Up at 06:00 to grab another muscle car taxi, only this one was even more beat up than the last and sported a nice pair of shiny "slicks" for tyres. This car was so run down even the needles on the dials on the dashboard had fallen off! Good excuse for speeding I suppose! At the airport the Slovaks decide to it's too expensive to fly to Canaima (claiming it to be 880,000 Bs per head) and prefer to taxi it to Ciudad Bolivar instead for cheaper airfares. They ditch me because I'm an odd number and they didn't want 5 in a car for a 100 km journey. So I buy me a ticket to Canaima for only 270,000 Bs!? My Spanish sucks. Nobody here speaks English. Simple questions like "one-way or return" elude me. I end up buying a one-way ticket, naturally!
The plane is a small 10 seater and was 1½ hours late. I board with a French couple Patrice and Claude (his wife) and another couple, Sean (a Canadian from Vancouver) and Monika (his Hungarian wife) who've been living in Shepards bush for a while. Sean and Monika also arrived the other day from Heathrow but via Frankfurt. Their bags didn't arrive either! And they don't turn up until midway through their trip to Angel Falls. The airline offered to ship them out to the jungle, but as they couldn't even ship them to a mainline airport, they wisely turned the offer down!
It turns out that Sean and Monika are doing the Angel Falls trip with Bernal Tours, the same people that I want to do it with, meaning I should meet a rep at Canaima airport.
The flight took an unexpected detour for a flyover of Angel Falls! Brilliant! And the sights of the Tepuis (table top mountains) were awesome. Once we rocked up to the tiny Canaima airstrip it became obvious that I was meant to have paid for the trip before I arrived; everyone is asking for a pre-paid white voucher. Naturally, I don't have one. Sean helped explain that I wanted the same trip as them, and I paid the rep $160 US for a 3 day / 2 night tour. We walk for 5 mins and transfer to a small boat with an outboard to the island. On arrival I spy an amazing latina babe sunning herself on the rocks, sporting a skimpy bikini and a sexy pose. Little did I know she'd become a good mate over the next few days along with her British fiance Will!
The camp is brilliant. The mess tables and hammocks are all in view of the spectacular Salto Golondrina waterfalls. I lend Sean and Monika a big dry bag and pick a hammock next to theirs; they're really friendly and include me in everything. I change into swim gear and follow a large group for a tour of the waterfalls. First stop is a beach by a lake and ALL the girls instantly strip down to bikinis and start splashing about in the water! I take a dip also, the water's warm and orange (due to the roots of the water plants) and when I look down I look like I've a fake tan. We see Eagles and walk under and over the waterfall by the lake before heading to the BIG waterfall by the camp site.
The relentless brutal pounding of the rocks by the waterfall is awesome. Combine that with actually standing under it with lots of squealing bikini babes in a tropical paradise setting and you may understand why I had an ecstatic smile on my face that I couldn't wipe off!
At dinner I notice the Slovaks are here too and Peter greets me with a hearty, "I told you we'd meet again!" Sean and Monika went to bed (well, hammock) early and I spent the evening around a fire on the beach chatting to Sarah, a girl from Poweys, North Wales no less. I feel like I've finally done it, I've started travelling around South America - I'm doing it, I'm doing it!
Posted by Steve Eynon