In my last letter I believe we were about to dock in Curaçao, I shall continue on from there. We docked at about 9:30 and by 10:30 they allowed the passengers to disembark. The dock was about 2 miles from the center of the city so I took a taxi. Since Curaçao is a free port and there are no taxes, everything is dirt cheap. The two-mile ride cost me $.10 and the same back. Both times they were nice station wagons. 1st a ’38 Chev. and back in a ’39 Ford Deluxe Most of the cars there were not more than one or two years old. I wandered around in the city which, again, reminded me of Greenwich Village, only Curaçao is much cleaner and nicer. After wandering around for a couple of hours, I bought another Palm Beach suit, better than the one I bought in N.Y., for only $10.00 and one of those white cord helmets and returned to the boat to watch them load and unload cargo. They unloaded, among other things, a very large steam shovel and 27 1939 cars, Pontiacs, Buicks and Packard’s. Most of them were Deluxe jobs or special and in addition __ Ford trucks and 5 station wagons.
The outgoing cargo consisted of several thousand tons of coffee and that was about all. This took until about 10:30 that same evening and then we weighed anchor and continued on for La Guayra. After that I went to bed. We were to be in port at about 9:00 so I got up at 5:30 and had everything packed and myself cleaned up and ready to leave at 8:00, when breakfast was served. After giving the numerous but necessary tips and waiting until 9:30, we all, who were to leave at La Guayra, were asked to report to the Club Room to have our papers checked and everything put in readiness. By the time that had been attended to, we had docked and only had to wait about 10 minutes for the gangplank to be lowered. We got to the Customs House and had to wait for our baggage, and – since at eleven o’clock everything comes to rest for two hours – we decided, Mr. Burkhardt and I, to see if we could find someplace to eat. Outside, we met one of Mr. Burkhardt’s ship acquaintance and he told us he knew La Guayra very well and since he had to have companions in order to enjoy a meal, he suggested that we come along with him to a seashore resort and it was decided that we go Dutch. They have a funny custom here, at this hotel too. There is a menu as it is called and on it is printed what you will have for dinner. If you don’t like it, you go out and try another place. Each meal, since I have been here, has been a native Venezuelan dish so as yet I don’t know what I do or don’t like. Well, after the meal, we went back to the Custom H. and had our baggage pored over. I came through with only the loss of 5 pkgs. of Chesterfield’s and no duty on anything. The others came through just as well accept that Mr. Frank De Costa smokes cigars, instead of cigarettes, and he had a box with him which he lost. By about 3:30 or 4:00 we were ready to leave for Caracas and piled our luggage into a taxi in which the driver consented to take the three of us, plus baggage, to Caracas for $6.00. The trip from La Guayra to Caracas by road is 30 miles, over a road just about wide enough for two cars to pass, if there has not been a landslide or a washout, that seems to have been hung on the mountainside for the full 30 miles. The road, plus being steep, up grade most of the way, goes like this
etc. and boy ! the curves are sharp. The drivers apparently are so used to them that they think they are straight and don’t bother to slow down. By the time we got to Caracas we were tired of trying to stay on the seats of the big open Lincoln and really appreciated a chance to clean up and rest a little before supper at 7:30. I can’t tell you what we had but I do know the meat could have been used to cover auto tires with and offered stiff competition to the rubber industry. After supper, we walked around the town a bit and retired at 10:00.
Got up at 6:30 this AM and Mr. B. went out to start his work. I have to wait here a few days for Mr. Human to come for me and during that time, I think, I’ll try to learn a little Spanish from my book. Had lunch about 1:00 and wondered about town for a short while and then set down in our room to pen this note!
As ever –
Tomorrow, a brief note from Grandpa to Lad and another letter from Lad in Caracas.