Trip Start Jul 12, 2009
Trip End Aug 18, 2010

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Where I stayed
Pousada Casa Grande

Flag of Venezuela  , Guayana Highlands,
Sunday, March 14, 2010

We were off after breakfast once again to the airport at Canaima. This is normally a frustrating experience (especially with three children – with a good book and no kids you would not mind the wait!).  Thankfully we did not have too long a wait and we were back in our six-seater single propeller (knacker-ed looking) plane which was taking us to Ciudad Bolivar. 

We did not know what to expect at Ciudad Bolivar.  We had read that it was on narrowest part of the Orinoco river, that its original name was "Santo Tomas de la Guayana de la Angostura del Orinoco" which is a bit of a mouthful even for the Spaniards and that Angostura Bitters originated here.  

Our drive to the Pousada revealed to us that this was once a rich colonial city but today it looks bereft of investment and attention.  Our Pousada was a lovely colonial house restored with great views from the Roof of the City of the Orinoco River. 

We did not have long before it was time for our City tour – a walking tour.  We set off firstly to see what was the poorer side of the Colonial City – here you could see some early and basic architecture designs, mostly made out of what looked like bamboo sticks knitted together and then plastered with adobe (clay).  They defied all odds at staying up.  Apparently the locals requested help from local artists to freshen the area up and there is a scattering of various contemporary art in the area.  Personally,  I would have just recommended that they all collected the rubbish that was dumped throughout this district and scooped some of the dog poop, not only would it look better but it would not pong as much as it did.

We then ambled to the posh area and my, my what a transition.  The buildings surrounding the Plaza Bolivar, the Casa del Congreso, the baroque cathedral etc are neatly restored.  There was plenty of evidence to show that the city was once dominated by the Freemasons and reminded us of Paraty in Brazil (but not as pretty). 

On reflection our impression of Ciudad Bolivar was muted by the fact that there was absolutely no one on the streets.  We, a family of five looking obviously like tourists and an enthusiastic guide must have stood out (that's if anyone saw us) like sore thumbs.  We could hear samba-esque music coming out from behind shutters but the place lacked atmosphere.  It lacked people.   This was a shame as the next day, as we drove to the airport, the place was buzzing with bags of soul.

We were starving and with no money so our first call was to an agent who offered us a very good deal for US dollars.  With money in our pocket we ambled to the port for a fish meal – we had to try the Orinoco fish.  Er, no we didn’t.  The fish was dry and tasteless, we were all thankful there was a bottle of TK on the table. 

That evening we were meant to go to a Coleo – a Venezuelan Rodeo.  David our guide in the Gran Sabana rides in them and had recommended this one.  However for various reasons we were advised that it was “not safe”, “high risk with children”.  In addition to this we were being stung heavily for a taxi journey. With all things considered we decided to not go which is a real shame as we would have loved to see it and compare to the Rodeos we saw in the USA.

As we were advised not to leave the Pousada after 9pm it was off to bed early. 
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