Giuria, Backpacking South America By Bus
Eight Months On the Road
By David Rice
After the Venezuelan military inspector ended his search we got back on the bus and we headed for a peninsula that is not far from Trinidad. There we would get a ferry from the port of Giuria for the three-hour trip to Trinidad’s Port of Spain.
Along the way we had a breakdown and after several people looked at the motor and a few more climbed underneath, they determined, after two hours of discussion, that we had to change buses.
On the next bus, I took a seat beside a young woman and had a pleasant conversation as we rode through the tropical countryside. She had booked a room at a hostel near where she would get the boat to Trinidad and she invited me to spend the night at her place. She was from a small town in Venezuelan, she spoke broken English, and like me, was heading for Trinidad.
She offered me space for the night in her room and I took the offer.
There is a fraternity out there among backpackers. People get out on the road for a long time and they meet other backpackers who provide company. People just don’t want to be alone all the time. There is a camaraderie among the fraternity and shared pleasure and, at times, shared pain.
In some areas, security is at the top of the list so to hook up provides security and safety in numbers. Joining others also can be a money saver: rides in taxis, tours of ruins, rides on boats, all can be shared and result in savings.
Most backpackers you meet are going along the same route that you are and you know that somewhere down the road you will meet again. The backpacker grapevine is helpful too, providing conversation and good information. All people have to do is trust you; you gain their trust and you trust them; once trust is established, there is no telling what will happen.
Because of the search by the military and the bus breakdown, we arrived at her place at two in the morning and the manager said we had arrived too late, there were no rooms left. With no option, we headed back to town via the taxi, paying twice the price. We flopped in a posada located in a private home and woke early the next day to rain. We headed for the dock to book a boat for Trinidad.
Chaos surged around us as we fought the rabble in the ticket office trying to get a seat on the boat but we never got one. Soaked by the tropical rain we headed back to the hostel, we hoped for better luck in the morning.
The next morning the young woman and I arrived at the boat dock early but we were confronted again with a huge line. We took our place and settled in for a long wait.
When I saw the price schedule I realized that I needed more money so she held my place while I headed for the ATM. I left my pack at a house of the family where we had stayed and they said the would watch it.
I found the ATM but it would not dispense money so I went in the bank and presented ID and filled out papers. I paid a fee and did get money after a long wait and then headed to the house to get my pack. When I picked up the backpack, a ton roaches jumped out and scurried in all directions. Zillions of Palmetto bugs leaped from every compartment it seemed. I had to empty everything out to get rid of them.
By the time I got back to the dock the young woman was already aboard the boat and I had lost my space in line.
The other passengers and I complained and begged and demanded until they finally brought up a second boat, a local fishing boat. Twelve of us went aboard after the official checked us through immigration. As it turned out, with fewer passengers to check, we actually left for Trinidad before the first boat had left the dock.
After a three-hour trip across the bay, we arrived at Trinidad and entered a harbor full of luxury yachts. They shunted us to a dock further down the harbor away from the luxury marina and then they held us on the boat while we waited for Trinidad immigration inspectors.
It was ten hours before the official arrived and then he searched every suitcase so thoroughly that it took fourteen hours before I left the boat, a total of 17 hours on that miserable deck.
Giuria, Bus Backpacking In South America
Eight Months On the Road
By David Rice