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.
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
The road winds through all the greenery! There is even stuff growing on the powerlines...
Free samples of their home grown and roasted coffee. Bough as much as I could fit on my bike. Such lovely people!
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
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.
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
Looking out over the bay of Mochima. Two days ago I was in the Sabanas and now this...