This first week of the last chapter of my year certainly has had a rough start. Adjusting to Venezuela has been tough. Although Angel Falls and Canaima were great, getting there was rough. From being stranded at the bus station, bug bites, enormous flying cockroaches. To the low, but fast talking Spanish that I can't understand, and who can't understand me. All of these had me very near believing that "the universe", a "higher power", "fate", whatever, was trying to tell me to run or fly as would be the case back home as quickly as possible. Maybe even go back to the original plan of going to Slovakia. End the year off some where safe. Some place I know. With no surprises. Where I can just reflect on the year. To be honest had I been able to find a phone, internet or any way to call the airlines and change my flights. I probably would have done just that. Then again, if I had really wanted to I would have found a way. Fortunately, my motivation was lost and in case you don't know me I can be pretty stubborn, that along with my pride and my pocket book to think of, I hung on to the belief that things had to get better. Plus I wouldn't have very many more interesting blog posts if I just went to Slovakia and sat on a bridge.
Although, the bus ride from Ciudad Bolivar to Merida was awful. Remembering that last time I almost froze to death, I brought my sleeping bag on board. But wouldn't you know it the air conditioning didn't work. So instead of being a meat locker, it was a sauna. Okay, I was getting used to the heat…kind of. I can handle this. But then the Venezuelan music videos started and went on for hours. Stopping at 11p.m. and starting up again at 8a.m. Great! I totally understand why these Latin men keep saying things like, "Hola mi amor." or "Hole mi reina." "Hello my love." Hello my queen." They are brought up with this music thinking women want to hear this stuff. Maybe some of you do, but I think it is a load of huey. But I will leave my ideas about love for the Wanda Wonders section of the blog.
Anyway, I arrive in Barinas at 11:30a.m., 17.5 hours after the start. By the way Lonely Planet is wrong again. There is never a direct bus, you always have to change in Barinas. A man grabs my bag and we shuffle onto another bus for the last 5 hour journey to Merida. This last bus is the ricketiest thing I have ever travelled in and the breaks screech at ever turned. Regardless of all that, as I began to see the Andean mountains my spirits lift. And as I suspect or maybe just hope things will get better.
I even don't mind that I sit in bed writing this with a horrible cold. Will probably forgo any big hikes or biking this week because of it. Nevertheless, I am content to stare at the mountains and dream of the next time I come to conquer them. Yes, for although the taste Venezuela first left in my mouth was not great, the lingering after taste seem far more sweet.