Archive for July, 2012

Puerto La Cruz

July 24, 2012

After a short stint in Murderville, a crazy few days in the jungle, and the chartered flight on a four person Cessna back to civilization, I’m in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela. It’s like being in a different country. This has seemingly been three different countries in one trip. Every place has a really different feel. Puerto La Cruz could easily be compared to Santa Monica, CA. It’s a safe, hip city with an amazing walking promenade lined with shops and restaurants. People are doing group yoga on the beach and street vendors sell everything from trinkets to popcorn. A thriving middle eastern community has transformed the local cuisine into shawarma and falafel. Venezuela is far from a cheap country, and this place is an especially bad example of budget travel. The giant light up cross at the end of the promenade reminds you of the country’s catholic roots, but the stray dogs, arepa vendors and Chavez posters remind you that you are in Venezuela. The official exchange rate is around four and a half bolivares per dollar, but it’s obligatory to change money on the black market here despite the warnings about safety. The black market doubles your money, and I have no idea why, the money is the same. I’ll add some photos from around the city soon.

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Canaima, Venezuela

July 23, 2012

Waterfalls. Lots of waterfalls. After dropping my stuff off at the base camp, our tour embarked on a two and a half hour hike to El Sapo and El Sapito, two spectacular waterfalls. These aren’t waterfalls like you can imagine, these are half a mile across rivers that drop a hundred feet. It is amazing the amount of water pouring off these falls. El Sapo has about a three foot cave behind the falls that allows you to walk across to the other side. I feel like I can try out for one of those reality Alaskan fishing shows. Walking under the falls was the equivalent of a typhoon. The amount of water you get hit by every second is probably the equivalent of three normal showers. Afterwards, we all kept hiking another hour. I took a spill down a rock embankment into a tree (I love my Vans, but they aren’t exactly waterfall hiking material). Sleeping under mosquito nets facing some other falls was some of the best sleep I’ve ever gotten. Today we head to Angel Falls (in the Pixar film Up, Paradise Falls is based on this wonder) to see a 3000′ waterfall. That is as high as El Capitan in Yosemite, with a giant river flowing from the top of it. Certain things are worth risking getting your cell phone wet for. Bruised, sweating, having a great time.

Bolivares of Broken Dreams

July 19, 2012

Well, after three days of traveling, three days of planes, and three days of eating greasy arepas, I’m in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela. This is the first place that the Posadas (guest houses) would let me go outside. Apparently it’s not safe to walk around even in the day in Caracas or Cotia LA Mar. Puerto Ordaz is a great city though with tons of side of the road attractions, empanada stands and Chavez posters. It seems really Venezuelan. Tomorrow I’m off to Canaima and Angel Falls. Very excited to get to the middle of nowhere…