end of our hotel, about 300 meters from our room. Without being there very long, I had to go back to the room and get my wallet. The beach vendors are ruthless. This one fellow had some really nice necklaces that I liked. Two of them were stated as 20,000 B each, but I got him down to 20,000 B for both ($5). Then there was a really nice one with a huge great white sharkâ€™s tooth. It was really sharp. To demonstrate, the vendor shaved some plastic off my beach chair with it. He said it was 80,000 B. I offered him 50k, and he said that he absolutely couldnâ€™t go lower than 60k. I offered 55k, but he held firm, and I could tell that he really wasnâ€™t going any lower, so I accepted. Then Marga found a couple that she liked. The vendor was really trusting and nice. He put the sharkâ€™s tooth necklace on me for my walk back to the room to get the money. We also ended up buying some little sandstone sculptures and some linen beach wraps (those cloth things that women wear over their bikinis) from two other vendors. The sky started to cloud over and we decided weâ€™d better go back to the room to stop spending money.
Apparently, during the huge storm that we witnessed from afar the day before, a lightning bolt hit the neighboring hotel and broke off part of the roof. According to rumors, there were people pretty close by, but no one was hurt. Knowing what I now know about Venezuela, I suspect it will remain broken like this for 5 or 6 years.
The beach by the hotel wasn't anything like our favorite one so far.
Some brown-skinned hustlers were taking money from pasty white tourists.
I talked Marga into going back to Rancho de Pablo for some more lobster. As Iâ€™ve often found in life, when you have a truly magical surprising experience, when you go back to repeat it, itâ€™s never the same. The wine they gave us was different (worse), the bread was different, things were different. We varied our lobster dishes to experiment and ended up liking them less. Oh well. It was still a fantastically delicious lunch. After lunch we went to buy some luggage we saw the other day. Margaâ€™s suitcase has made its last flight and will be retired here in Venezuela. Before getting to the suitcase store, I spotted a Mac Store. Note that it wasnâ€™t an official Apple Store, I donâ€™t think, but they had all the latest equipment. I left a blog entry on one of the new aluminum iMacs with the new keyboard. Unfortunately, the connection was really crappy, so I couldnâ€™t connect to a chat service. Otherwise I would have talked with the folks at my work.
Marga was admiring the whiteness of my shark's tooth, and wanted to compare it to our teeth.
Do sharks eat lobster?
The bill. Or at least the one that some poor bloke named Eric Rassmusem paid. 42 grand tip included. Ouch!
The taxi driver that took us back to the hotel was a Colombian who had been living in Venezuela for more than a decade. He had an ex-wife, son and daughter that live in Santander, Spain, about 30 minutes away from us. Small world, eh? He told us that we were in the worst hotel in the entire island and that our hotel had been shut down for many years, but had recently been reopened by someone who knew how to market it into package deals for foreigners. Yeah, tell me about it!
We had time for a little nap before dinner. We had dinner at the special one-day-per-week-of-stay restaurant down by the beach. The food was noticeably better than in the other included dining areas. The waiters were much more attentive. Marga really loved her steak. I would still rate my meal as on par with a cheap restaurant in Spain. The wine was too hot and not very good. We dined with the two other couples that were in our jeep a few days earlier. Thatâ€™s when we heard about how the excursion we passed up that day went. One guy in our group, Paco, had to keep reminding us to steer the conversation away from how crappy the food in the rest of the hotel was, because there were plenty of waiters and cooks within earshot. Towards the end of the meal, we started getting out tip money, 10k B (2€) per couple. We set it on the table, and our wine glasses were immediately refilled. It was like turning on a switch. When we left, Paco, the oldest (35), handed the money to the main waiter and said, â€œWeâ€™re signed up to come tomorrow night, too.â€ The waiter simultaneously winked, nodded, and pocketed the money.
Heading for dinner.
This photo is enough to condemn Hotel Pueblo Caribe. Salt around the rim of a plastic cup! How sad.
We went back up to the main hotel bar area to have some drinks. Marga was drinking cuba libres (rum and pepsi), and I experimented to much success with piña coladas and coco locos. At eleven oâ€™clock we went down to check out the beach discotheque. The first song when we arrived was salsa, so Marga and I lay down some elegant spin moves until the next song came and we went to get drinks. The music got progressively worse, moving more towards thump-thump trance music. I went to the loo, and when I returned, Marga was gone. I asked one of the others where she was, and I got a point towards the water. I gazed to sea and saw the silhouette of my wife in a long black dress, bathed in the reflected moonlight, with the waves lapping at her bare feet. It was a beautiful moment. As I went out to her, the music turned to something somewhat meringue-able, and we danced in the Caribbean moonlight. It was by far the most romantic part of the entire honeymoon.
I forget who suggested it, but we both wanted to do it. We walked hand in hand 200 meters down the beach, and went for a midnight swim in the Caribbean sea, our bodies glistening in the moonlight. Definitely an unforgettable experience. Eventually we emerged onto the beach, donned our soaked clothing, and walked dripping back to the hotel room, Marga remarking that we could check that item off lifeâ€™s todo list.
My sandals upon return to the hotel room. Notice the painted concrete floor. That's class, baby!
Up next: Swimming with Dolphins!