I spend most of the morning packing up my stuff and trying to make it all fit in my rucksack once more! It would have been quicker if an evil centipede with long legs had not buried itself in my pack after jumping off a hammock and scuttling across my face. Meaning I had to un-pack it all to find it - it looked poisonous and I didn't want to find it unexpectedly! Steve gives me some blue "Happy Pills" for use when I'm in real pain and some other pills for bacterial diarrhoea. Susanne left for Angel Falls on her own and the rest of us headed to the airstrip. The owner had sorted me out a flight for 160,000 Bs (dirt cheap!). Lisa and Mark were staying in a Posada (guest house) for the night in Ciudad Bolivar and gave me it's name. As they were taking a different plane they said they would wait half an hour for me at the other end. I said not to bother for everything here is either late, delayed or cancelled but on-one ever seems to care. All times mentioned just seem to be loose recommendations! Observations had taught me that 5 mins = ½ hour and I'd just been asked to wait 20 mins!
My plane (only 1 hour later) is a 4 seater Cessna and as I'm flying with a family of 4, I ride co-pilot! Half way there the pilot asks me if I'm going to Peurto Ordaz! I tell him "No" and he starts nattering on the radio. We're still going to Peurto Odaz, but then he's going to fly me to Cuidad Bolivar! Despite flying banged up little Cessnas (i.e. the fuel gauges on my plane didn't work and spent their whole life jammed on full!) the pilots still wear pressed white shirt uniforms, how cute! Another pilot joined us for the short hop to Bolivar. The two spent their time making gay jokes and clapped and cheered when we landed, as if they were happy to still be alive! Mark and Lisa were waiting for me. By this time, as predicted, I was 2 hours late!
Mental Note: Never try to catch some sun the day before you have carry your overloaded rucksack. Ouch!
Lisa and Mark had already checked me in. The hostel (Postada Angostura) was luxurious and cost me 80,000 Bs a night. My room is on-suite with a shower, ceiling fan and air-con! I decide to stay for 2 more nights until I leave for Caracas. We wander up the Rio Orinoco river front and call into Adrenaline Adventures to ask for directions to a restaurant. There we met a couple who had cycled up from Argentina! We eat at a Colombian place round the corner. There's no menu, we just had to answer these 3 difficult questions:
Food was tasty, plentiful and only 10,000 Bs (~£2.5) compared to 30,000 Bs at the hostel. Beer is 1,000 Bs for a big stubbie. Back at the Posada we meet the Frenchies (Patrice and Claude) who it seems are also staying here. Popular place! They're waiting for a bag to turn which an airline lost a week ago! When a taxi finally pulls up, it's not to deliver the bag, but to take Patrice to the airport so he can collect it! Whilst drinking Brahma Chapp beer at the hostel (it has a slight bitter taste!) we chat to Cecil and Sue on the roof top veranda. They're a couple of OAPs who are waiting for their passports to turn up after leaving them hidden under a bed during a trip to the Delta de Orinoco! Cecil was an Electronic Engineer who worked for the British government designing manned and unmanned aircraft and satellites. Not bad work!
Posted by Steve Eynon