Roraima or bust

Trip Start Jun 06, 2007
Trip End Jul 03, 2007

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Flag of Venezuela  ,
Saturday, July 28, 2007

After arriving into Caracas, then flying out to Puerto Ordaz, then car ride to Ciudad Bolivar, I took an overnight bus 12 hours to Santa Elena, a small border town in Venzuela near Brazil.  This is where I met the Roraima Trek hiking crew and began the journey up the mountain. 

Note that if planning on an overnight bus going to Santa Elena, you will probably not get much sleep, as you need to unpack your belongings four times along the way, during the wee hours of the night.  The Armada - Guardia Nacional checkpoints were approximately at Midnight, 2am, 4am, and 5:00am.  

Rules are, deboard the bus with all your luggage, and unpack all bags - everything comes out from your luggage and taken apart, including tents, sleeping bags, toiletries, small kleenex packs, EVERYTHING - and you place all items on tables in outdoors huts.  Then after all that - you repack everything...After four times of this, I had everything all bunched up in my backpack - with no organized method anymore!! 

Thank god for the stray dogs - they were very entertaining and kept me from falling asleep while standing in line to be searched.  Each search stop was about 30 minutes long.  This is due to the current popular southbound drug smuggling route between Caracas and the border of Brazil. 

Although I was the only non-latino on board, the locals going to Brazil were most suspected and I saw some real bloodthirsty behavior between the military and their own countrymen.  My first impression was a great sense of unease and a bit of fear.  One incident I saw of inhumane treatment towards a young latin guy has since been on my mind often.  However, perhaps this young man was really carrying something, or was associated with a list.
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