A Travellerspoint blog

October 2006

SE Venezuela and NE Brazil

Hi everyone Im just jotting down the first email from my travels to let you
know what Ive been up to. So far Ive seen the Angels Falls, gone swimming
with pink dolphins and done a striptease to Ýou can leave you hat on´in
front of about 30 people. So yeah its been an eventful first month or so!
I flew into Caracas in Venezuela which is a fairy attractive city bordered
to the North by green hills and just 30 minutes away from the Caribbean.
Unfortunately my bag didn't come with me and I had an agonizing two days
waiting for it to turn up.
I stayed there a few days and then went to fulfill a childhood dream in
seeing the Angel Falls in the South East of the country. The falls are
genuinely in the middle of nowhere, despite being 983m high it wasn't even
discovered till the 1930´s and the trip to get there was pretty epic. An hr
and a half flight followed by a 4 hour boat ride followed by a 2 hour walk
through the jungle. Twas definitely worth it however as it is a truly
spectacular sight off a sheer cliffed, table shaped mountain called a Tepui.
Genuinely wasn't disappointed with the hype and a great way to start the

After Angel Falls I went and climbed another Tepui called Mount Roraima on
the Brazilian/Guyanan/Vennezuelan border. Conan Doyle based his novel the
Lost World on Roraima and it is easy to see why. A unique landscape at the
top with hundreds of endemic species of plants and animals make it a very
strange and somewhat eerie place to be. Odd shaped rocks contend with pink
beaches and beautiful pools for highlights of the summit but there was a lot
to see.
The trek took 6 days (inc 2 at the top) and involved a lot of enjoyable
walking through incredible scenery but the only downside was one of the guys
I did it with had to be pay 1300GBP to be airlifted off the summit after he
busted his knee. Ouch.

From Roraima I travelled with 3 Spaniards I met down into Brazil into the
´Paris of the tropics´, Manaus. It´s so called cos it has an Opera house and
is surprisingly cultural considering its location. Here we saw ´The meeting
of the waters´where the Amazon becomes one river and the Cafe Au Lait
colored Rion Solimoes runs side by side with black coffee colored Rio
Negro for 13km without mixing. Very strange to look at but beautiful too.
We went into the jungle for a few days and the highlights for me were def
swimming with the pink dolphins. They´re born black but a slightly acidic ph
in the water strips off the top layer of their skin so they become this
bizarre but glorious fleshy color. We also got to hold a sloth which is an
incredibly cute creature with a teddybear like face and was somewhat sad
when we had to leave to return to the city.

For 2 days I was on a boat up the Amazon towards the coast and can now say
that Ive taken a slow boat on the Yangtze, Nile and Amazon. The river
really is huge, up to 4 miles across, the other bank can at times be nothing
more than a green color on the horizon. I got on really well with the guy
on the hammock next to me and he v kindly invited me to stay with his family
in Santarem. I really enjoyed living with him for a few days and got to
happily drink beers and smoke cigarettes with very ordinary local
Brazilians. Ive found the people to be extremely friendly so far and very
hospitable to me, despite my very limited Portuguese (which is much harder
than Spanish).
They have a comical obsession with tele novellas (soap operas) for some
reason with stars being definitely more famous than musicians, films actors
and even the football players! My favorite is definitely Rebelde, a Mexican
soap set in a boarding school for the children of the rich and famous:

Finally I went to a beach resort on the Amazon (yeah its big enough to have
quite a few of them) and was camping on the deserted beach. I wondrously
found myself swimming naked under the stars in a warm laguna. So yeah I'm
pleased to be away.

From Santarem Im gonna get another boat up to a city called Macapa from
where I will endeavor to go into the Guianas which looks like I will be
going well and truly off the beaten track and so am excited if a touch
Anyway Ive realized Ive written shed loads but this is probably a gd sign of
how much I'm enjoying things (so sorry if I rambled on a bit!).
Let me know how your doing anyway and from Santarem,

Posted by carlswall 04:28 Comments (0)