Saturday, November 23, 1996

After breakfast, we packed up our stuff and said goodbye to the pet chicken who lives at the hotel. We drove around to a few beaches on the peninsula, but I wasn't very impressed with any of them. The entire seashore was sprinkled with plastic bottles and other garbage, which I presume washed up from shiploads of refuse dumped out at sea. This type of disposal is not very effective for items that float.

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The lonely mountain in the center of the peninsula.

We drove around the mountain but couldn't drive up it because the roads up there were muddy from the rain the night before. Venezuela has many mountains that would provide some great vistas if only you could get to the top of them. There seems to be a lack of interest in exploiting the beauty of this country. Even hiking trails seem to be scarce.

We followed the same route returning to Valencia, and had dinner at a Mexican restaurant. Not bad, but Tex-Mex back home is much better.

My companion took me to a couple of her hangouts after dinner. One, a bar called "Piedra y Agua," looks like the inside of a cave, with little waterfalls and the like. The other place was really formal, and they didn't serve beer, only liquor. They had a really good band. We went home early, since we had (another) big day planned tomorrow.

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Inside the tasca 'Piedra y Agua'

Since there isn't much else to say about Saturday, I will talk about beer. Beer in Spanish is Cerveza. A place that serves beer is called a 'Cerveceria', which I prefer to pronounce 'service area.' Bar beers are small here, only 250 ml. Since this is unacceptable, I ordered them in pairs unless the bartender was particularly prompt with the service.

The big brand in Venezuela is Polar, and Polar also makes a slightly higher alcohol beer called Solara. Another less common brand is Regional, and I did find a stout, though I don't recall the name. Brahma, a decent beer from Brazil, is the cheapest. Fortunately, there was no such thing as light beer during my trip, but one was introduced shortly afterwards in the late 1990's.

Anyone who has brewed their own beer knows how sweet and tasty the mixture is before you ferment it. Polar has capitalized on that fact by bottling the non-alcoholic concoction and adding a hint of carbonation. It is called Malta, and it tastes very nice, though not much of a thirst quencher. Kids love it. So do hippies. I admit it- I like it too. Very popular in the Carribean, but can also found in South America, too!

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