Trust no one here!!
Trip Start Dec 12, 2007
39Trip End Ongoing
Caracas is flanked by huge mountains towering over the city towards its north and located on the coast.
My excitement unfortunately was soon replaced with fear. The local sitting next to us spoke out as we were close to landing on the airstrip. "You guys know not to step food outside at night right?", "Dont even think about going to central or western Caracas, it will be your last destination", "This is not United States anymore you guys, if you slip up... Your dead!", "and dont trust the police, they're all corrupt and will take your money!". This was not the most welcome experience I´ve had! So we were a tad frightened as to what we were getting ourselves into. We entered through the gates, after attempting to 'charm' the female immigration officer in an attempt to distract her from the fact we had no place to stay or no ticket out. It worked a treat, haha! Our fear shortly got worst as we struck what seemed dejavu all over again with Cuba. We couldnt withdraw anymoney from any atm or any banks. We were so so annoyed and thinking that we are really up shit creek now, not wanting to even venture outside as of yet. No money in one of the most dangerous cities you can rock up in - not exactly my idea of fun.
2 Hours had passed and we finally managed to extract some money from a lady above the bank through credit on our cashpassport cards (after alot of convincing might I add). This is where I met Henry. Henry is a 19 year old Peruvian guy, is studying in Washington DC. He speaks both English and Espanol very fluently. He is a really nice guy as well and he had been wondering around with the same problem as myself, haha. Unfortunately, none of us were told about the black market in Venezuela. In the black market they will exchange 1 US Dollar for 4,500 Bolivares and up, where the official exchange rate banks do it at is only 1 US Dollar for 2,150 Bolivares, which we had to do unfortunately as we didnt have any US dollars on us
5 of us immediately made good friends and headed on off to grab a slab of beers and something to eat before it got dark. ...more rice! Upon returning to the dormitorio, we walked passed the police, which they grabbed us all and took us into their little tent
We got back to our room just as night was falling, and all were already sick of this city, so we stayed in our dorm for the night drinking lots of beers!
On the 24th, we all slept in and had breakfast outside on the balcony before trotting off for a bit of a walk. We found a brochure for Saltó Angel (Angel Falls), and headed to the office to find out what the deal was. We whipped our credit cards out to get the black market exchange (as the company had banks in the US), and booked it so that a local Indian in Canaima would take us to Salto Angel. Already having enough of this place, and hearing bad stories from the other 2 people in or hotel, we purchased a night bus outta the place for Ciudad Bolivar. We packed everything we needed for the next 4 days in our small daypack, and headed off, leaving our backpacks in the dormitorio. The idea is to catch a 12 hour night bus to Cuidad Bolivar, then hop on a plane to Canaima, which is in the Gran Sabana region of Southern Venezuela. Then from Canaima head to Salto Angel. - So excited about this! Salto Angel is so very remote and difficult to get too, and its the tallest waterfall in the world.