Published: November 22nd 2009September 7th 2009
My last day in Venezuela I awoke happy because I was in a comfortable bed, the sun was rising, and I could hear the birds singing outside. The sadness and pain of realising I had said goodbye to my new dear friends, not knowing when I would see them again, wouldn’t hit me until just a little later.
The first thing I saw when I got up was a pink piece of toilet paper on my floor. It was a note from my Maracaibo boys, saying “take care my friend, hopefully we’ll see you soon. Have an amazing life experience!! Antonio and Carlos, and then their emails. It filled my heart with gladness that they had thought of me one more moment before they left. I would really miss those guys...
I got up and ate my left over pizza from yesterday. Thank god I saved it cause I was starving and realized that I only had enough money left to get me to the border and maybe a coffee if I was lucky.
I had a whole morning to kill but kind of wanted to leave right away cause the pain of loneliness, of missing my new family,
was starting to sink in and I just wanted to get the f out of dodge, but I had to stall cause I had told the others that I would stay till mid day in case they wanted to visit.
I finished packing my things and with a lonely heart I went to search for a taxi to get to the boarder, which in itself proved a chanllenge. Eventually I split a taxi to the boarder for about two bucks. The VZ custom guy was nice, despite his flattering comments. “Tu eres bella, bonita. Viajas sola? Espero que mi proxima novia parecera tu, tan bonita.”
I had to walk about 400 m to the Brazilian customs and they were also pleasant (as always) and then I walked into Brazil. I didn’t walk more than 30 m before a taxi guy asked if I was heading to Boa Vista. How much? 20 Reals (10 bucks). I’m in. SO I go in the car along with a little girl, her brother, and possibly their mother. The three hour trip was almost nice except the driver was blasting his Pagode music to such a volume that my ears physically tensed and
ached. But this was my life, the life of a traveller and I just had to sit and make due. Apart from the absurd volume I enjoyed the experience as I felt Brazil seaping back into me. The familiar sounds and smells, even their soaps and parfums made me feel like I was coming home, and so the loneliness and sadness didn’t seem so bad anymore. I was going home.
As we approached Boa Vista the driver asked me where I was going (back to Portuguese mode, my GOD!!!). I had my surfers address, Tobias. After a lot of circles and questioning we found the house but no one was home. Shit! The driver tried all the phone number I had twice and nothing.... Shit! I couldn’t just stay on the street. I wasn’t even sure if Tobias knew I was coming exactly today- what if he never showed? What if this wasn’t his house?? What was I to do? I wasn’t worried but a little concerned wondering if the driver’s patience would run out, but these were Brazilian’s they wouldn’t leave me stranded.
Luckily I had one more phone number on me. Kacio, another couchsurfer who said I
could stay at his place earlier but with whom I never actually made plans with. I called and YES, he was there! Kacio, fala ingles?? Sim? Great! I’m stuck in Boa Vista, can I come over?? Where are you? Let me talk to the driver. Within 10 minutes the driver dropped me at Kacio’s house. Thank god. Kacio seemed nice but was busy, he showed me to his room and told me to make myself at home while he continued to tutor his student.
So after a lot of commotion I was finally ok again. Wow. How did I get here? I was so lucky I took a nice taxi and not the bus or I would be wandering the streets with all my luggage looking for a house that was empty...
But such is my trip. Boa sorte, good luck and good wishes. Thanks Lyly for your good vibes, I made it safe again.
So later that night Kacio would give me a miny tour of the small city (population 200, 000), and Tobias would join us for a beer on the only pier in town, a lovely place that overlooked the large streaming
river. The next day I did nothing much except catch up on my writing because Kacio went to work in the morning and never come home for lunch as he said he would (he ended up having to work all day and night). Luckily his grandmother fed me and then Tobias came by around 4 pm to rescue me. He took me to meet his family at his house, his mom, two sisters (Di and Lice), and their sons, baby Murillio and 10 year-old Luciano. Both his sisters were super nice and warm, one studying tourism, the other a systems analyst. Baby Murillio was 2 years old and the absolute perfect baby, soooo adorable, and Luciano was a really generous good natured boy that always put the Simpson on in English for me.
Later that night Di would take me to meet more of the family. We went to her aunts house and I met all 15 kids that were living with her, mostly grand children who’s parents were living in other places with their new children. Not sure why, but in every house I had visited in Boa Vista, people were living with their grandparents more often than
their parents, and there were plenty of children to go around. Di’s aunt was a super, super, nice women, and she gave me a full tour of her house and all the babies sleeping in the numerous rooms- it resembled kind of like an orphanage. Anyways, I would later help set up a fax machine for her uncle and then come back exhausted and ready to sleep in my room at Kacio’s house. I really liked that room, cause it was located high above the rest of the house like an apartment and it was totally open, the door didn’t even lock (well I could have locked it if I really wanted to). I liked sleeping in it cause it was like I was sleeping outside and the strong hot night breeze would flow through until I was awakened by the sunrise.
