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Ben and Ange - On the Road

Angel Falls

VENEZUELA | Wednesday, 22 October 2008 | Views [1590]

An artistic angle,, or just drunk

An artistic angle,, or just drunk

After leaving lovely Colombia we were pretty much slapped in the face Venezuelan style right from the check point. A dodgy hole in the wall check point for our passport stamp amid a dusty, potholed road and having to pay 10 Bolivars each to avoid having our bags searched (All arranged by the conductor on the bus so that we would save time). Once across the border we couldn´t have any lights on as that might draw attention to the bus in what is apparently a dangerous area. Welcome to Venezuela!

If that wasn´t enough... being dropped off at a toll gate just outside of town at 4am in the morning cause the bus doen´t go to the terminal just kind of topped it all off. Tourism is not Venezuelas selling point. So with all that we decided to make a B line to Angel falls and get the hell out of there.

The first staging point is Ciudad Bolivar where we organised our tour. Paying for most of the tour in American cash that we had brought across the border with us (Black market rate is 4 to 1, where the official rate is 2 to 1, you figure it out!) it was expensive rather than super expensive.

The next stage is to catch a small plane to Cainama. No roads go there so everything comes in by plane. The plane ride takes you across some great landscapes that remind you a little of home. Cainama has some falls of it´s own just accross the lagoon and you can hear the roar of the water all day long. Very impressive.

So we just have time to get a drink when we´re told it´s now time for the next stage of our trip. A three and a half hour journey up river to base camp next to Angel falls themselves. The boat is little more than a canoe thats been dug out of a large tree with a 45 horse power engine on the back. Did i mention the rapids we had to go up? The first set has been deemed too dangerous to have tourists on board. Aparently some people drowned there a few years back. So a quick 30 minute walk and we were back on our way. There is something not quite right about going up rapids, it feels wrong somehow. But up we went getting splashed along the way. With the skies opening up as well we were thouroughly drenched when we arrived at camp. On our way we caught a glimpse of the falls which even from a long way off was an amazing sight.

So the final stage, I know there were a lot, was an hours hike to the base. The roar would get louder and then a mist would cover everything and then finally the falls appeared. It´s a little surreal to be looking at this water fall that is almost a kilometre high. Only when you tried to follow a particular portion of water could you understand the distance involved. The water seemed to move in slow motion.

So bathing in it´s glory, enjoying ourselves... disaster struck. The camera broke! It was a little dodgy after Tayrona and we thought we had it fixed by drying it out a little but apparently not. Fortunately it was after we had taken a lot of pictures already but it was still a crushing blow.

The next day we made our way back to Cainama and toured the waterfalls around there. On two of them you could go right behind them which was spectacular and with the sun shining through on this huge amount of water would have made a great photo,,, but alas,, sob!

So that was our Angel falls experience and that was our total Venezuelan experience as well. We bolted straight for Brazil and are loving it already. Not sure what it is about Venezuela (the grumpy people, the unattractive towns, being expensive) but we just didn´t take to it. Oh well! Bring on the Amazon!

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