One hot summer (they
all were) when I and a number of my friends were bored with
the camp, we piled into my Dad's jeep and headed out the pipeline
road towards Dabajuro. My compadres on this occasion were
Randy and Mike Lanciault and Dan Sweeney. As a refresher the
pipeline originated at Ule near Tia Juana (Any one remember
the small camp there - it was a unique and neat community
of people who worked at the huge oil pumping station there
and the huge oil tank farm) that started oil down the pipeline
that ran to Amuay.
Anyway, we drove out the pipeline and then off into the
savannahs where we spent the better part of the day following
cow paths and just driving across the rolling grasslands
taking in the sights. We did a lot of that during our last
couple of summers in Venezuela.
Finally the sun began to set and we road back to the pipeline
service road and headed back to camp (Tia Juana). We came
upon a rise in the road which fell off gradually for about
a quarter mile and the road rose again up the next rise.
From the top of the rise we could see a typical cantina
on the left side of the road set back about 15 feet from
it. The cantina was made of upright poles chinked with mud
and it had a rusted corrugated tin roof which overhung a
Out front was a hitching rail and standing there were a
couple of scraggly horses and a burrow. You could hear music
that far away which was not unusual in those days because
that was how the cantinas attracted people. You could also
hear a one-lung generator chuffing in the background which
lit the colored bare light bulbs which hung under the roof,
ran the radio and chilled the cooler. There were four guys
at the bar and the owner behind it.
Well, an idea came to mind. We coasted down the hill and
just before we reached the bottom across from the cantina
I pulled out the choke and the jeep sputtered to a halt
across from it. Well, the guys at the bar looked at us and
smirked. You could read their minds -- dumb gringo kids!!!
No gas here!!
Well, the four of us in the jeep gestured at each other
indicating what were we going to do now. I told them to
follow my lead and each of us in-turn got out of the jeep
and pretended to piss into the gas tank which was on the
side of the jeep facing the bar so they could not actually
see what we were doing. I must say we played it to the hilt.
We got back into the jeep and I pulled out and pushed in
the choke and worked the gas pedal and then hit the starter
and a miracle occurred right then and there and the jeep
engine started. We smiled and congratulated each other,
waved to the guys at the bar whose jaws dropped and drove
off. When we got to the top of the next rise we died laughing
as we recalled the amazement that came over the faces of
those paisanos when the engine started.