On the road again. As the one traveler said: “practice is what it takes.” God I am rusty I have broken some of my own best rules, but here I am and I love the bite of the travel bug. The only known antidote is to keep traveling. Searching the internet I found a cheap flight from Orlando, Florida to Port of Spain, Trinidad on Spirit Airlines and wanted to take the ferry to the mainland Venezuela, which costs about $90.00 one way US and ended up taking a jumper flight from Trinidad to Margarita Island just off the coast of Venezuela.
The weather in Margarita Island is spectacular if you like hot arid weather and tons of direct sunshine–with blue skies 365 days a year. I met a fellow traveler at the Trinidad airport and have been staying at his condo every since. My first impression of the main area of Porlamar is: it is too busy with all of the Venezuelans taking their vacation during the months of July, August, and September. As I became oriented I was amazed at the many shopping centers and their store fronts— almost one hundred percent upscale American brands and then the prices.
As we all know gasoline in Venezuela is probably the cheapest in the world selling at 12 cents a gallon. My friend filled up his new Citroen and the cost was $1.87 US. The other thing that is inexpensive is the local buses which you can ride almost anywhere for less than a dollar. The shock factor is that imports have risen four times over the last two years— so even if you buy something in a restaurant it will be very expensive. Inflation is running 21 percent and the cost of food 29 percent annually, which is good if you own real estate, but will crimp your pocketbook every time you turn around if not careful. An example it is almost impossible to purchase a bowl of soup under $5.00 US and a good set of sneakers will set you back $200.00 US. Maybe the most expensive thing to compare– my friend purchased a half pint of maple syrup for $35.00 US.
Be that as it may it is still a good bargain to go to Spanish language school where my friend Bill is paying $150.00 US per week and they haul you off in a private van to beautiful beaches each afternoon, which is all included. In his class are students from Germany, Switzerland, New Zeland and other parts of the world. You can also make arrangements to stay with a local family and have three meals a day and practice your Spanish —since in most cases they don´t speak a word of English. Most of these world travelers are brushing up on their Spanish and will be traveling throughout Central and South America. Quite a few are traveling for at least six months to a year. Where has the American fallen behind? My answer is at the desk! Remember the gravestone marker who said: “he never gets a request that says”: “I wish I had spent more time at the office. ”
The people are generally friendly and the politics almost never comes up. Remember this is a Caribbean island and they still have the laid back mentality. As you learn your way around Porlamar they have a very large Hilton Hotel and two marinas. One marina is named the Concorde and has many offshore boats, catamarans, and diesel equipped vessels. At the very point of the marina is a beautiful restaurant with open air seating and a complete fancy menu with Thai food —run by folks from Bulgaria. The name of the restaurant is Casa Blanca. How appropriate! With a small key board set up I can almost here her say: “Play it again Sam!”
As you go along the coast you discover many high rise condominiums and some skeleton of constructions that were stopped because of banking failures about 15 years ago. Everywhere you look you see cranes and brand new condos coming out of the ground. There is also plenty of land to continue their constructions and final build-out.
As you move along the coast you come to the older part of Porlamar which is a mix of many businesses and small posadas and a beautiful tropical restaurant set among the swaying coconut trees directly on the beach —with thatched roofs and outdoor bars. The restaurant is called Margaretiville. And is if part of a movie sceen in the older part of Porlamar is the once famous bar called The Mosquito Coast run by a Canadian friend of mine Patrick Roy who recently sold it, but I am sure it is packed with salty characters and good memories. Moving inward directly toward the coast they seal off the road between five and seven in the evening for folks to walk along the promenade, jog, rollerblade, and just hang out enjoying the ocean breeze.
For me Porlamar is a bit too congested with actual traffic jams and sometimes it is very hard to cross the streets by walking. However, if shopping is your thing and you love the convenience of many stores and the largest mall in Margarita island named Sambil— then you have hit the jackpot. Also if you want to belong to a highrise community –maybe now is the time to consider making a purchase on one of these new start up condo projects. They keep telling me your investment will probably double the first year— if you get a good discount off of preconstruction. And as I always say: “let the buyer be aware and make sure you deal with a reputable real estate broker like Century 21 or have a good attorney represent your interests.
So there you have it— Porlamar is sort of a microcosm of Miami, Florida with about a third of the price and some of the best beaches, turquoise waters and continual breezes off the ocean and oh yea— you should see the beautiful women walking around in their tight pants, heels and whatever— it would probably turn the head of one of the historical statues— if facts were known.
QUOTE: ” I like Pigs, Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”
—–Sir Winston Churchill
THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Pigs always sleep on their right side and if they have a choice they will always keep their pig stye tiddy.
THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Plastic bags! Everytime you throw one away you are polluting the earth. China has recently passed a new law prohibiting the use of very thin plastic bags because it doesn´t properly break down and fish think they are eating jelleyfish and get a mouthful of plastic.
ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Travel in reverse and get a different perspective!
From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! and on and on and on.
Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?