• A 'Dancing Devil' of Yare mask

    A 'Dancing Devil' of Yare mask

  • Mariana Davila and Cecilia Lizarraga

    Mariana Davila and Cecilia Lizarraga

  • Diana Vanegas and Yaneth Sanchez

    Diana Vanegas and Yaneth Sanchez

  • Ambassador of Ireland Noel White and Ellnor Grassby

    Ambassador of Ireland Noel White and Ellnor Grassby

  • Ambassador of Bulgaria Emilia Stefanova and her husband Rumen Velev with Celia Olivia

    Ambassador of Bulgaria Emilia Stefanova and her husband Rumen Velev with Celia Olivia

  • Dinko Colak, Ece Yilmaz, Hamzeh Al-Omari and Michael McGuire

    Dinko Colak, Ece Yilmaz, Hamzeh Al-Omari and Michael McGuire

  • 'Pampero' -Venezuelan Rum

    'Pampero' -Venezuelan Rum

  • Anaranta Leon mbassador of Venezuela Nelson Davila and his wife Maria Cisneros de Davila and Ana Mendez

    Anaranta Leon mbassador of Venezuela Nelson Davila and his wife Maria Cisneros de Davila and Ana Mendez

  • Maria Varela, Marta Altoaguirre de Viguera, Ibelise Escobar and Gladys Tenorio

    Maria Varela, Marta Altoaguirre de Viguera, Ibelise Escobar and Gladys Tenorio

  • Jarlet Enrique Sanchez-Rivera and Daniel Gasparri-Rey

    Jarlet Enrique Sanchez-Rivera and Daniel Gasparri-Rey

  • Nina Zissermann, Carlos Morreo and Eleondra Quisada

    Nina Zissermann, Carlos Morreo and Eleondra Quisada

 Venezuela is a country known for its very beautiful women who regularly win international beauty contests, and is the country where a former Miss Venezuela Monica Spear was murdered this year. A harsh reminder of how these beauty obsessed girls strive for an escape from their poverty through an industry that will demand perfection no matter what the cost as the gangs steal and kill to survive.  

Venezuela has its problems with the new President devaluing the currency as inflation soars and a new era emerges after the death of Hugo Chavez last year. Solutions will not be easy.

While far away from all that and not a Miss Universe in sight, Venezuela down under celebrated with the colourful masks of the Dancing Devils of Yare on display and I acquired a little bottle of Malta Polar from among the food and drink items to try after the recommended chilling in the freezer – for the bottle not me – and a good taste test of the arepas, a kind of corn meal scone filled with chicken and avocado and some with beef and beans. Excellent on a cold day which it was for the National Day of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela held at the Hellenic Club.  The Bolivar is named for Simon Bolivar a Caracas born Venezuelan who led so many South American countries to Independence.

After tripping around South America I just wish he’d suggested a single currency for them as there comes a time for all travelers weary of bargaining, to forget exchange rates, ditch the comparisons against your own currency and accept the fact that you have enough of the local currency and you want that cute little thingamybob from the grinning local in a market place no matter if you lose on the deal. It’ll end up in the back of a cupboard at home anyway.

One thing to bring home to the cupboard is their rum, the Pampero is called the best in the world by Venezuelans and those who toasted the national day with a tiny nip would probably agree, but who would last more than a couple of nips in a rum test anyway?