Monday, February 16, 2009

Arrival in Venezuela

After an enjoyable stay in Trinidad it was time to move on. Our check in time at the ferry terminal was at 7:00 am but in order to not get stuck in rush hour traffic we needed to get up at 4:30 am. Our host family arranged a safe ride for us with a family member and we arrived at the terminal before sunrise. We had only got a couple of hours sleep the night before so we were quite over tired. The ferry from Port of Spain, Trinidad to Guiria, Venezuela was only 3.5 hours however once we arrived in the small fishing town of Guiria we had to wait for another 2 hours for the customs officials to arrive.

Guiria Venezuela, our first port of call in South America

Gasoline in Venezuela costs the equivilant of about 3 cents a litre

Once we had cleared customs we made our way to the city centre with some German travellers who are planning to hit many of the same destinations as we are. We bought some bread and cheese and discussed what we planned to do next. We waited for a bus or por puesto (communal taxi) for over an hour but none of the long distance buses wanted to take us to the city we were going to because they would make more money if they sold tickets to further destinations and none of the por puestos wanted to take us because it was too late in the afternoon.

Just when it was starting to look like we were going to spend the night in Guiria an empty 11 passenger 1970's Ford van pulled up to a traffic light right in front of us. Inside were two people who were on the ferry from Trinidad. Our German friends, who had decided to spend the night in Guiria, called out and asked the driver if they were travelling to Cumana and he nodded and pulled over. The driver, a Norweigan who had moved to Venezuela a year ago, and his friend had just been visiting family in Trinidad and now were driving back home. Fortunately for us, they were not just going to Cumana but to the exact place that we needed to go, Puerto la Cruz.

Puerto la Cruz is where the main ferry to Isla de Margarita departs but we didn't think it would be possible to make it there in one day. The reason that we were planning to visit Isla de Margarita was to visit some friends of Josh's aunt. From 5:00 pm until 1:50 am we drove.

Just when we were wondering where we would be able to afford to stay in Puerto la Cruz our Norweigan friends decided to stop at the ferry terminal to see if there were any late boats. Luckily there was a boat that departed at 2:00 am, arriving on Margarita at 7:30 am. Unfortunately for our friends there were no more vehicle spaces available but we were still able to buy passenger tickets.

After a long and sweaty half sleep on wooden park benches with armrests every 3 feet we arrived at Isla de Margarita just after sunrise.

The old ferry

From the ferry terminal we hopped on a bus and arrived at the door of Josh's aunts friends at 9:00 am having slept for about 3 of the last 45 hours. After a much needed shower we both fell asleep for the rest of the day.

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