Trip Start Sep 16, 2005
6Trip End Ongoing
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So I was back to Caracas ready for the start of my next trip, people leaving the trip and new people joining.....
First port of call was back to Ciudad Bolivar which was to be the base for our excursion to angel falls. We flew from Ciudad Bolivar to Canaima and then a mixture of boat rides and walking through the Sabana. It is the remote location in which angel falls is which seems to make it even more impressive. We arrived at what was to be our camp for the next night completely drenched after a downpour while we were in the boat. Our camp being a roofed shelter for us to hang our hammocks directly opposite the falls. As the weather began to clear Angel falls came stunningly into view. Following a delicious meal cooked by our guides over a fire we all settled in for the night in our hammocks under our mosquito nets. Next morning we crossed the river and walked for about an hour and reached a viewing point for the falls, unfortunately the top of the falls were shrouded in cloud so we decided to move on and return to the viewing point later. We walked a little further to a pool at the bottom of Angel Falls where we all took a icy cold dip! The origin of the falls is that of two rivers and a lake on top of the tepuis. We returned to the viewing point by which time the cloud had lifted and we managed to get a good view of the falls. After lunch back at the camp we set off back to Canaima where we were going to spend the night via another water fall called El Sapo where we had the opportunity to walk behind the waterfall. What an experience! We all stripped off down to our swimmers and started the walk where initially there was a bit of spray back from the waterfall, then further along it got so you were edging along feeling the rock because there was so much spray you certainly couldn't see and could hardly breath for the spay driving in your face
Then three long drive days on our way to Manous to catch the boat to Belem down the Amazon. Through the grand sabana and over the Brazilian border bush camping each night. A few problems at the border as they only stamped our passports with 30 days and then didn't want to change them, but it all got worked out in the end. The drive to Manous was a long one with only one driver as one had to stay behind in Caracas to sort out his visa issues and the worse roads we've seen so far, pot holes so big you have to drive round them. Once in Manous some of us decided to do a Jungle trip which involved a drive and couple of long boat trips to get there (no stranger now to many hours in boats with outboard motors, makes for a numb bum as you can imagine)
Back in Manous the second driver Brett rejoined us with a foot looking like it belonged to a dead man, apparently while we were on the beach at Santa Fe he managed to get a worm from a fly that lays it eggs. You could see the worm track under the skin and the worst bit was because he scratched it he infected his three middle toes which is why it looked so bad! He said it was looking much better by the time he met back up with us too!
With our newly purchased hammocks and plenty of snacks and booze we embarked on our four night boat trip down the Amazon. We had to change boats at Santereem with time enough to restock on snacks and booze as we´d had a bit of a heavy first night during which there was a passport checkpoint and we all had to go and show our passports while rather drunk! The first boat was more spacious and had an area you could drink and sit and admire the view upstairs and with plenty of rum and drinking games sit and put the world to rights. The next boat was much smaller and all the hammocks much closer together but a good atmosphere all the same. We spent our time reading, playing games and drinking mainly and admiring the views. My pearl of wisdom is never drop a full can of beer while sitting in a hammock, I speak from experience
We then set off for the seven cities national park which we camped just outside before visiting the next day. We got to sit in the roof seats on the truck for a while in the national park and then take a walk round looking at the various rock formations and cave hand paintings etc. This was followed by a similar visit to the Uranba national park with cable car down to caves for a tour
Jericocoa what can I say this was a fabulous little beach town, a little difficult to get to as its basically in the middle of lots of sand dunes and the types of vehicle which can go there are restricted, so we had to leave the truck in a nearby town and catch transfers. In the evening lots of little cocktail stalls set up down by the beach which is where we spent most of the evening drinking Caiprinas the local cocktail made of Cachacha (sugar cane alcohol) with crushed lime and sugar over ice. Similar to Mojitos just lime instead of mint. We were waiting for an alleged beach party which turned out to be more like one of the bars with a fire out on the beach. So we stayed by the cocktail stalls which were a hive of activity chatting and drinking until I called it a day at about 5.30 and took myself and half the beach to bed. Feeling slightly peaky the next day took things easy, great food at the restaurants. Next day Hannah, myself and Graham went of dune buggying and sand boarding which was excellent fun. Long way back up with that board once you've gone down though! Next we set off to Praia de Pipa with a bush camp, leaking tents and the discovery of scorpions at the site in the morning! Praia de Pipa again another excellent beach town (it is Brazil after all). We then moved on to colonial Olinda which has many beautiful buildings
Then a drive on to Salvador where we stayed in the pelhouro district where we were staying in a really nice hotel. We went out for drinks and dinner to properly celebrate Jens birthday to her favorite Lebanese restaurant. The streets of Salvador always seem to be hustling and bustling with so many different cultural influences. Next day we spent taking in some of Salvadors sights taking the elevator down to the main town and port area. Most of us went shopping in the market to buy some small presents with our agreed secret santa budget so we could all have gifts at the end of the trip and those of us who were getting a apartment together were getting a little something extra each so that we had things to open on Christmas day. Next evening we spent drinking and snacking from street vendors with a constant stream of people singing and playing drums down the street and generally entertaining
Arrived in Rio and briefly went to the hotel where we would be joining the next trip to pick up a package kindly sent by those of you who know him Keith Harding who did at one stage expect to be in Rio on business just before Christmas and was going to bring a few essentials for us. As his business trip was rescheduled he mailed us the package anyway meaning we had Christmas pud, custard, bisto gravy, cranbury sauce, Branston pickle, marmite, veggiemite and a few other bits and bobs which meant we had all the trimmings to add to our Christmas day. Thanks Keith! The group went our separate ways with some finishing the trip in Rio and people going to various hotels which had been arranged for the Christmas break between trips. Five of us from the truck and Alan and Angela who had been on the Venezuela loop also joined us at the apartment for Christmas. We had a view of Christ the redeemer from our balcony and the apartment was superb inside. Most of the first evening was taken up by signing contracts and sorting out at the apartment. First real day in Rio we took a city tour arranged by a friend of grahams who also arranged the superb apartment. Our city tour consisted of visiting Christ the Redeemer for which we had a really clear day and the views were superb. We then went half way down from Christ the Redeemer and took a tram the rest of the journey through Santa Teressa ending up at the Cathederal Moderno which holds up to 10,000 people and holds mass weddings for 3000 couples every year with there families as it usually cost too much otherwise
Loads more to come when I get to it, currently in La Paz getting drenched in carnival water fights!
Hope your all well.... enjoy. K. x