Venezuela, 39 Years Later

With Friends

El Club Náutico

So we parked at the Náutico and I want you to know that place has grown tremendously. I rememeber it being fairly contained. It was just kicking off then. As I recall it, there was just one big room with an orchestra and it had huge picture windows. Maybe there was something downstairs. I mainly just went there to dance. I found the room I think I danced in. Hard to do when they've enlarged and changed the configuiration of the place. Now they have a pool and tennis courts. I didn't see that many boats. Oh, we showed my passport as we went on and they gave me a little "Guest" ticket. That is to prove that I went in. There is a place to have kiddie piñata parties And they had some guacamayas of all different colors (huge parrot-like birds) making a lot of racket too. They DO talk.

Meeting Elizabeth's Sons

We met with her son, Rafaelito. I must say he looks a lot like his Dad, Pedro. Very nice guy. By this time, he was about to die of hunger so we went back to the part that I thought was the original Náutico. Then her other son, Juan, came up to the table and sat down (he's studying engineering, I think). Rafaelito is studying to become a petroleum engineer. We sat and talked and then ordered “tequeños” which are fried cheese, absolutly delish. Then we had some meat brochettes. This is typical. I had about 4 of those goodie things. A little extra fat as if I needed some. But it was delicious and I had a Cuba Libre and they had a punch. Then we spoke a little about what they were doing and where my kids lived. Then we got on to the custom of naming childern after their parents which is done in Venezuela. I said that they do that in the U.S. but not at all in France. Elizabeth then told me how proud she was of her kids and how considerate they were. Whenver they thought she might be sad, they'd call up her friends and tell them to go over and see her or ask her out to play bridge or something. Elizabeth was widowed 13 years ago. Now isn't that nice? Hmm. I don't know very many kids that would do that. In fact, I don't know if I know any kids that would do that.

Maracaibo By Night

After that we walked out of the Náutico. She wanted me to show her the house that I had lived in because she might know the owners. When I showed her, she had thought it was one row over so she didn't know the owners of that house. Then I asked her to show me Maruja Mendiri's house. So she did and then showed me where she used to live with Pedro (now she's in an apartment because she was afraid to stay in the house). I said I could see why. She showed me where the rest of the family lived. They all lived within the same 3 blocks including Juan's girlfriend who is a Flamenco teacher. So she goes off to Spain every summer for a couple of months.

Tying Up Loose Ends

Elizabeth brought me back and I finished packing my bags. I checked out my bill (it's right). After that I wrote two letters, one to the manager thanking him for such a nice V.I.P. reception and the treatment I had received from his staff and told him that the Directório de Servicios was very good. I congratulated Luisa Camacho on writing the same book. I'm going to give the hotel all my leftover cash that will bring the bill down by as much. You can't exchange bolivares in other countries either, so better off spending them. So that's it. Basically I'm planning to get back up tomorrow and go swimming (hope I don't get burnt again. I can't afford to.) I want to go swimming in that pool one more time. Here it is almost too warm, but if you get out early. But this is supposed to be a vacation, remember? I am going at it pretty hard. I went back to just about every place I wanted to go back to. How do like that for a concept? Including the Náutico.