I’m reposting visits to some of my favourite places, Venezuela was amazing and this money exchange was an interesting experience, it was the last country of the South American part of my trip. I was on a 105 day trip to visit the countries still on my ‘want to do’ list, (this is where the name of this blog comes from see ‘105 days’ from the menu for more about this). It was a very busy trip, visiting 14 countries, I wrote about every day of the trip and recorded the number of flights; modes of transport, as they were quite diverse; hotel stays; etc. I took these photos on a very cheap smart phone, so the quality is not always great.
Day 60 June 2016
Countries 8 Hotels 28 Cars 38
Flights 15:flying time 54.34 hours
Rickshaws 4 Buses 8 Elephant 1 Boat 3
Cog-wheel train 2 Cable cars 6 Subway 4 Ferry 2
Minibus 34 Coach 2 Catamaran 1 Funicular 3
Pick up truck 1 Land Cruiser 8 Hydrofoil 4
Llama 1 Cycle Taxi 1 Train 3 Motorised Canoe 9
Flew to Caracas airport today in Venezuela, the flight was packed, I was stuck in the middle of a large family with lots of children, nice. We landed early but it took over an hour to get my luggage, and then I had to put it through a baggage scanner, which had a huge queue. My first experience of Venezuela wasn’t what I was expecting, all the airport shops shelves were full of goods, chocolate, alcohol, gifts etc. etc. I expected to see empty shelves. Also I have had to complete an immigration form for all the other South American countries I’ve been too, here no, just a form asking me what new goods I was bringing in to the country, I just got my passport stamped and waved on.
I was met by a lovey women called Audrey, who took me to my hotel, on the way she was giving me advice about my future flights and perhaps not to take my case to Los Roques, next week, because while I might get it there it might not come back on the same plane as me! So will be packing my rucksack for that. As we got to the hotel she stopped and started telling me about the exchange rates. I had been advised by Audley to exchange money with my guide as I will get a better rate on the ‘grey market’. I had forgotten about changing money until Audrey started telling me about it, She had brought $50 dollars worth of bolivares for me, and she started handing me wads of cash, 35,000 bolivares!
I can only take 10 kilos on the flight to Los Roques and half of this is going be wads of cash! The seedy money exchange over with I checked into my hotel, which is a delight, thank goodness, as I am holed up here till Audrey returns tomorrow to take me to the domestic airport for my flight to Barinas. I’m back here for two more nights in between each flight as they are so erratic here I can’t take the risk of expecting my flights to be on time.
I have a great view of the ocean from my room, there is a fab pool which I will be making use of and the restaurant was a delight. Cocktails and quite an extensive menu, I had fish, it was very good, as was the caipirinha. Paying was a hoot, I got my first wad of cash out and said there’s 10,000 there, they have a counting machine, so the waiter takes it over to get counted while I count out another 3,500, and then some more for a tip, hilarious. So my first impression is I am liking Venezuela very much.