May 2002

ihana.com - big trip - diary - venezuela - may 2002

 

A door

Click to see it flowering

Playa Agua

Thursday 30 May - Saturday 8 June

Margarita is really two islands joined naturally by a large sandbank and, with man's help, a road bridge. The eastern part of the island is more developed and has the major population centres, plus the airport and ferry port. The western part is a bit more desolate but still has a paved road allowing circumnavigation. We decided to take a quick spin around the eastern part and find out what was going on.

We arrived in the traffic-snarled Porlamar, the biggest town, and grabbed a bite to eat before escaping the heat and fumes to head north to the beaches on the coast. We expected to find a Puerto Escondido type resort and a banging party atmosphere but were a bit disappointed as the tourist season dosn't really get going properly until August.

Slightly underwhelmed with what we found we continued our tour around the eastern area and before the afternoon was out we had had a quick look at pretty much everywhere. We discovered the island is not really geared up for landy based travellers, most of the clientelle come on package trips and stay in hotels rather than pitching a tent. We went back to Paraguachi and found a place to park on the beach between a couple of restaurants with some palm trees for B's hammock. The locals turned out to be chilled and welcoming and said there was no worries to stay there.

However, just as the happy crew were turning in for the night a police patrol turned up. One rotund cop was very aggressive and poked around suspiciously in the landy, searching bags and even asking to see inside the fuel lockers and drivers battery box, whilst the other stood by with shotgun and handcuffs at the ready. The friendly policemen asked for lots of irrelevant paperwork, not least a mythical permission to park on the beach, but fortunately the lads are well accustomed to this sort of stupidity and had a chuckle at them, which seem to displease them even more before they departed saying "mañana, fuera de aqui!" (tomorrow, get out of here!).

Desert

Need a drink of water?

Grasshopper for tea

Next day, spurred on by our brusque welcome to the island, the search for a suitable place to do some work on the landy and watch the world cup continued. We went up the coast again to Playa Agua and happened upon a rare campground close to the beach which also had nicely appointed apartments for $15 a day, plus an area which we could use as a workshop, ideal for our needs. This was the best deal we had found, so reasonably happy we set off to explore the western part of Margarita.

After taking in the desertscape and dusty fishing pueblitos we headed along the coast to Laguna de la Restinga and luckily found a purpose built palapa pearched on a windswept rocky headland with awesome views across the island, a perfect place to make camp for the night.

Wicked camp

Check out the pelicans

Daybreak was awesome

Chillies, Guayabanas and Avocado

Muy muy's which live in the sand

Multi-coloured chicken

Friday saw Senegal (like everybody else) kick the arse of France (hahaha, sorry french people, especially Myriam) and the need for a TV drove us back to Playa Agua and the apartment. The beach here has some decent waves, enough to play in but not much good for surfing, another opportunity not to use the surf boards, we're wishing we didn't have them now. Apart from the sprinkling of very white European tourists, the beach was home to muy muys - little creatures which sit under the surface of the sand just at the waterline. As the sea retreats you can see their eye stalks and quickly scoop them up. They burrow into the sand in an instant and curiously resemble a space ship on the original Star Wars movie, which we saw in the apartment and noticed one of the planet-views near the end of the film is this view of Tikal in Guatemala.

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