South America April - June 2010, Eastern Europe 2009

For the sake of keeping all blog posts in one place, going to keep this Europe travel blog page rolling...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Hi! Only have a fewminutes but just want to say all is well. We are alive and made it through the Colombian border a few hours ago.

Venezuela was not cool, sketchy, expensive and dirty. My first glimpse into how it might be was on my flight to Toronto I met a guy, Alejandro, from Caracas, Venezuela who had been walking the streets of North Vancouvr and was so paranoid of being raped and or robbed, being from Caracas. I laughed at first at his story but then realy started to think about what we were getting ourselves into. Coming into Caracas was cool, all of the lights are blue (compared to our yellow), kind of a blur as we bombed it, 100 plus kms on the streets, to dowtown. Showing up at the hotel luckily we our can driver was awesome and really helped us navigate getting a room and not getting attacked by all the poor people on the street lurking outside the hotel.

Hotel was GHETTO for 70 bucks cad a night, but clean. At 5 am though someone either rattled or was shaking our door and there was voices in the halway. I thought we were for sure getting robbed. luckily we kept quiet and nothing else happened, except for Corey and I both couldn{t sleep for the rest of the night. By this time we were ready to get the hell out of Caracas and Venezuela for that matter. Money was especially annoying because our cards only worked at one bank (which we only found by going to the Canadian embassy) and because there is a double exchange rate. The bank is 3 to 1, the black market up to 6 to 1. We kind of messed up big time on how much we spent but figired it out by today.

Anyways last night waited 5 hours in the bus terminal to take a 10 and a half hour bus to Maracaibo, venezula, the point where many buses leave for Colombia. Getting to Maracaibo we decided to take a por puesto (shared taxi) across the border. The road to the border was sad, very poor. Once we approached the border it got sketchy, getting stopped probably 6 to 7 times to check our passports. they almost didnt let us in (well i am assuming they wanted us to bribe them) bcause we had entered by plane, and we were suppose to leave by plane??? Anyways some venezuelan girls that were in our cab bribed them later on to not check our baggage. Luckiluy we also had an australian women in our taxi who can speak decent spanish and could understand what was going on. Anyways after the 2 and half hour trip across the border, we got on a four hour bus to Santa Marta where erin and owen are staying (we are hoping to meet with them tongight).

Colombia is beautiful and cheap and near the water, love it already.

Anyways time is almost up but will tell more later.



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