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Published: August 22nd 2006
Here evereything began
Well, not exactly: I've been a cyclist since I was 6 years old, and have used bike both as a vehicle and for sport & travel ever since then.
But Venezuela was the very moment when I understood that from then and on I was gonna travel abroad only by bike. It happened after I noticed that though the places I saw during my 2 weeks of cycling in Venezuela weren't the most beautiful I had seen in South America, the strongest experience came from the cycling days.
Danny Rup signing in the bureau
The sign at the entry of the little village Piniango, at the Venezuelan Ands (see picture below), tells some fact about the village: 3000 habitants (a wild exaggeration, in my opinion; or maybe they counted also the cows); 2320 meters above sea level; 16.5 Celsius degrees. At such a place, Danny Rup (the most famous Israelien weather reporter) would have need to "sign in the bureau" (the Hebrew expression for being unemployed). Short appologize for the non-Hebrew readers
I'm sorry. Usually it's almost impossible to translate the many Hebrew terms I use at my blog. No solution for that yet (any suggestions?).
16.5 Celsius degreesPiniango
See entry \"Danny Rup at the employment bureau\"
After borrowing bike in Merida, I started my Ands tour. At the first day I climbed from Merida, at 1600m height, up to a mountain of 3100m high. Then came my first ever cycling overnight trip. It was 10 years ago, and I still remember very well the amazing feeling of the first time in my life of waking up in a cheap family hotel, and seeing the bike standing next to my bad.
After letting myself a few days for becoming trained to riding in the heights, I took bus to the pass Pico El Agila, at 4000m high, climbed to a nearby top of 4200m high, and rode down to Piniango, via the strange heights' landscape.
BTW, from moral reasons, I very rarely do such a thing - use the bus for most of the uphill, and then ride the downhill. A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. I don't believe in free lunchs and in shortcuts in life in general, and especially not when it comes to cycling.
Bike, snorkel and a hammock
In Peninsula Paria I bought a cheap bike, a snorkel and a hammock, and spent my last 8 days in Venezuela
at the Caribean beaches. I spent the days by climbing the fucking steep hills between the villages by morning, swimming in the sea by noon, watching the amazing sunsets by afternoon, and sleeping, sometimes on my hammock, by night. One item remained unused: the snorkel: the beaches were amazing, but I hadn't seen there anything interesting below the water. Tie me up, tie me down
For security I bought a very long rope for my hammock, and tied to it either my bike and my bag, so that anyone who touches them will make me move and wake up immediately. This very basic trick was surely enough for this region, about which the most frightening warning in the guidebook was: don't tie your hammock under a coconut tree, as the meeting between a falling coconut and your head may be quite unpleasant. "Tie me up, tie me down" is one of Almodovar's excellent films; to Hebrew it was translated "KSHOR OTI, EHOV OTI".
Ray Charles and me
According to the legend, Ray Charles was used to insist being payed by bills of 1$, so that he can be sure that no one takes advantage of his blindness for cheating
him; when he counted the bills, he could be sure he was given AT LEAST the number of bills that he counted.
Being a tourist in Venezuella made me feel a bit the same. Once in a few weeks I was used to withdraw some 300$. I always got the money by bills of 500 Bolivars (exactly 1$) - I don't know whether Venezuella had then a higher-value bill at all.
Counting by 300 is a hard task for everyone, and surely for a deffect mathematician like me. Thus, I was used to count some 150 bills, and then compare the bundles of bills in my two hands, for verifying that they are "more or less" at about the same altitude. Listen to what this brave woman has to say
And, the usual staff
(for Hebrew readers). Travel date: Apr/1998
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