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Live the adventures of Dan Walker's travels through reading his travel journal. The travel journals are listed below in descending order of date. To search the travel journals, use the keyword search at the bottom of the page.

Journal Entry:

Sunday, February 26, 2017 08:32:21

Isla Margarita 2017: 4. Getting back home

Friday, February 24, 2017

We left the hotel at about 11 AM to reach the airport early for a leg room seat. On the outskirts of the second village en route there was a parade for carnival just getting under way. As it looked like it would be a lengthy affair, we found a way around it after trying a couple of other routes.

The rest of the run was uneventful, although in heavy traffic. We filled the near empty tank near the airport at a cost of 80 cents. The car return was quick, but we had to check the carry on bags. We got our seat assignments, then had the bags cello wrapped before checking them. There was no charge for checked baggage on the Estellar Airlines 737-300, and we got three bulkhead seats for the two of us.

On arrival it was slow getting the baggage, but when we left the airport we walked right onto the free shuttle for the Eurobuilding Hotel It runs every half hour. We were delighted with the hotel - large comfortable rooms, a beautiful jungle setting pool with waterfalls and a good restaurant. We were tired of seafood, so both had steaks and wine - the food was excellent. There was live music, and a family having a young daughter's birthday sent us over some birthday cake. It was a great evening in a highly recommended hotel.

A very pleasant surprise at dinner was when Joel, our previous taxi driver, arrived. He had said he would be at the airport to pick us up, but I'd discouraged him because of the free shuttle doing the 5 minute run to the hotel. He had come anyhow, and when we weren't at the airport he came to the hotel, which he had recommended to us. After a beer and a good talk he left, agreeing to meet tomorrow at 3 PM for beer and conversation. He insists that shuttle or no shuttle he is taking us to the airport.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

We enjoyed a late included breakfast, then went to the room to catch up on emails. We were given the OK to use the room until 2 PM when we moved to the breakfast area to continue on internet. At 3 PM Joel arrived, so I used the last of our bolivars on drinks by the pool. I hope to work with him in promoting Casa Canada's residency and work permit programs to Venezuelans wanting to leave the country. About 4 PM Joel drove us to the airport. He has become a good friend, we'll keep in touch.

The flight to Panama left early with a light passenger load - most people were coming the other way for Venezuela's carnival time, which kicked off yesterday. We had comfortable bulkhead seats, but there was a little girls behind us that screamed for most of the flight. For the uneventful flight to Costa Rica we had 3 exit row seats between us, and Carlos picked us up at the airport as usual.

Venezuelans have little hope for change anytime soon. We talked to a number of people, learning that the president, who was appointed by Chaves before he died, was a bus driver before working in politics. His economic policies are a disaster, however he is kept in power by the army. We were told that the top generals are controlling the drug trade in Venezuela, and have no interested in having that disturbed. It is a sad situation for those unable to leave, as many salaries are below survival level, based on the false value for the currency. Many people have lost weight due to malnutrition, and they see no way out of the problem. On the other hand, it is a great time to visit using US dollars. Joel could pick you up at the airport, have your currency changed, and from then on everything would be super inexpensive.