Thursday, 14 August 2008

The Raging Bull

After an absolute mothertrucker of a journey I reached Colombia. I had connected in Maracaibo to get a local bus to the border. About 40 minutes from the crossing I was the only one left on the bus so the driver decided it wasn´t worth his while so he turfed me out in the middle of some absolute hole that stank of shite and petrol.

I then started to pile into one of the trucks that act as taxis with a rake of locals when the bloke in charged stopped me and said "No Gringo´s". After getting about two hours sleep the night before on the bus I was not a happy backpacker. I lost the plot at this slight and unleashed on the guy, initially in Spanish, then I just started abusing him in English! Probably not my finest hour but the guy just got up my shnoz. Dickwad.

Then after another half an hour of people refusing to pick me up or quoting me exorbitant prices I got collected by this couple in a cab. Yer one was a right wart of a woman and demanded cash up front. Another argument ensued, I told her she´d get her money when I arrived where I was supposed to arrive. After a few minutes more when I got my head together I realised that it wasn´t actually a taxi but just two punters with a car. Started to get a bix anxious about this. Most people emit positive vibes but these two fuckers certainly didn´t.

When we got to the exit point from Venezuela, I had to get out to pay my Hugo Chavez Departure Tax. As I was pretty pissed off and paranoid at this stage I decided to lug all my bags from the car with me contrary to the advice of the two assholes driving me. When I came back from paying the tax the fucking car was gone !! Thank fuck I took my bags and thank fuck I didn´t pay them. But now I had to walk the 2km to the Colombian entry point with my enormous backpack in the sweltering heat after which I had to queue for another hour to get in. I was like a demon at this point !

As I mentioned previously, I´d only gotten about two hours snooze on the bus. This is not unusual for me with bus travel in the developing world. Often for shorter journey´s I take the ´chicken bus´option. The ones with all the street trading grannies and where people bring all their worldly possessions on. So there´s as much a chance of you sitting next to a bag of radios as, lets say, a goat. They´re always good for a bit of humour.

But for the over night journeys you gotta go with the luxury coaches really. But even still there´s always a surprise in store for you. Often they flake the air-conditioning (another american obsession down here) up to Artic levels. Anyway, as I was just about to finally fall asleep at about six in the morning, they decided to lash on a dvd. Not the usual Steven Seagal batch but a live concert of this atrocious but widly famous Venezuelan singer. He was this big fat 25 year old dude with a bushy moustache, a Hawaiin shirt and a truly awful awful taste in music. If that wasnt bad enough, the tv speakers were right above my head, the volume was appallingly loud and the old woman next to me started singing along to all the songs.

When I finally arrive in Santa Marta in Colombia, with the plan that I´d be ready for a good saturday night out, the only thing I wanted was a bed and by 9pm I was out of the count. Yip, travelling ain´t always so rosy !!

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