Friday, November 22, 1996

We planned to be on the road by 9 a.m., but by the time Banco Consolidado changed my money, it was 10 a.m. Our route took us west along the coast, and my first glimpse of the Caribbean was of a huge oil refinery right on the beach. The scenery improved after passing the chemical plant a bit later.

We stopped at Morrocoy National Park, an everglades-looking place with some very average beaches.

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The beach at Morrocoy National Park

A guy on a bicycle with a basket full of raw oysters came by and my companion bought a dozen. They looked like something that was freshly picked from his nose. I opted for the "Coco Frio," which is just a refrigerated coconut with a machete hole hacked into it and a straw inserted. Tasty.

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A flea market in Estado Falcon

I know, the pictures today aren't very interesting, but it really was an enjoyable drive. The Carribean coast does have its nice areas, but it is a far cry from beaches I have visited in Mexico. I actually enjoyed the small towns much more than the refinery-dotted coast.

Our goal was to drive to Coro, at the base of the Paraguana Peninsula. The climate there is much drier than other parts of the country, and cactus began to outnumber palm trees. Coro itself didn't impress me much, though we didn't make much effort to find the historical areas. We drove up the peninsula for an hour, looking for a place to stay on the beach.

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Desert-like scenery just north of Coro

The bottom of the peninsula is a very narrow 20-mile long isthmus covered with sand dunes, which consume the road regularly. The 'head' of the peninsula is about 50 miles in diameter, and very flat except for a 3,000-foot mountain jutting out from the center. This is as far north as you can go in Venezuela; Aruba is about fourteen miles north of the top.

The only posada with rooms available in Adicora, the town we stayed in, had only family-sized rooms available. There were two king-size beds, and two bunk beds. The bathroom was bigger than our previous room and bath combined. It was more than we needed, but the $20 cost included breakfast, and the owner gave us some souvenirs. Not much to do in this town, and that's exactly what we wanted.

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