Venezula, Puerto Ordaz : 13th April 2003

I am sure you are as amazed as me at how time is flying this year!!! Tu Fein and I was chatting last night and when I told him how long I had been on the road with Miss M (almost 10 months now), he just couldn`t believe it.

Well, each day still bring its new adventures and our journey continues to be full of spark and happenings (and tired bones off course too). As Tu Fein is new to all of this, I said that I will do this diary entry and he agreed to have a dab at the next one.

The lad has a bit of a nervous disposition and I think he is not so confident at all this writing stuff. I told him off course that very few of us are naturals and that it only comes with hard work and trying but I'm sure he'll come around in due time.

I am writing this to you from a very northern country in Central America, called Venezuela and we`ve been here for about three and a half weeks now. Miss M will tell you about all the hassles and red-tape we encountered, going across the border from Brazil and all I can say it that it required all our patience not to get upset about the delays and manana attitude.

We had a stretch of about 430km ahead of us through what they call the Gran Sabana and it was indeed an interesting experience with some very unique landscapes. This part of Venezuela consists of grasslands and flat mountains called Tepuis and we were also lucky to have seen a number of waterfalls. It is an area that is vast, empty and silent and some days we would travel for hours and see absolutely nobody on the road (only the odd bus or taxi passing us).

Miss M`s accommodation consisted of a mix of tent-sleeping and relatively comfortable rooms and apart for a day here or there, she managed to get at least one meal a day in most places. In Kama Meru she was promised that a meal will be prepared (she stayed at a type of tourist place where they offer rustic bungalow rooms and a restaurant to fill the tummies) but at 9pm that night was informed that only rice will be served due to unforeseen circumstances!!

We arrived one day after about a 35km ride at a Military base called Luepa and instead of reporting to the control point, Miss M simply walked into the area with us. We were lucky not to have got a bullet in the head as a very distressed man in uniform (and huge gun) informed her very seriously that we had entered a prohibited area and need to go back to the main road, immediately. Fortunately for us, this little incident didn`t completely ruin relations and we ended up spending two days there as Miss M had to travel some distance in a bus to get us new shoes.

She is not very happy about the fact that for most of the way we had to go on the tarmac road (there is no suitable space on the side) and apart from it ruining our shoes, she knows the hard surface is not good for our legs and joints. Due to this we do rest quite a lot but we would be delighted it we can have dirt road and softer surfaces again. We might just have luck as the stretch from Puerto Ordaz (where we are at the moment) to Puerto La Cruz in the north of Venezuela, is highway with a big grass bit in the middle (in most parts we were told anyway), so hopefully we'd be able to do our trotting there.

We've been very lucky to have met lovely friendly people in the Gran Sabana who told us to contact them when we get to Puerto Daz (also called Ciudad Guayana). Melissa, Leman and their aunt Blanca were truly fascinated by our trip and we were delighted to meet up with them again. They organized for Miss M to stay with friends of theirs in the apartment block next door and we got a safe spot at the front of the apartments, inside a big parking lot.

Miss M`s had received a lot of hospitality from Monica, her 16-year old daughter Fallon and Michael, the 12-year old son who loved us and who came down with Miss M every time we needed feeding, fresh water or just simply a check-up.

Ciudad Bolivar is about 95km from here and we were told that it is one of the hottest parts in this region (and we are suffering already!). Unfortunately it is also very dry at the moment so I imagine the next stretch will be quite difficult.

 

Tu Fein desperately wants to be mentioned in this mail, so there you go my friend, I`ve done it! I´m sorry, that`s very cruel!!! Well, Tu Fein turned out to be a sensitive and hardworking companion. He knows I miss Tusa a lot but he is really trying his best and the bites I got in the first few days are something of the past now. I was quite amazed at his resistance when he fell into the water one day where he got stuck in the mud up to his neck and after some drama to get him out, he started to chew on the grass straight away, completely unfaced at what had just happened!!
Like I had said earlier, he is a bit edgy at times and I think also a bit distrustful. He wouldn`t for example take food from Miss M (although he is dying to get his teeth into it! I can never have such self-control) and he would look at the carrot or piece of sweet fruit in her hand as it if has poison on it, turning his head away with a frow of suspicion on his face. It is only when she puts the food on the ground that we would eagerly grab it and gobble it up!! Some men are indeed very strange……

So, it is goodbye for now my friends. Until we talk again.

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