However, the next day I moved to Tobias house, where I slept in a very nice room, but it was all closed off and dark with air conditioning. However, I couldn’t complain, Tobias and his family lived in a beautiful large home, completed tiled and finished, with no bricks showing or holes, and nice furniture, and implacably
clean (they also had a maid and nanny). The only thing I didn’t like is how they locked there house, every second of the day, making it difficult to step outside. (In Brazil house lock from inside and outside, meaning you need a key even to exit through the bars- most houses are open but bared- like pretty jails.) Tobias’ house was extra secure cause despite the locks, each of the doors were also pad locked in addition...
however, these security measures were largely unnecessary, as Boa Vista was a really safe calm town- as I said I slept in the open at Kacio’s, all left my gear all day unlocked in the open, no problems.
I did forget to mention that everybody also had killer attack dogs. The vicious dog at Kacio’s wasn’t too scary, but they would bar the stairway to my tower (where my room was), and then let the dog loose. It was funny cause I couldn’t leave the tower unless I got someone to take the dog... Strange but true- but you get use to it.
At Tobias’s house there was a killer Rottweiler that really wanted me dead, but he was
locked in the back and didn’t pose much of a problem for me.
So over the next couple days, I would spend most of my time trying to catch up on my mountain of emails (with incredibly slow internet), and I took up jogging 15 km every second day, alternating with yoga and other stuff. But after a 3 hour hike in the forest I screwed up my knees so sadly I have to take a rest- Why is my body soooo old!!!
Tobias family was really nice, and Tobias was especially delightful but he did mostly keep to himself giving me way more alone time than I was use to.
For my birthday his family was so cute- they spent a great deal of money on buying me the MOST delicious cakes, deserts, pizza, and treats, and they had a little party for me- a few friends came and then Tobias and I went out to a bar to watch a live band. It was really sweet. However, the day was not totally perfect. I did jog 15 k that morning which was nice but then I spent most of the day hungry waiting for my
party, and even though everybody was so nice to me I couldn’t help but miss my VZ friends...
The next day was Friday and Tobias took me out to a cool night club with a live band downstairs and another “dance room” upstairs. It was fun and we danced the night away- and it was funny when his friend kept hitting on me and hounding me like a dog, until finally Tobias had to pretend we were together and dance our way off- but his friend was really pushy- it was funny. That night Tobias let me drive his truck home!! Wow, was it every crazy- why do people only let me drive standard after I’ve been drinking?? This was the fourth country that its happened... Anyways, it was really fun, cause his truck was kind of like an old tractor jeep and shifting gears was way cool!! Driving in the roundabout of the moderly designed city with no traffic lights was a dream, and I had a lot of fun! Thanks Tobias.
The next morning when I awoke I met Songwoo, another CS (couch surfer) Tobias received! Yay!! Songwoo, was a Korean, and it was refreshing to finally speak English after almost a week of pure Portuguese (except for the odd Spanish word, especially when I was tired). Us and the whole family went to visit Tobias’ grandmother’s house. It was awesome!!! His grandmother had a huge amount of property in the country. It was a farm with chickens and pigs and a beautiful river. The house had such a calm feel and this really cool hammock place to relax. The river was also magical. It seemed shallow but was incredibly deep despite just being a few meters wide. It was so deep, I don’t even know where the bottom and it was boardered by large palm trees whose roots made up the banks of the river. It was terrific and refreshing swimming down the warm mystical pool.
After a giant lunch with all the aunts, uncles, cousins, babies and kids running around, a large group of us clambered up in the back of Tobias’ pick up truck as we ripped across the wild fields for 20 minutes to the nearby jungle forest where we would hike for 45 minutes to get to the large open river bordered by beautiful beach. We had another refreshing swim, exchanged laughs, and played silly games. When we returned we had another swim in the other river, and then drove back to Boa Vista after night fall. It was a terrific day, but not over. We would eat and drink the night away with Capereina’s (Tobias makes the best!!), and than chat into the wee hours of the morning.
The next day, Sunday, was interesting. We went out for a big tasty family lunch, and then in the evening we went to the gay pride parade! Lol. Songwoo was surprised at the immense colourful parade packed with tranies, being in such a small, reserved town. -well maybe not so reserved after all...
