Vamos Venezuela!

Trip Start Sep 16, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Venezuela  ,
Monday, October 17, 2005

What can I say about overlanding.... the only way to travel as far as i´m concerned the truck now my home for 6 months. All the others on the truck seem really cool, theres quite a age range of which i´m the youngest! Mainly Britts with some Canadians and a New Zealander various people getting on and off for various sections of the trip. Theres cook groups where we all take turns at cooking and everyone has certain jobs around the truck. I have to say that the food has been pretty good so far. Theres always a supply of beer and its cheap too which is a definite bonus. Even long drive days are good with plenty to see out the window, music to listen to and games to play.

We started off by driving through the Henri Pottier national park up to Ocumare, fantastic views on route. The pool at the Eco lodge where we were staying was a welcome sight on a hot day so we all jumped in for a game of volley ball. The following day we spent a day at the blue lagoon which was a short boat ride away generally chilling, drinking beers, swinging in hammocks, kayaking, reading and playing card games... you get the picture. The next day was quite a contrast when part of the group including me went on a jungle trek. I can honestly say I don't think I have ever sweated as much in my life as that day and got the first of many bites to come for Venezuela. We went over 16 miles up to a old hacienda including a extra trip to some waterfalls in our lunch hour. There was a chap that lived up at the old hacienda who had lived there for about 30 years. During our trek we picked fresh mandarins and passion fruit from the trees, saw coco growing. We managed to see a few monkeys in the wild too.

Next we set off for our first camping at Barinas which saw us all hopping round at 3am to pull the fly sheets on to our tents because it was hot and we thought it didn't look like rain so we left them off. Some of the group took the opportunity to go rafting and we ended up staying a extra night there and just chilling before setting off to Merida which apparently has the highest cable car in the world.... Unfortunately while we were there it was out of action due to maintainence. There were plenty of activities on offer canyonning, bridge jumping and paragliding of which I did the paragliding and that was absolutely amazing off the side of a mountain at about 1000m as soon as I was clipped on I was first to go with the instruction being run, run, run... lol.

Next from Merida we went to Catatumbo to a little village on stilts up river and across lake Maricaibo the largest fresh water lake in South Americas. The boat trip although long was superb along the way we saw one of the only four types of fresh water dolphin, howler monkey´s, iguanas, paraquettes, toucanettes, parrots, falcons, vultures, humming birds and many other birds which sadly I cant remember the names of. We arrived into the village at dusk, once there we got some food and drinks and sat ready to watch the natural lightening show phenomenon which occurs every night, although it wasn't at its best when we were there it was still pretty amazing and we all retired to our hammocks on the deck, getting up at various intervals to carry on watching, although I had a pretty good view from my hammock anyway. The next day we took a boat ride with Alan AKA "the butterfly man" who I defy anyone not to get excited about butterfly´s when he talks about them hes so passionate on the subject and funny with it. We saw some quite rare and beautiful butterfly´s. Following that we took a tour round the stilted village and went to see the church and the school there not linked up at all so its everywhere by boat. Kids were paddling round on big bits of polystyrene.

Then back off to Merida for one night before we set off Los Llanos where we went to a caiman farm all pilled in the back of a truck (check out the pics) and then on a local boat trip where we saw a few in the wild! Evening spent putting the world to rights over beers while gazing up at the stars. Then it was off to Ciudad Bolivar which was a campsite with good facilities including nice showers and facility for laundry (believe me these small thinks become very important when you have so few clothes!) they also had a pool table and you could upgrade from camping to a hammock which a few of us did. Those doing the angel falls day trip went from there while the rest of took the opportunity to pop into town. I´ll be doing the Angel falls trip on the next section of my trip where we have a bit longer and get to go across there for a few days. As it was Halloween and also Nicola on the trips birthday we went shopping for things for a party as we were having a bbq at the campsite. We bought a pinata and filled it with goodies which we all had much fun with while drunk later and I broke the stick while Angela bashed it down with a pool cue (see pics).

We then set off down to the southern end of the Orinoco Delta where we went on wildlife spotting boat trips and piranha fishing and Steve and Hannah both managed to catch them! Things got a bit loud in the evening when we had a few too many cube libras which ended up in drunken twister and then getting up late in the morning and rushing round to get on the truck on time.

Then on for a nights camping in Caripe by the cave where the nocturnal Oil birds live, apparently the only birds to use sonar like bats. Upon arrival after we set up our tents we watched them begin to start leaving the cave, just inside the caves entrance you could hear there eerie squawks like some kind of mythical creatures from the lord of the rings. The next day we went about 1200m into the 10km caves with a guide.

That brings us almost up to date with a couple of days on the Caribbean beach at Santa Fe with most people opting for some chill time we also had a bbq and then back to Caracas which saw the end of the trip for Alison and Steve, Angela and Alan and Nicola off who we will be sad to loose, on with there onward plans but another four to join the trip whom I met briefly at the pre departure meeting this morning as we arrived back in Caracas last night and they seem nice.

Now I´ve got a 6.5 week section heading to Rio for Christmas baby yeah! So far looking forward to Angel Falls, 5 day amazon boat trip and paragliding in Rio!

Thats all for now folks don't forget to check out the pictures.


10 Reasons you know your a overlander....

1. You can wash your entire body, hair and maybe even some clothes too with a miniature freeby hotel soap.

2.Your arms are so brown they don't look like they belong to the rest of your body anymore.

3.You are constantly assessing the toilet situation on arrival anywhere.

4.Your definition of clean isn't what it was.

5.Any game can be turned into a drinking game.

6.Scratching those bites feels so good even though you know you shouldn't.

7.Gringo tax can and will apply when paying.

8.Laundry, internet and showers are a luxury.

9.Size, frequency and consistency of shit is a major topic of conversation since everyone got travels tum at some stage.

10. Dangerous sports are a frequent occurrence.
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