Orinoco Flow: Venezuela & Western Caribbean 2009

Tonight (10 June), I will embark on an one-month journey through 6 countries and territories in the South America and the Western Caribbean, specifically, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and the British Overseas Territories of Turks & Caicos Islands and Cayman Islands. During my journey, I would post photos and occasional anecdotes and stories onto my blog at http://twcnomad.blogspot.com Do drop by and send me your messages. My brief itinerary is as follows:

10 June – Depart Singapore for London (Qantas)

11 June – London – Caracas, capital of Venezuela (1) on Map. Meet Alvin and Jayson, friends from home, at London Heathrow. Fly from London to Caracas (capital of Venezuela) via Miami (on American Airlines), arriving in early evening. Caracas - huge metropolis of 5 million people and birthplace of Simon Bolivar, the Liberator of six Latin American countries (Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Panama) from Spanish rule. During the past decade, it is the centre of President Hugo Chavez's "Bolivarian Revolution", which is socialistic, pro-Cuban, anti-American and certainly highly controversial. Chavez had benefitted from the rise in oil prices to fund his massive social and international aid programmes to extend Venezuela's international prestige, but the fall in oil prices in the past year has hurt Venezuela in many ways. It would be interesting to see the Venezuela of today and how this self-proclaimed latter-year disciple of Simon Bolivar has fared.

12 June – 17 June - On to Ciudad Bolivar, the capital of the huge Bolivar State that stretches from central Venezuela all the way to the deep Amazonian jungles next to Brazil and Guyana. This would be our base to visit Angel Falls (world's tallest waterfall at 979m) and Gran Sabana/Santa Elena region of south eastern Venezuela which is famous for gigantic table-mountains, unusual wildlife and huge wide plains which inspired the Arthur Conan Doyle novel "The Lost World". This book later inspired another novel of the same name by Michael Crichton about genetically engineered dinosaurs running lose in Central America, which was then transformed into the 1997 Spielberg movie "The Lost World: Jurassic Park".

18 June – 24 June – We would return to Northern Venezuela. Specific route undecided at the moment, either Merida, Coro or Isla de Margarita in the north.

Flag of the Dominican Republic

25 June – Venezuela – Dominican Republic (2) on Map. Alvin & Jayson will leave Venezuela and I will fly to Santo Domingo, capital of Dominican Republic on Aserca Airlines 11:30 –15:00.

25 June – 29 June – Santo Domingo, founded by Christopher Columbus in 1492, is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas. The Colonial District of Santo Domingo is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dominican Republic is also renowned for being the homeland of numerous baseball players in the US Major League Baseball. The country is also famous for its cigars and Caribbean merengue music.

[State flag of Haiti]

29 June – 2 July – Dominican Republic – Haiti (3) on Map. By land to Port-au-Prince, capital of Haiti. Haiti, whose former black slaves defeated Napoleon to win independence in 1804, is the first independent nation in Latin America and the only predominantly French-speaking country of the Americas. Haiti is also the land of Voodoo, the ancient animist faith from West Africa syncreticised with Roman Catholicism, which, unfortunately, has been associated by Hollywood with zombies, black magic and satanism. More recently, Haiti has been seen as an anarchic land of political chaos and extreme poverty.

2 July – 4 July – Cap Haitian, a city in northern Haiti; 2nd largest city, famous for its Citadelle Fortress, also an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Turks and Caicos flag

4 July – fly to Providenciales (PLS), capital of the British territory of Turks & Caicos Islands (4) on Map, on Air T&C. A small group of islands of 30,000 inhabitants, north of Haiti and south of Bahamas, renowned for luxury tourism and zero taxation. In March 2009, Premier Misick was forced to resign by the British Governor due to corruption allegations. The constitution was suspended and direct rule was thereby imposed by the British Government. The former premier was also accused of sexually assaulting an American woman in Puerto Rico. Whilst the UK newspaper, The Independent, described the former premier as the "King of Sleaze", Misick called for the UN to intervene against the "strong arm of modern colonialism" in his "address to the Nation".


6 July - fly to Kingston, capital of Jamaica (5) on Map on Air T&C. Jamaica, well known tourism paradise and land of reggae music and the Rastafarian faith.


10 July – fly to Grand Cayman, capital of the British territory of Cayman Islands(6) on Map on Cayman Islands. Another famous tax heaven and offshore financial centre.


11 July – fly to London Heathrow via San Juan and Miami, on American Airlines, arriving on 12 July.

14 July – fly from London to Singapore on Qantas.