BootsnAll Travel Network

Day 56 Santa Elena, Ven

Saturday was going to be our last day in Santa Elena. I was going to be heading south into Brazil and Sam and Anna would be going back to Ciudad Bolivar and then on up to Maracaibo where they would cross into Colombia.

I was short on cash so I made a bank run. Things started to fall apart soon after. The bank would not take my Bank of America card so I had to run back to the Hotel to try my Mastercard. The owner told me of another bank so I ran off to try there. Neither card worked and the one bank that was open would not do cash advances. I could feel the on set of panic. I thought it out and figured that I would use just enough of my US dollars to cover what I needed and would hope to be able to replenish them when I got to Brazil. Suriname uses a big black market for the dollar, so it was in my best interest to use them there. I quickly ran back to the hotel and grabbed some money. The money changers hang out on one corner so I quickly changed the funds to Bolivares. By my calculation I would have just enough to cover the Hotel bill, the taxi to the border, my $100 Brazilian Visa, and the bus ride to Boa Vista where there were tons of banks. With the money situation rectified I ran back to the hotel to check out before the 1:00pm check out time. While we were hanging out and getting ready to say our goodbye’s, three English girls were questioning a guy about the costs to get to Brazil. I piped in my plan and was quickly invited to tag along with them. Now I was stoked. Things were getting better. The plan was falling into place and all of a sudden I would be traveling with three hot English girls to boot. I said my goodbyes to Sam and Anne who were laughing at my sudden good luck. With that we were off. We walked a quarter of a mile to where the por puestos hung out (shared taxis). They would take us to the La Linea (Border) where we would cross into Brazil. Our walk was a bit amusing as they struggled to carry their packs full of unnecessary stuff and my pack which was half the size for a trip that would be years longer. We found a car right off and stuffed our bags into the trunk. It was smooth sailing. Once we got to the border we were pulled over for a full inspection. We had to take our packs and head into a room where they went over our passports and one at a time had to empty out our packs so they could check everything. When it came to mine, the guy noticed that I did not have an exit stamp. He asked where it was at and I told him that I thought that it was all handled at the border. The girls told me that they had theirs done in town. Oh shit, I thought. The guy said that he would over look it and let me go. I was thrilled. We hopped back into the cab and drove to the Immigration office. There is where the fun stopped. The guy took a quick look at my passport and asked where my Visa was. I told him that that is why I was there in front of him. He said that I needed to get the Visa from the Brazilian consulate in Santa Elena. Fuck. The guide book had stated that all immigration formalities were handled at the La Linea. Now I found out that I could not get through. England did not need visas to enter Brazil so the girls were fine to go. I told them that it was alright and I would take care of things and make my way across later. They seemed more disappointed than me. One of them commented on how used to travel problems that I seemed to be. I just told her that when you have years, one day is not a huge factor. Once we were done, we loaded back up and took the girls to the bus station where they would transfer to a bus and head to Boa Vista and then on to Manaus. We said our goodbyes and planned on meeting up in Belem. I did actually get a chance to cruise around Brazil for a half an hour as the guy tried to pick up some passengers to go back to Santa Elena. We made the long ride back alone. Just for the sake of it and the hope of getting a third fare from me we swang by the Brazilian Embassy to see if it was open. It was not. The crazy thing of it all was that the Embassy and the place to get my exit stamp were about two blocks away from the hotel. I had spent eight hours the previous day doing shit and if I had known I could have had it all taken care of in a matter of a five minute walk. At that point I was a little irked, but looked forward to seeing Sam and Anna again.
I dropped my stuff at the hotel and got another room for the weekend since the embassy would not be opened until Monday. I did verify that it did have hot water. It actually turned out to be Sam and Annas room that they had just checked out of. I knew they were probably at the internet café so I walked down to catch them. Just as I walked up, they were coming out. They laughed pretty hard when I told them that the English girls dumped me so I came back to Anna. We spent the next couple of hours doing some shopping for some stuff they needed. Soon it was time for them to leave, so we said our goodbyes and I got to see them leave.

That night is was low key for me, so I just wandered around the city again, checking out the cool pool scene. At about midnight I had enough and went to bed.


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