My trip to the famed Los Roques, a chain of islands off Venezuela’s coast, was my way of saying goodbye to the country.
I had a three day weekend, a need for the beach, and a beloved co-worker to go with me.
The trip was not without its drama. I had to go to the travel agency at least seven times just to book the trip, and then a gate agent rudely changed my return flight without my prior approval. Though I complained repeatedly to the tourist company, Turismundo, and the airline, ChapiAir, nothing came of it.
Bluntly put, Venezuela does not have a good tourism infrastructure.
But there was the white sand beach that felt like thrice-sifted flour beneath my feet, snorkeling with octopus sightings (and the requisite swallowing of salt water), tequenos, and an introduction to arepitas dulces.
There was the bittersweet taste in my mouth reminding me that this was it; I had lived out my dream of living in a Spanish-speaking country.
And there were long conversations with my travel companion and leisure reading.
To paraphrase Isabel Allende, it was a sepia-colored trip. I wasn’t ecstatic because I knew this was the end, but I was quietly happy because this, this had been Venezuela.
This had been my life for two years.