But nothing much surprised me anymore- after all, half the surfers I had met in Brazil had been gay and so are many of my friends (I just don’t post that info). Anyways after the parade Tobias dropped me off at a bar to meet Kacio (my first host in Boa Vista). I grabbed a couple beer with Kacio and his friends and then we went off to the craziest gay party ever. The night was filled with.... well typical gay stuff, hot steam, smoke, sweat, music, beer, and lots of nakedness. So many people rubbed up against me and acted strangely I honestly lost my ability to distinguish who was gay or straight anymore... Was everybody bisexual??? The night was extreamely interesting. The first stip show was this GIANT 7 ft hottie dressed up like a roman soldier. It was quite the performance!! Honestly, this man looked like a giant sculpted statue! He was one foot taller than the entire crowd if not more, and.... well wow. He did his typical little stripper dance on a square carpet on the floor and we (the crowd) were all around the carpet. I was one of the person in the front, and my friends kept shoving me trying to get me to get in there with him, but of course I didn’t. But then all of a sudden he took notice of me and started dancing up to me and touching me etc. Everybody screamed, GRAB him!! Grab him Vivi!! But i could’t. This dude may have been hot but he was probably gay and a stipper, and why the hell was i going to grab him- I prefer to grab men I’m interested in. He danced up with others including men, but he came back to me like 3 or 4 times, maybe cause I was the only one who wouldn’t touch him.
Then the cat woman stipped. WOW. This chick, was HOT. And no, I’m not gay, but she was gorgeous, and what a body! She got absolutely naked, and then the giant hottie came back and the two of them danced in highly inappropriate ways. Those were the most interesting shows, the rest were same old same old. But the strangest experience of the night was the chick that was coming on to me all night. One of Kacio’s friends. At first I thought her firm grabs of my hips were just friendly hellos, but then it was my ass, and then she would grind up against me... ok maybe she was just drunk or having fun??... no, at the end of the night she pulled my hand as we were walking out and tried to kiss me- but she missed. Hahaha. I conveniently turned her attempt into a friendly kiss on the cheak, but when she tried two more times- I think it was pretty clear she was into me!! That was the first time a girl actually was really into to me- well, that I know of anyways. It was totally funny and strange- and I’m pretty sure she knew I wasn’t gay, but I wasn’t quite sure how to let her down- I mean I had only practised with guys...
Well safe to say I went home alone. Lol. Interesting night...
The next day I slept and got my stuff together, and Songwoo, me and the family made one more trip to the tasty coffee shop for chicken cake (yes chicken cake) and chocolate shakes before I had to say goodbye. It was time for me to go.
When we got home it was only 2 hour before my overnight bus to Manaus, and I had to pack.
As, I packed I became really excited. I was so looking forward to meeting my next cs host. I can’t explain it, but it like opening a Christmas present- you don’t know what you’ll find inside but it usually wonderful, and sometimes something what you always wanted but never knew.
However, I (again) undestimated the pain of leaving my new friends. Tobias’s family were just so tremendous to me, such beautiful people. Really, really decent, good-natured, kind, gentle, and fun
-And Tobias, he himself was... well I’m not sure how to explain. Just looking at him was enough to make me smile, a person filled with a happy, child-like sunshine, that made his spirit adorable. Best of all he pulled the laughtner and fun out of me, and made it easy to spill giggles and smiles. We exchanged so many jokes and I giggled all the way into the bus. Him and Songwoo saw me off and I was delighted when they smashed something along side of the bus to get my attention. They stood under my window making crying gestures and blowing kisses until my bus pulled away. I on the other hand made a sign -that said “tira ropas” (my favorite saying), Hahaha - and no, I won’t translate it, but only will say they did and I laughed my ass off.
As the bus pulled away my heart ached a little... It was so tough to say goodbye. A couchsurfers plight...
CS hosts are especially cute. Tobias was not the first host to tell me they had to take a break from hosting cause the family would cry too much when their guests would leave. It’s really true, they cry, we cry, everybody cries when you say goodbye- and why is it so easy to love couchsurfers ... I’m not quite sure but its a documented fact. Its difficult to explain this phenomenon to non-csers and the rest of you will probably think it sounds crazy, but the affection that develops between us is tremendous, and so is the sorrow of goodbye. But I hope in my case its not so much goodbye as see you later.
I’m just so lucky, so blessed to have all these great people in my life now. Thanks guys.
PS. Still miss my Venezuelan friends (you know who you are- wish we could be together now).
Maybe you were right Lyly about me marrying the world... See you soon.
I think my journey is different then other people because its become more about the people and love than the places i see. More about life than kilometres.