Day 13: Sorry, We’re Closed!

13.01.09: Woke up in Mario's house. His family had been so accommodating, taking in a big ginger stray like me for the night and looking after me on my trip through Venezuela. I can't thank them enough. I headed back to the bus terminal and jumped on the first bus to Santa Elena on the border with Brazil. Oh, you might be looking at the map and wondering why I can't just enter Guyana from Venezuela. I wondered that too. Well, that would be because Venezuela for some god-only-known reason thinks that it owns Guyana. Yep - it's marked on maps and ‘Land to be reclaimed'! Never mind that it has been a British colony since 1796 (before then it was Dutch and before then Arawak - the native people of the land). Never mind that it has never been Venezuelan, ever, or that it's people…

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Day 12: The Jenga Piece

12.01.09: WOKE UP to the DEAFENING SOUND of a pirate copy of ‘Death Race' being played on the bus at MAXIMUM VOLUME. This continued until Jason Stratham got sacked from his job as a steel worker and then, inexplicably, the televisions turned themselves off. Maybe that's what passes for an alarm clock on a Venezuelan bus. So rudely awoken from my slumber, I realised we were passing through Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. Oh dear. Oh deary, deary me. One day the town planners of the 60s and 70s will be hunted down like Nazi war criminals and made to pay for their crimes. Yep - you guessed it - all the old colonial buildings were razed to the ground in the decades that taste forgot and, in their stead, guess what dreaming palaces were built... A teardrop on the face of eternity? No - ugly…

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Day 11: My Guardian Angels

11.01.09: Got to Bogotá yesterday, but there was barely enough time to pull my undies out of my backside before I was bang! on another overnight bus heading up to the border with Venezuela. For some reason, Colombian buses must be kept at a constant -5 degrees C at all times, so I was forced to wear pretty much all the clothing I own and my sleeping bag. But that's the way they like it. We were roused from our collective slumbers at about 7am for some breakfast on top of a mountain. And I thought the bus was cold...! Luckily, the driver kept us all locked out of the coach for half an hour so we all got to experience the full freezing coldness of an Andean mountain on an early Sunday morning. What is this with countries near the equator being cold? I don't…

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