The Península de Paria
"I found a land,
the most beautiful in all the world... I'm convinced this
is Paradise on Earth." ...It's rare when reality exceeds holiday
brochure spam. But sometimes, it just does.
|Peak Practice -- Up, Down & Back Up
Wind up the Andes
and you turn the clocks back. You enter a world little-altered
by the petrodollars, beauty queens and shopping malls of the
|Touch the Angel's
The World's Tallest Waterfall
At last we come out
into the open, to a rock ledge at the foot of the mountain.
There, in full view, glowing like the first gold-leaf letter
of a medieval manuscript, the tallest waterfall in the world
vaults from the top of the mountain's gothic cathedral façade.
We've made it.
Enter this world,
and you cross the threshold of a cathedral. The shafts
of light filter through the leaves of too-tall trees;
the baroque exuberance of the vegetation. All combine
to make you tread softly and speak in hushed tones.
You also step back in time, to a world a million miles,
and years, from your own.
|Beach Blanket Babylon —
The island of Margarita,
'the pearl of the Caribbean' lies just 40 kilometres off Venezuela's
mainland, but in many ways it's worlds apart. Margarita isn't
large. In fact its size is probably inversely proportionate
to its importance as a Venezuela's numero uno tourist destination.
Manes & Automobiles —
The Infinite Skies of Los Llanos
Unbending plains stretch
the imagination, where mirages massage horizons with their
heat-haze fingers, and clusters of cumulus clouds, their puffy
shapes echoed by the military green of the gallery forests
below, carpet the sky above the flat lands.
||Baptism by Beat —
On the Caribbean in June
Down by the sea, the drums
call. The villages of Barlovento spring from their
sleepy states for the Fiesta de San Juan Bautista
(St John the Baptist) in late June.
During San Juan, the tambor drums of Barlovento
pound relentlessly, all day and all nigh.
the Moon —
Climbing Mount Roraima
One small step onto a tepuy's
surface is one giant leap onto another planet. It's the
Earth, but not as we know it. Stygian amphitheatres of rock
surround you, carved over millennia by relentless rains
and winds. The topography dances in a funereal carnival
|Coro & the Médanos dunes —
The jewel in Venezuela's
colonial crown and its only desert.
||In the Wake
of Columbus — Along Paria's shores
East of the one-telephone
town of San Juan de las Galdonas, the coastline becomes
as Columbus would have seen it, over five hundred years
of Los Roques —
Venezuela's greatest marine
national park - where God perfected the colour blue...
|Mochima National Park
snorkelling and some wonderful coastline in eastern Sucre
The Road —
Back in El Pauji & the Gran Sabana
of 'road' should be re-thought. It's a word too lightly bandied
about. It trips off the tongue like tarmac. This road could
do with some of that.
| Caracas —
In-Your-Face Latin Megacity and its Highway Code
Red lights: If they're
isn't a car coming, why stop? If there is, go anyway...
Miss and Won't Miss
The smell of sunny mornings and of the earth as it begins
Falling in lust every time I leave the house
|| The Food of
Salsa is sex.
It is sensual, energetic, preferably poetic, and always
leaves the three dots of intrigue in its wake, beads
of sweat in the eternal battle of the sexes. It's the
easiest way to get a message across in the shortest
space of time.
are a Boy's Best Friend
was huge. Fist-full huge. No-one could believe it at first,
but there it was, glinting away like a multi-coloured million-dollar
"All the best
with your project," I said, not sure whether it was the
right thing to say. I wasn't even sure what his project
was, if indeed he had one. But that's what came into my
head at the time, and that's how I said goodbye to Comandante