On one of our trips to Trinidad & Tobago Rena and I decided to hop on a quick flight to Caracas. This was acting on impulse – we had no flight booked and had no idea where to stay – but it turned out to be a great few days. It was slightly risky because although Rena is a British citizen her passport clearly shows that she was born in Georgetown, Guyana, a country that Venezuela has a long-standing border dispute with. We got through immigration with no problems and couldn’t help but notice the giant map in the airport lobby, which showed about two-thirds of what is actually Guyana within Venezuela! Incidentally, the flight from Port-of-Spain took us low over the Coroni swamp (Trinidad) and the Orinoco delta – well worth the flight alone!

The airport is on the coast a long way from the capital, which is way up in the mountains. Our cab ride took us through a wild and very colourful electric storm, and as soon as we arrived in Caracas I instantly fell in love with it – I really liked the place and I can’t fully explain why. We ended up staying at the (inexpensive) Waldorf Hotel – nothing like as grand as the name suggests. It was very odd, which added to its charm. The main lobby and bar area was for all the world the interior of a rather seedy and slightly run-down timber Swiss guest house, complete with Canton crests, poor quality prints of mountain scenery oil paintings and various wild animal heads. Great fun!