cat_venezuela


The country of Angels, Venezuela
Sunday, 21 August 2011 03:33
DSC_0335The rain went on all the night and stopped with the first daylight. It felt so difficult to get up from the hammock I was sleeping on in the open air but I managed it. As a matter of fact I was stepping on the wet leaves and branches after a few steps. The river Churum was flowing very strong below. I raised up my head slowly. The waterfall that was covered by the clouds yesterday was clear now. But the clouds were jealous again. It went all white soon. We had our breakfast, crossed the river and started to walk in the jungle. The ground was slippery because of the rain previous night and some parts were full of water and mud. We kept on moving by stepping on the tree roots and rocks. The voice of the waterfall was rising, we were probably getting closer, the walk continued. The group had a break to rest but I was so impatient to stop and I kept walking. In a few minutes, after nearly 50 hours of bus trip, 1 hours flight, 4 hours of canoe trip and 1 hour of walking in the jungle, I managed it; the longest waterfall in the world, Angel was shining brightly among the clouds...

DSC_0229After seeing Lora off in Bogota Eldorado Airport, it was time to hit back on the road again. But before we had to solve the cash problems. The official dollar rate used in the Venezuelan banks were just the half of the one used in daily life. That's why we had to take as much cash as we can with us and that meant to look for an ATM, find one and exchanging the amount we could withdraw into dollars which took some time. After solving the problems particularly we proceeded to Bogota bus terminal but we were stuck in the traffic jam this time. Bogota was getting ready for the Friday night party and didn't want us to leave. Finally we arrived to the bus station and bought tickets for the first bus heading to Cucuta which is very close to Venezuelan border. All the backpackers we saw around till here were not around this time. It seems the safety problems were preventing travelers to visit the country despite its natural beauties. After our trip on the bendy roads of foggy Andes mountains took 16 hours, we arrived to Cucuta. It's possible to say that getting down from the Andes mountains felt good after complaining about the cold weather in the cities like Cusco, Quito, Otavalo and Bogota. Many taxi drivers surrounded us after getting off the bus in Cucuta bus terminal telling they could take us to Venezuela but our choice was to go by public transportation as usual. We ate something to eat in the terminal before getting on the minibus that took us to the border. An old man came by the table right before we leave but we didn't understand what he said and we left thinking that he wants to take the plates back. We got our backpacks, then saw the old guy again and understood what he wanted to tell this time. He sat on the chairs we left and he was trying to find something to eat, he was just hungry...

DSC_0105The driver of the old minibus heading to the biggest city around Venezuelan border forgot to stop in the border, that's why we noticed him immediately and left the minibus. Our passports were stamped in the Colombian immigration office and we started to walk slowly to other side of the bridge, Venezuela. There were huge American cars on the roads and they were giving an impression that is totally against to the political view of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. We had some safety concerns based on the things that we heard of travelers we met before, we crossed the border carefully and stressed. I was feeling myself like Frodo going into Mordor (In fact I more look like Aragorn but anyway...) The passport process was simple, afterwards we got on a minibus that would take us to san Cristobal but we had already noticed by the soldiers that were waiting further away. We got our backpacks and got off. We were asked questions while our backpacks were searched carefully. This was just the first of the several similar conditions that we would face in the following days. After a few hours we arrived to San Cristobal bus terminal, it was crowded. As a matter of fact the buses were mostly full. We were walking around to find seats but the soldiers stopped us, passports were checked, questions were asked again. The only possible way was to make a stopover in Valencia, north of Venezuela. We bought tickets for the overnight bus. Another option was to go to Caracas, the capital but we were avoidign to go there because the city was already famed with danger. 12 hours trip to Valencia was stopped by the soldiers a few times, passports were checked again, the bus was searched by dogs.