Day 33 – Sun 10th
Kaieteur falls – We hey! Reputedly the highest single uninterrupted drop falls in the world (Angel falls is just the highest with a few bumps on the way down).
Flew out to the falls on a Cessna 820 ‘Caravan’ – saw the falls from the air then swooped down onto a mountain top runway – got front seats so I could see him fly… brought it all back to me… (Uncle Albert moment there!) .
This is impressive- Looks like a table where the table top of hard rock pours a mighty sheet of water down into the ether. The rock has been worn away underneath so this projects out 20-30 foot enabling the water to drop, uninterrupted into the gaping chasm below. Ignore the words – just look at the pictures.
Even managed to see the elusive Golden tree frog hiding in the water of the Bromeliad – cute little buggers.
Spent the afternoon chilling in a hammock on Baganara Island in the middle of the Essequibo river – this is the life!
Hooray, Kaieteur at last, even if the bloody tour company wouldn’t take me to Orinduik falls too. It was amazing and powerful, was torn between the urge to get closer and the fear of falling over the edge – totally worth doing. In contrast, Keir seemed strangely eager to hunt down poisonous frogs that might leap out at him from a giant bromeliad – a different idea of living dangerously, perhaps?
Baganara afterwards, great food, but the promised swimming not really possible in the 5ft by 15ft space they had roped off – despite my lifelong inability to swim more than a couple of short lengths – never mind, I contented myself with a gin and tonic instead
Day 34 – Mon 11th
Early flight to Trinidad & Tobago L.
Pearl’s guesthouse was ok – rotten floorboards everywhere, covered in linoleum to cover the decrepitude. Friendly staff though & got all our washing done – almost like a ‘make & mend’ afternoon.
We were hoping to head to the Mangrove swamp trip that afternoon & then the Pitch Lake the next day, however admin slowed us down & we had to make a choice between the two – pretty birds won out…. As ever!
Another shockingly early start, 2:30am!!! Interestingly, the banging and generally awful music blaring out from the clubs opposite is still going, this reminds me of the ‘apres ski’ club we considered, and swiftly declined, in Sweden.
Got flight, to new (filthy) hostel – at least they had excellent wifi, washing machines we could make full use of, and helpful staff – more than I can say for the complete waste of space at the Ministry of Tourism, who seemed unable to even impart details of how to get around the city she lived in…
Post MoT, wasted an hour waiting for a distinctly absent bus before meeting some nice old ladies who directed us around the corner for the maxi-taxi, which came and took us to the ferry port in seconds -how bloody frustrating – must chat to more octogenarians, clearly
Day 35 – Tue 12th
Spent the morning rushing round the town to get the major sites in before heading off for a Mangrove swamp tour – just managed to see them all before hopping in a maxi taxi which dropped us off on the side of the dual carriageway. A quick vault over the central reservation, a dash across the road & we made our pick up in ample time.
The tour around the mangroves was very chilled – highlight was watching scarlet Ibis’s heading home to roost at sunset on an isolated island. At a distance they looked like hundreds of ‘fluttering scarlet butterflies’ – beautiful.
Pearl’s has a kitchen – poached eggs, hooray! Though I was absolutely starving whilst haring around the few sights that Port of Spain has to offer, and may have been a bit snappy with Keir….oops. The birds were amazing – beautiful colour – if a little quick and distant to capture on camera. Similar difficulties with the sleepy silky anteater, you will have to take my word for it.
Day 36 – Wed 13th
Up early again to catch the ferry to Güiria in Venezuela – more sea time…but no pay.
Tracey befriended an old lady (Elsa) next to us & her grandson (Javier) who was in Trinidad training to be a professional footballer – didn’t get to teach him any of my silky skills… his loss obviously!
Fortunately our new friends looked after us when we got to Venezuela & helped us change money & get a coach to Puerto La Cruz. All the info that Tracey had carefully gathered from a hundred & one different sources turned out to be incorrect- so a last minute call from a cheap telephone shop sorted out new accommodation for that night & cancelled the old one. Tracey’s Spanish was starting to pay dividends!
We bought Elsa & Javier lunch to thank them.
Arrived at 1 in the morning in Puerta la Cruz & quick taxi to our hotel – no wifi but a bed & shower… we both crashed out for what was left of the night.
In accordance with my new plan of befriending the locals, I met a lovely Venezolana lady called Elsa on the boat – amazingly kind and helped us massively, even lending us money to catch the bus – thanks Elsa & Javier!
Bloody bus got in 2 hours late though, and no internet at hotel :(, at least we didn’t have to break in…
Day 37 – Thu 14th
Changed from this most basic of hotels to Hotel Neptuno on the waterfront – bit better quality with at least decent WIFI. Nice breakfast & spent the day looking around & doing admin.
Fresh melon juice without added sugar? It seems that a rise type 2 diabetes is a common trend through South America and the Caribbean, I wonder why?
Day 38 – Fri 15th
Still trying to sort out trip to Angel Falls & accommodation but as this seems to be taking a while, we ended up doing a trip in the afternoon to Cumana & the Araya Peninsular in a Por Puesto (shared taxi – old 70’s Buick/ Chevy). Trip across & back was fun in a Tapaito – basically a long, thinboat with 4 ruddy great big engines strapped to the back – like a marine version of a rocket ship!
Saw the most expensive fort the Spanish built overlooking some salt flats –however, bit disappointing as we didn’t really have much time there due to the journey plus an overlong wait for lunch.
Looked quickly round Cumana & headed home.
Fun trip to Araya, Puerto la Cruz is not that interesting, involving small, multi-engined boats, jeep-style busetas, and a quick current dragged swim – these must count as new methods of transport !