November 21, 2006
Roraima Trek Day 6
I woke up this morning to a spectacular sunrise. It got hot quickly, however, so I motored my way through the open grasslands back to Parapetui, the sun beating down on me the entire way. Normally the walk takes four hours, but I wanted to get out of the relentless sun so badly, I made it in two and a half.
The Frenchman showed up in his Land Rover early and we started driving back toward town. During the trek, one of the Guyanese guides had told us that he came to Venezuela back in the 80's when war over disputed land broke out between the two countries. We asked the Frenchman what he knew about the war because he was living in Ciudad Bolivar back then, but he redirected the conversation toward his own interests. He told us that we could stop for lunch in nearby San Fransisco because they had "cheap" restaurants where you could get a meal for "only" 12,000 bolivars ($6). That's more than you'd normally pay for an entire day's worth of food here, so of course all of us said that we weren't interested. Still, before we knew it, we were parked in front of a bunch of delicious-smelling chicken grilling outside on coals while the Frenchman did some more tinkering with his engine. When we firmly told him once again that we weren't interested in eating lunch, he took us back to our hotel, but it was obvious that he was just out to make a quick buck in the form of another kickback.
We got back to the hotel exhausted and smelly. I took a much-needed shower and opted to take my dirty clothes to be machine washed for $3. We're going to take a day off to get everything organized before heading off to Guyana for some more wilderness adventures.