39 Years Later
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.