Sonny Daze World Tour travel blog

This is the pier in Juan Griego, a lovely little town on...

This is "the" street in Playa el Agua

The beach

Parrots in Juan Griego

More beach. Watch out for the Man Of Wars that wash up...

I also found a flying fish that had just washed up. It's...

The beach was very "European" with many g-strings and topless women. No...

Look at that view!! There's a snorkling tour available for the uninhabited...

Zack posing (again). He wanted to take that boat out to sea...

I landed at the Caracas airport in Venezuela and set out to get some of the local currency and then decide whether to go to Caracas. I had been told by many people that it was a very dangerous place and some 2 1/2 hours by taxi from the airport (I guess the old road fell off into a canyon). It was then that I met two lovely American girls, Karen and Sandy from Idaho, who told me of a place where I could relax and replenish my energies after that "place I can't name for legal reasons". I decided on the spot that I would go there and so I bought a ticket for a flight that was to leave in 30 minutes. The place is called Isle de Margarita. It is an island that sits off the northern coast of Venezuela and I must say, it is the nicest place I've been to thus far. The people are lovely and the beach is very inviting. I stayed at Quinta Nathalie in Play el Agua. The rooms are clean and cheerful with a shared outdoor kitchen area and I would highly recommend the accommodations to anyone. Many people who come here stay at the all-inclusive hotels located nearby so there is somewhat of a tourist-y feel to this particular beach but, all in all, it still retains a small village charm. I only wish I had more time for this location because there is much to the island I've yet to explore.

The currency situation was less confusing than the last country I visited, yet there were more intricacies than I'm accustomed to in the US. In Venezuela the currency is also artificially inflated so the official rate of exchange is much less than the black market can bring (as much as 15% more). Greenbacks are the preferred currency so I found myself wishing I had brought more with me. The money is strange. It's called "Bolivars." Officially, 2,150 Bolivars is equal to one U.S. dollar so things can sound quite expensive when you owe, say, 25,000 Bolivars for dinner !!!

Again I was direly missing my camera because there were many beautiful things there to photograph. Among them were some of the most beautiful women I had ever seen in one place. The first night I arrived, I stayed at Juan Griego in a hotel that was right next to a Saturday night Fiesta which included a beauty contest. I have never heard such clamor over a beauty contest in my life. It was reminiscent of Friday night football fever back in my home state of Oklahoma. They take their beauty contests very seriously there and I wouldn't be surprised if oftentimes fights break out among the audience members as well as the participants.

That being said, the people in Venezuela are some of the most friendly people I've ever met. They are easy to smile, glad to meet you and to get a chance to practice their English. Where I was at, the living is good, the weather wonderful and I will gladly go back there someday to explore the country more. I met some great guys from Serbia and Italy that were also staying at Quinta Nathalie's and before I knew it, I felt at home.

There is much talk among politicians in the States about the situation in Venezuela. Supposedly, their leader, Hugo Chavez, has leftist leanings and that is making many nervous in American government because of how much we depend on their oil to fill our tanks. I don't know much about all of that, but Venezuela is the only country I've ever been in where people just abandon gasoline on the side of the road because it's too heavy to carry !! I figured out that one gallon of gasoline in Venezuela is equal to less than ¢10 U.S. !!!!! Chavez has made it so that the locals have the benefit of their natural resources and I think that has made him popular with the "have-nots."

I had a major moment while in Venezuela. An epiphany, if you will. I had left my room and I was heading to the beach when it occurred to me that I had forgotten something. I was standing in the road trying to figure out what it was, when, finally it hit me !!! I had forgotten MY SHOES !!!! Here it was the middle of February, some of the coldest weather of the year back in America and I'm forgetting my shoes !!! That's when I knew I was living a special life. That's when I realized how lucky I am to be on this journey. I basically had avoided winter !! I knew I'd never be the same.

* Thanks to Ivan for the majority of these photos

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