Our Trip to Venezuela December 23-January 3, 2004-05Venezuela

Goldy and I went to her home country of Venezuela to visit with her family for the holidays.

This diary will be exceptionally brief.  This is because this trip's purpose is to spend quality family time together. 
Good weather and sightseeing are lower priority this time.

NEW! Photos of my trip are ready! The list is at the bottom of the page, or here.

All prices have been translated to US ($) dollars. During this trip, the dollar was worth approximately 2600 Venezuelan Bolivares (this is the black- market rate.  The official rate is closer to 2000.  This is almost triple from three years ago.)


Flew from Fort Wayne to Atlanta to Caracas.  Delta's movie was Without a Paddle. Not a productive way to spend a plane ride.  Arrived in Caracas around 9.


On the last shopping day of the season, we shopped at the mall.  At the Paseo Las Mercedes Shopping Center, we stopped by the studio of Anato Caņizalez.  He was the photographer for our wedding.  But they were closed.
We then paid a visit to Goldy's maternal grandma.  She is called Abuelita Sol.  She previously had a stroke, and she is very old, and lives in a nursing home.  But when we were there, she smiled a lot.


Very little was available to do today.  So we visited with each other, and stopped over at one of the sibling's in-law's
casa, where they had a BBQ cook-out.


Today consisted of some visiting, and last-minute shopping.  Today's mall was Sambil. I also got my haircut there, at a place called Sandro's.  Cost was less than $4. Andres and I attempted to play tennis, but it was too rainy.  So we went to Hebraica, the site of my wedding, and played racquetball.  We also watched Cellular, from an illegal DVD.


We boarded our flight to Margarita Island today at 11, and arrived less than an hour later.  We, together with Rafa and Natalie rented a car (a small cheap Toyota) and also rented an apartment (a decent enough 2-BR).  This was only because our favorite accomodation, Laguna Mar, was full.


Today was spent at Laguna Mar, with the rest of the family who did manage to get lodging there.  We relived the joy from December 2001, when we were also guests there. Played in the beach, at the pool, then I changed to play tennis with the local pro.  I was provided with the court (for one hour), a racquet, some balls, and even the opponent, all for around $10. 


This afternoon's beach was Playa Aqua.  This is popular due to its size, it stretches for several miles.  Many local business and stores dot the adjacent road.  I could have gotten a haircut, a massage, many clothes, checked my email (oh wait, I did), eaten many times, worked out, and more.  This beach also featured large waves.  Being from the midwest, they were an exciting novelty for me.  Despite friendly warnings, I jumped in, and joyously let the surf toss me around.


Our destination today was Juan Griego.  The beach here is much smaller, less than half a mile long.  But that makes it more cozy and private!  Afterwards, we went to the fort to see the sunset.  Yes this was deja vu from 2001.


Today Natalie woke up feeling sick.  After some phone calls, it turned out several others in our party had similar symptoms.  So today was mellow.  However, there was no improvement, and we were forced to enjoy New Year's Eve dinner in Boris and Bella's room with room service!  Goldy and I went out after to watch the show.  We danced, drank, counted down!  Then partied at the casino.  Pepto-Bismol Liquid


My turn!  Awoke to my own vomiting.  Didn't eat much or do much all day.  Couldn't even enjoy dinner out.  First day of 2005 was a day to forget.  Thanks to Bella for the Pepto-Bismol!


Departed Margarita Island.  Arrived in Caracas.  Found our wedding materials from the photographer, which Ariel had picked up for us.  Finally watched our wedding DVD!  Saw Abuelita Sol again.  Indulged in some final bargain shopping.  I bought some Venezuelan candy and the classic Venezuelan pirouettes, Pirulin!  Visit El Latinazo to order these and other Venezuelan products.


In opposition to last time, (2001's return debacle) all flights went smoothly and on time.  Film was Hero, the Jet Li martial arts flick.  On the boring side.  Arrived in Fort Wayne at 4:30.

Fotografias!  Click for full-size version.

Mariana loves her Januca gifts! Uncle David, the horsey
Tio David, el caballo
Natalie, Rafa, Goldy, David, Boris, Bella, Isaquito, Abueltia Sol, Marinita, Samuel Andres, Natalie, Rafa, Dana, Bella, Mery, Isaquito, Goldy, David, Ariel outside of Laguna Mar We got it
goin' on
Ariel, Dana, Goldy, Isaquito, Maripushke, Samuel, Bella Sunset from the fortress
at Juan Griego