Los Roques to Caracas
26. May: We get up early in the morning and set off to photograph the island. What a nice, colourful place. There were houses at the beach where you could look into the door and see the beach and the sea on the other side! At the harbour there were Pelicans all around, mostly relaxing on a boat, but also everywhere else, trying to catch fish all the time by crash-diving straight into the water. What funny birds!
Today would be a day at Los Roques, followed by the flight back to Caracas. We planned to spend the last night of our trip in a nice hotel in Caracas (Holiday Inn?). We had breakfast and fixed the island we would be traveling to today. While I was in the room getting ready, Annewien went to the hotel guy to pay the bill. Suddenly she returns rather angry, saying the guy wants to be paid for TWO days', since each trip was to be paid separately. Apparently this was a 'communication error'! What a swindler!
We re-plan immediately, cancelling our day trip, paying form one day, and setting off on foot to the airport of Gran Roque to find a boat operator who would take us to one of the islands. We do, but he demands a passport as a deposit for the snorkelling equipment, which I need to fetch from our room. We get away very cheaply.
The boat drops us on another of the group of three Francisqui Islands, it is lonelier than yesterday's. We walk off to the back of the island, away from the Venezuelans who are here too, and find a nice spot to relax. Annewien is busy looking for seashells and we see some small funny hermit crabs scurrying about with their seashells on their backs. We decide to snorkel and are able to deposit our bags and valuables in a small house just behind us. find some beautiful patches of reef, marvelous fish, marvelous invertebrates. There is even one topless Venezuelan woman bathing in this remote part of the island, which I wouldn't have thought possible if I'd have relied on the LP guide information. Later we decide to walk to the front of the island and then see that our boat is already waiting for us, so we head back to Gran Roque, a little ahead of schedule.
We fetch our bags from the hotel and then head off to the airport. The flight back to Caracas was uneventful.
We take the airport bus to Gato Negro, take the Metro from there to Plaza Venezuela and reach Hotel Cristal. We've decided that it would be too much of a hassle to find a nice hotel, so we might as well just take our old hotel and go for a good dinner instead. At Cristal we ask if they have a better room and they have suites, which are hardly much more expensive than the standard rooms! They have two rooms, an entrance with a bar and a whirlpool (which doesn't seem to work, though). There is a sign on a clothes-hanger which says "we love our customers". We'd got some information where it would be possible to eat well, in the end we select a Chinese restaurant which is within walking distance from our Hotel.
The place's doors are locked with a huge padded chain and the food is more expensive than usual. It is seems clean enough and the food is not too bad either, but it's nothing to write home about. When Annewien ordered standard Sweet and Sour, the waiter said he would recommend a similar disk which was much better and fresher. When I asked him about the price he quoted a substantially higher price. We were very tired after the long day, so after dinner we went straight to bed.