Saturday, October 24, 2015

There's No Candy-Coating Reality

After a refreshing and beautiful morning dive it was time to hit the road again. As I am riding up the mountain, Mochima is getting smaller and smaller in my mirror. What a beautiful area. Via Barcelona I ride along the coast towards Caracas. There is a lot of industry along the way. It is sad to see in this dry but beautiful region. I want to bypass Caracas at all costs. I have not heard anything good about that place.
At Caucagua I get off the main road and turn inland, onto a great road loaded with twisties. I am surprised by how high the road climbs. I take even smaller roads through Santa Teresa and in Cua I get back to the main road. It's nice to break up the highway miles. At Maracay, I turn off for Puerto Colombia. On the map the road already looked promising but I wasn't expecting this: there is not one straight stretch of road as I ride up the mountain.

[​IMG] Another road for the bucket list for those who love twisties!
[​IMG] Now imagine an old, big school bus coming around the corner... And breath in the fumes! :)
[​IMG] Loving the road... not seeing the clouds up ahead.
I look at the map and I am excited about the roads to come. Seconds later, I ride into the clouds. The kind of clouds in which you get soaking wet. Ugh. The road gets slippery and there is a lot of traffic coming from the coast. Lots of cars and motorcycles but also buses that need to back up a couple of times in order to negotiate each hairpin curve. Everyone is coming back from a weekend at the beach and this absolutely stunning road turned into a nightmare. I am hoping that the weather will clear on the other side but it rains all the way down and what's worse, it is getting dark.After crawling down the long road I arrive in a colorful colonial town, but the darkness makes it a bit creepy. I ride around in search of a place to stay. Many places are closed and others don't have any safe parking for the bike. I end up staying in a fancy hotel for about $10. Not my style but I would rather be safe than sorry.

[​IMG] I had to splurge for one day. Camping on the side of the road was simply not possible along the road into town.
In the morning I walk around town. It's a relaxed fishering village that gets bombarded with tourists on the weekend. The area is known for its exquisite chocolate which I have a hard time finding. Like everything else in this country, there is nothing left.

[​IMG] The very well guarded "harbor" of Puerto Colombia.

[​IMG] Venezuela is such a colorful country.
[​IMG] Did I mention colorful... The colonial center of Puerto Colombia.
After a few hours of running around I decide to get the show on the road. And what a show it is. The weather is perfect today and I am like a kid on a playground.

[​IMG] On the way down I met our friends from UPACHALUPA with their 4x4 running on old cooking oil. Yes that's right, sunflower and olive oil! (check the oil filter on the back of the truck. We met them on the ferry from Panama to Colombia. We exchanged some info while we held up traffic and got on our ways again.
In the town of Maracay I stop at a shop. I accidentally leave my helmet on the bike for a minute (I never do this). I am not even through the door when a guy comes after me to tell me I can't do that and that it will be gone in no time. He says I should not even park here because they will come and steal my bike. Wow. I take my stuff inside and enjoy talking to the owner of the shop. Outside again, a lady comes over and spills her anger with the government. She is very educated and nice but very frustrated. People really are at wits end here and anyone who seems to want to change the situation is getting locked up. Something tells me change is near. It is the same frustration that I saw in the Iranian people. They wanted change too but it's a long hard road. With pain in my heart, I get on the bike again. These people deserve so much better.

I manage to find a chocolate museum before I continue on to Chichiriviche, known for flamingos and white sand islands.

[​IMG] This man taught me everything there is to know about chocolate!
[​IMG] Had to make a selfie with my mate Chavez!
The road is boring and by the time I get to town I am exhausted. Posada Alamania was recommended to me by Upachulupa........... but nobody seems to know where it is. I ride all over town and ask again. A nice couple offers to show me the way and before long a German lady welcomes me in. The Posada is very spacious and comes with a pool and a nice guard dog. I feel at home right away. The town itself is deserted. There are tours to the islands but I am not tempted to go.

[​IMG] Real Flamingos... Finally!
The next day I do my laundry and start riding to Coro, A Unesco World Heritage town with sand dunes to the North of it. Although there are many small towns and army checkpoints I am making progress and I am looking forward to spending the afternoon checking out the first Spanish settlement........ Another army check point. "Where are you going and where did you come from"? I still mix these questions up in Spanish. The wrong way round answer is always greeted with laughter by the heavily armed soldiers. As long as it gets me through... I pick up speed again. A few nice long curves, one right after another. What a joy...

I open my eyes for a split second. I'm sliding on my chest. I quickly close my eyes again...

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