Our hotel

Trip Start Dec 03, 2010
Trip End Jan 04, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hotel Santiago

Flag of Venezuela  , Vargas,
Sunday, December 5, 2010

In the meantime we meet a German couple who are stranded as well. We decided to share a taxi and go to Hotel Santiago together. There we find a nice atmosphere, a friendly guy at the desk and a clean room. Time for some sleep, since this has been a tiresome and long day!

The next day is relaxing. And getting information about our surroundings. We find out that in Venezuela there is a really low exchange rate, set by the government. And a florishing blackmarket in changing dollars and euros to bolivars for nearly double the amount! In the official rate, Venezuela costs about the same as in The Netherlands. With the blackmarket-rate we pay about half. Official rate is 5 bolivar for an euro. Blackmarket-rate is 8, 9 or 10 bolivar for an euro, depending on where and how much you change! This means our first few days here will be more expensive then we thought.
We explore Macuto these days, and after calling my travelinsurance, we buy some new clothes as well. We learn to use the local buses here, which are 2 bolivars for about one hour trip or part of that. We also find out that ATM's don't always work. Out of the 7 we found, only 2 were turned on. And those were empty :) We finally found a bank that gave us a cash-advance on a creditcard so we had some cash.

In Venezuela everything is paid in cash. Just a few stores have machines to use debet or creditcards, and there usually only the local cards work. So be prepared when you go for Venezuela: bring a lot of cash euros and/dollars to change on the blackmarket :)

The second day, our bag will arrive late in the afternoon and we hope to catch a nightbus after that to Ciudad Bolivar. We arrive early in the afternoon at the airport and wait there. Our 'amigo' finds us again. And we speak of our plans. We walk around with him for little over an hour to find a flight to Peru or Bolivia. There is simply none!! All flights are booked because is the most important holiday season here! Hmmm, now we have to think of a new plan for our month's holiday, since getting out of Venezuela is not an option :)

The choice is easy, we travel around Venezuela for a month. But then we have a cash problem. The expensive bolivars was doable for 2 or 3 days, but not for a month!! So we change some of our "emergency"-dollars to bolivars to have some cash for a few days. This should get us in Ciudad Bolivar!

Then it's time, the flight is arriving and so should our bag be. After three hours of waiting in the arrivals hall (Eveline was the only one allowed to the baggagebelt for our bag), Eveline comes back without my bag... It wasn't on the flight, while it should have been. Another talk, and now the bag should come in another 2 days. We don't plan to wait for that any longer. We give an address of a tour operator where to send the bag in Ciudad Bolivar. This way we can go there and do a excursion to Angel Falls and they will keep the bag safe for us.

Due to all this delay and waiting, it's too late already to take the nightbus this evening. So we have no other option than to go to Hotel Santiago again for one more night. 

The next day we sleep in, take a swim in the pool and around 1 pm we leave for the airport again. We double check the address and find a bus to the centre Caracas. 
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