Published: August 5th 2010July 9th 2010
Today I began to understand the term "prickly heat" - the sun was so strong it felt as if hundreds of hot needles were prickling my arms and back. We got in our 3rd six seater plan to travel back to Ciudad Bolivar, expecting our agency rep to be awaiting us at the airport. Naive. No-one was there to meet us and our luggage was locked up in one of the offices. So we sat ourselves on the floor outside the office until someone was called to let us in.
We had a few hours spare time in the bus station before our first of two nights buses to Brazil. We were told the journey across the border to Boa Vista would take 15 hours, but of course it was longer - 19. It was somewhat of a sleepless night, despite the comfiest seats we've experienced, as the police stopped us 4 times for passport checks and once to offload us and do a thorough bag search. Somehow the sterile syringes in Chris's hand luggage (in case of needing hospital treatment) went unnoticed, despite being outside of the first aid kit. They also forgot to search my bags, after entering into a bizarre conversation with me, during which I thought they were asking me to add them on facebook! My Spanish wasn't really 100% at the time as it was midnight and I was still waking up. That said, when uniformed men march onto your bus with massive guns, you wake up pretty quickly. All the guns in South America seem a little oversized for their purpose - police in parks carry shotguns and those patrolling the streets carry uzis or rifles. Shops, hotels, pharmacies and even fast food chains (in the northern countries at least) all have their own security guard, with a pistol too. Imagine that when you're next having a KFC!