I flew to Venezuela to meet up with my French girlfriend. After an all- too-brief reunion in my hotel one afternoon, I lost touch with my femme juvenile (she was 17 and I all of 23). She'd gone off with her father somewhere, and nobody knew where to find her. Eventually, I grew bored with Caracas and on top of everything else was a bit worried about my finances. Reluctantly, I decided to abandon my Quixotic quest and head off to sample the sights of the south - alone.
A week later I found myself in a village lost in the Venezuelan outback, near the border with Brazil. Late one afternoon, I was hanging about on the road.
A jeep chugged its way up the dirt track toward me. It looked vaguely familiar. Behind the wheel, a squat figure with bushy white hair looked like a friend of... As the vehicle came within 50 yards, there was agitated movement in the back seat. It lurched to a stop. Dust billowed up from all sides. A girl answering the description of my girlfriend emerged in slow motion like an angel from the cloud, and Vaseline-vision, flung her arms around me. A symphony orchestra, tucked away in the bushes, reached a crashing crescendo. Bolts of lightning struck, twice. Village life came to a complete standstill. Then, two days later, I told her I loved her.
She claimed at that point that she had mentioned the village at some time. I say she never did - my Lonely Planet book had been my guiding star. The odds against us meeting in the epicentre of nowhere, at the right time and in the right place, were, we decided long enough for us to put our encounter down to some higher power; destiny, fate or perhaps just one too many readings of The Celestine Prophecy.
What was I doing on the road at that life-altering moment? Like any decent tourist, I was waiting for the sun to set to take another holiday snap, of course. There's no such thing as a full-fat, cliche saturated, syrupy sunset too many in my album, with or without the espresso foreground. Nice story, shame about the photo, though.