Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Welding, Baseball, Coffee, Twisties and Diving. YES!!

The ingredients for just another day in Venezuela...
I was up early. I sat with my bike and made some coffee in the garage. I kept my promise to my bike and gave it some proper TLC. Oil fill up, adjust and spray the chain, a new Hiflo Airfilter (which I've been carrying along since California), tire pressure check and a general cleanup and check up. After the hard impact into the ditch on top of the hill in Canaima, another part of the old pannier frame, that has been on the bike for over 240.000 Km/150.000 Miles, had cracked. I needed some welding done today somewhere on my 260Km/160Miles drive to Mochima where I want to check out Venezuela under water. The road still leads through agricultural land but there are more and more settlements. If I am not mistaken it is Sunday today. Still a lot of businesses are open and men are working everywhere. I spot a few "soldaduras" and at the third one I stop and ask if they can help me. They say it is no problem and show me a spot where I can take apart my pannier frame. I look around at the work they are doing. It all looks really good. They are making "machines" to speed up the brick making process. A "patented" piece of equipment they joke. It should be! The traveler in me wants to discus the price before we start the job but it does not feel right. (I got charged a local's month salary when I needed some welding done back in Nepal while riding through the Himalayas. I don't mind paying more but don't rip me off!). They gave me a warm welcome and all came over to learn about this packed up mechanical mule that just rode in.

While we were welding away, one of their friends came by with his little daughter. She was so cute and loved sitting on the bike. I asked if she wanted one. Daddy replied jokingly that she would need dollars for that. I thought about it for a second and then gave her her first one dollar bill. It was just for fun and she thanked me for it. It was only when the men who had been working on my frame for 30 minutes charged me half of what I just gave to the girl that I felt bad. The welds were perfect, so I doubled the bill.

[​IMG] The scenery is "gradually" improving.
The road and the villages became smaller and smaller and the landscape got hillier and more beautiful. Mules and donkeys were abundant and nature took over where it could. I bought some local coffee from a couple that had a stand next to the road. We chatted for a bit and upon hearing that I was going to Mochima they gave me directions to their daughters house where I would be more than welcome. Oh the dangers of Venezuela...

[​IMG] The road winds through all the greenery! There is even stuff growing on the powerlines...
[​IMG] Free samples of their home grown and roasted coffee. Bough as much as I could fit on my bike. Such lovely people!
Road art.

Just down the road in a slightly bigger town there was a lot of activity around a baseball stadium. Since I had not seen a baseball game yet in all of my time in the USA I figured this might be an opportunity. The Stadium was loaded and the atmosphere was great. I walked to the cashier to check out the prices but some men who had seen me pull over with the bike came over and walked me right in as if I was some kind of celebrity. I was stunned to find out that the game at hand was a kids game but man could they play! USA: Behold your future generation of players!

[​IMG] The future Red Sox and Yankees. (sorry I don't know any other baseball clubs)
It was interesting to learn that baseball and modeling are some of the bigger export products of Venezuela and hence a chance to get out. I enjoyed the show for a while. When I went back to the bike the moms had gathered to check it out and two little kids were guarding the bike for me. It was such a warm town. I wish I could have stayed for a while.

[​IMG] Thanks for looking after the bike guys!
When the road turned to Mochima I got a nice overview of where I would be staying next. What a beautiful country. The road twisted its way down to the beach. At sea level, I found the cleanest town in Venezuela and the people took pride in keeping it that way. At the local dive shop I got another warm welcome by its Argentinian owners. The bike got parked inside and I was allowed to sleep next to it. That evening we went for a night dive. It was a great site with lots of life. Among many others, there was a creature that looked like a naked chicken without a head... No, you tell me what it is! Sorry no pics. The next day we dove along a wall with beautiful fans, corals and sea creatures. A Giant school of sardines topped it off. The diving was great and again almost for free...

Looking out over the bay of Mochima. Two days ago I was in the Sabanas and now this...


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