BootsnAll Travel Network

Day 46 Ciudad Guyana, Venezuela

One of things that became readily apparent during my Angel Falls trip was my lackluster clothing choice for actively backpacking. With that in mind I headed off to the malls. After wandering through the largest mall in Ciudad Guyana, I came to the conclusion that the same reason why I could not find any cold weather clothes in St. Thomas was the same reason why they had nothing in Ciudad Guyana. It just doesnít get cold enough for the need of a jacket. No rain jackets, no cold weather clothing, no cool backpacking clothes, or backpacking equipment. The only place that had anything was the gun shop and they carried fatigues. Being an American in South America wearing fatigues is just a little bit too adventurous even for me. After two hours I gave up and headed over to the local mall to get my photos taken. A lady took a liking to me and got me a spot in line so I could get the picture taken quickly. There were twenty or thirty early teen girls there getting their pictures taken. They do say that Venezuela grooms the girls to be beauty queens at a very young age. From what I can tell they do a good job. With the photos in order and a few hours to waste I headed over to the bank to get a cash advance through the bank rather than the ATM. Through the ATM, Venezuelan banks limit the amount to$25-$50US per transaction. I donít know if that is to prevent fraud, or to bump up all the transaction charges. I do know in Caracas I was paying ten dollars to withdraw $50. A pretty good scam I thought. After I got the money, it was like going to the DMV in the states, I went to my usual lunch/dinner spot in Ciudad Guyana, McDonalds. I was really wanting to make sure I did not have any problems when I went on the Roraima Trek, because the last thing I needed was food poisoning on top of everything else while I was trying to climb the mountain. Wherever you go throughout the world, you can always count on McDonalds to have a square meal with a minimum of gastric risk. I think other countries McDonalds are actually run more effectively than in the states. After lunch I headed back to the photo place to pick up my photos. They were actually done and pre-cut. I took my photos, passport, yellow fever vaccination card, and headed down the road to the Brazilian Embassy. It took a while to find because when I think of an Embassy it brings to mind a huge house like building with flags flying and armed guards out front to screen visitors. Well I had the guide which showed where it should be, but it just wasnít there. I started questioning people who got just as confused as I was. I finally got a security guard who made it his mission to find the secret Brazilian lair. He went door to door until he found a stairwell that led to a bunch of businesses in between some restaurants. We got buzzed in and asked a couple of people who finally pointed out the non-descript doorway that housed the Brazilian consulate. The lady I talked to was semi-helpful until she asked for a credit card. I had not brought one so with that she just pushed the application and all my stuff through the crack in the window and walked away. Okay then, need the card. I decided to grab a cab because I didnít want to miss my window. We hauled back to the hotel in this chicken wired cab and raced back to the lady. She made a bunch of copies and then disappeared. About ten minutes later she came back and asked for the Hotel phone number where I was staying. I did not have it. She said that she could not reach the Embassy and that she could give me a call when she did. Because of the time it would most likely be the next day. At that point I gave up. I had a bus to catch and fell back on my original plan of just getting it done on the border. With that, I dejectively walked back to the hotel.

At the hotel I packed up all my stuff, said goodby to the owner and grabbed a cab to the bus station. From Caracas the hotel owner had set me up with a state of the art bus. I was actually looking forward to the ten hour drive. In the Consulate, they had a poster for one of the bus lines. I had written it down since the embassy was advertising for them, they had to be first class. When I got to the terminal I wandered around until I found their window and bought a ticket. Simple. I had a few hours to burn so I basically just laid around. At the time that we were scheduled to board, there was still no bus so I wandered over to the guy who I had bought the ticket from. He said that they were running late and oh by the way, we over sold the bus and we have to move you to the next bus two hours later. Now, I actually didnít mind waiting because that meant I got into town around 7am instead of 5am, and the chances of a taxi and getting a hotel room would be easier since things would be open at 7am. I was just a smudge bothered by the fact that the guy saw me standing there for the whole time and did not say a thing. About fifteen minutes later the bus pulled up to the side of the terminal. Just for kicks I wandered over to check out the bus. Well there were like fifteen people getting on the bus. Now that was kind of weird since some of the people had arrived after I had. There was a cute girl that was also told that the bus was full and she was doing the same thing as I. Well she went and talked to the driver who let her on the bus. I grabbed my stuff and went over to the ticket agent and asked him what was going on and why were all these people getting on. He then proceeded to tell me that this bus was going north to Caracas and Puerto La Cruz. I looked at the sign on the front of the bus and it said Santa Elena but couldnít imagine the guy was lying straight to my face and figured that they were coming from there heading north. I walked off questionable, but still calm. There was a loading guy who handled the freight that the buses took on their routes I asked him where the bus was going and he said Santa Elena. Boom, I lost my cool. I walked over to the ticket window and went off on the guy. I told him that he was a fucking liar and a prick for not just telling the truth from the start. He started to respond back in Spanish but I just repeated myself about how he was a fucking liar and was full of shit. With a final fuck you I walked off. I havenít lost my cool in a long time but that guy just pushed the wrong buttons. For two hours the guy avoided me like the plague while I just gave him the shit eye for the two hours that I waited. Finally, the bus pulled up and I got to get on. It was about three quarters full, but I was able to get an open row with a window seat. This bus was definitely not at the quality of my first bus. It was much more cramped, even though it did have fluffy seats, and could lean back fairly far. One major problem was that the toilet was either full or leaking because it stunk. The back half of the bus was complaining so the guy had to take it to the San Felix terminal to get it cleaned out. That in itself added another hour. Once we were on the road I dozed off. Then the checkpoints came. Every hour and a half we were boarded by armed military who checked everybodyís ID. It just really sucked having to get up every time to hand the guy your passport and then try and contort your face to look somewhat like the picture. About an hour away from Santa Elena we pulled over to a more serious check point and had to get off the bus grab our bags from the storage compartment and stand in line while they checked every article in everybodyís bags. That took over an hour and we actually left two ladies who had a bunch of stuff they had bought but could not produce receipts for all of it. I felt bad for them, but we were twelve hours into the trip and I could care less. Finally we pulled into a terminal where everybody got out. I had no clue where we were so I told the lady I was going to Santa Elena and she told me aqui, and with that I had arrived.


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