Venezuela, 39 Years Later

Revisiting Caracas

Altamira Where I Learned Ballroom Dancing

I am on a plane to Maracaibo. It's about 6:30 pm. I just spent the day with Aurita, who came to pick me up this morning around 9 am, and then we had breakfast together. After that she took me to see Plaza Altamira - I hadn't seen yet. There' s a building on that plaza where I used to take ballroom dancing! It's still there and I took a picture of it. My goodness is it smaller than I ever thought it was. I also took a picture of where Barbara Camp used to live.

Back to the Bank (Can You Believe It?)

We again tried to get money out of the bank and that was just bloody murder. We found out that the bank we went to yesterday subtracted the amount they did not give me from my weekly American Express allowance so therefore they didn't want to give me any more today, so one big deal. I asked them why they didn't want to give me any money today (we were at the head office of American Express in Caracas this time). They told me they had already given it to me yesterday. I said “No you didn't.” Good thing I had torn up those slips the day before. So we finally got that straightened out after about an hour and a half. So this is a part of the way of life there so. I got the money which was nice.

Lunching at the Valle Arriba

Then we went straight to the Valle Arriba Golf Club where we went in and signed the book and showed them the letter that I had received from the Director to the man at the door. It's (the Club not the letter) just as polished and supersonic as ever and I think it's even more supersonic than it was. Anyway we went into this very swish dining room and sat there at a table overlooking the pool and the rest of Caracas for that matter.

I ordered aguacate and charrusco de merú and we had some Venezuelan wine for lunch. And we had a super time talking over old stuff and Aurita told me about her life before she got married and she also told me about her brother (Humberto). It seems that after Madrid, which is where I left off, he went back to Florence and got a degreee in Political Science and then he headed back to Venezuela after a few years. It seems he never wanted to get married: wasn't interested in marriage. He wanted to be a diplomat so they sent him to Bogotá (3rd secretary, whatever that is). He met up with the ambassador of Venezuela. He thought this guy was doing something wrong so he told him and they ended up punching each other out. That guy seems to be a major disaster area.


The Golf Course and the Pool

Swimming pool at Valle Arriba. There's NObody in this sublime pool.

So I walked around the golf course and took pictures and she said, “You're so lucky getting to come back to places you were when you were a little kid.” I said, “It's true”, then we went into the ladies' locker room and walked around. The lockers were the same ones that were there when I was there (you could tell they were slightly worn). After that Aurita drove me back to the hotel so I could check out and got to Maiquetia to catch the plane to Maracaibo.

My Old Boyfriend

I did forget to mention Humberto. I spoke to his sister today and said, “Whatever did happen to him?” It seems that he got married at 37 to this girl who was pregnant and that's why he got married. That still doesn't explain why he got married so late. Not any obligation, but anyway. It didn't work out at all but they had that one child whose name is Victor. And the mother at one point just disappeared from the face of this earth and so did Humberto and so the kid is left sort of high and dry and now he's 23 and lives with Aurita's mother. He doesn't go to school and he doesn't work. Sounds familiar I'm afraid. And so c'est un laissé-pour-compte. The kid is totally deséquilibré and so that's that. From what I gathered he might have married somebody else and that didn't work then finally he went to Guatemala to work. There he met a woman who is not particularly chic and supersonic and seems to have her head screwed on right. She's an economist of some sort representing (maybe) the Guatemalan government. Anyway, so she's got a job in Geneva. And she's already left for Geneva and he's supposed to be following her soon and Aurita says it's the best thing that's ever happened to him since she seems so sensible.