Coincidental memories – Man on the moon, and Amuay refinery

July 20 th 1969 : Neil Armstrong walked on the...Two events in the news this week had an odd coincidence in my history:

  • Neil Armstrong died. He was the first man on the moon, having commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon July 20, 1969.
  • A terrible explosion occured at the Amuay oil refinery near Punto Fijo, Venezuela.

The short story is that I watched the moon on July 20, 1969, from Punto Fijo, Venezuela.

My father was working at that oil refinery at the time. He spent 2 years there, before the oil industry was nationalized in Venezuela. I had just finished school and was spending the summer in visiting my parents. (In fact I spent much of the next 5 years in Venezuela.)

I do remember the night of July 20, 1969 – going outside from a party to gaze at the moon, thinking that this was an event to remember. And I remember the oil refinery, which was the reason most all of us were there. Two refineries were always in the background. Whether Venezuelan, American, Canadian, Dutch, Spanish or Italian, almost everyone in the area had some association with the 2 big oil refineries.

Mom and me, Amuay oil refinery in the background. Mom much younger than I am now. I was younger than my daughters are now!

You might think that the terrain looks harsh and unpleasant – even like a moonscape! I loved the desert. I’d like to go visit again, but the political and social climate in Venezuela nowadays don’t seem to be very welcoming and there are so many other places to go! Too bad.

My brother found this link to a blog about current affairs in Venezuela.

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4 thoughts on “Coincidental memories – Man on the moon, and Amuay refinery

  1. Seeing Clarely, You may be interested checking out some more information about who else lived in that area before your time. I was there for 15 years. Here you have a link to that era: Here you will find a huge amount of information. It was a fantastic place to grow up in Cardon, Adaro and Judibana. 15 years. We left in 63. I have been back many times. It is a magical place!


    • In fact I did find that link a few years ago, but I should go back and look again. I left Venezuela in 1975 and have not been back since. I was already finished school when I first went there, so my experience was different from those who were younger. However, I did have a fabulous time, living and working in Caracas even after my parents left Judibana. I’d like to go back one of these days. Thanks for commenting.

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