A one-hour flight from Caracas brought us to Ciudad Bolivar, the second largest town in Venezuela; though a dwarf compared to Caracas, the sprawling megalopolis with its 5 million inhabitants. Though we couldn’t get a room in so very popular “Posada Don Carlos”, we definitely enjoyed “Posada de Angustura”, a bit pricier but VERY comfortable. Nevertheless we used Posada Don Carlos for socializing with other travelers and seeking advice in various matters. This is the best place to stay in the whole city, a tastefully decorated posada with simple but clean rooms. The big asset though is its courtyard, quiet and airy, no other place in town offers this kind of atmosphere. We came here every evening to have a beer, gossip with fellow travelers or write down our impressions.
Ciudad Boliva’s incredibly picturesque historic center reminded us a lot of Trinidad / Cuba with its colorfully painted houses and windows framed with decorative iron-work. Apart from its interesting centro historico, Ciudad Bolivar is also the hub to travel the Orinoco Delta, to Canaima & the Angels Falls and eventually to Grand Sabana & the Roraima Tepuis.
Miraculously Ciudad Bolivar is deserted at night and it is almost impossible to find a bite to eat or place to hang out. The lady living across Posada Don Carlos has detected that deficit and has started a little cook-out from her living room. The problem is that she does everything from scratch, so if a couple of starving tourists drop in, it takes quiet a while to produce the very dinner, which is of excellent quality and enough to feed an army. Those who like to enjoy a cold beer in the evening are faced with the same problem, the small shops are sold out by 08:00 pm and bars are hard to find. The one that was pointed out to us only opened after a knock. The owner would only allow those in who he identified as a tourist or somebody he knew. “Para seguridad”, he explained. We are a bit confused about this security issue because we simply cannot judge how serious it is. Almost all shops have heavily armed guards who look bored, but nevertheless …
Apart from the lack of restaurants & bars in the evening, those places usually play music at a sheer deafening volume and room temperatures are only a bit above freezing. This is also true for overnight buses, where tourists desperately wrap in sleeping bags and locals comfortably sleep away in short sleeves. During such a bus ride passengers, including children, get to watch the most violent videos imaginable. Así es la vida en Venezulal!
After two weekends in Venezuela we kind of figured out how the locals party. They take their cars down to the Paseo Malecon, bring along a huge speaker, hook it to the car’s stereo and turn it to maximum volume and drink beer and rum. Street vendor provide the food, children’s toys and more beer. Every bottle or can is dropped on the floor where it piles up with other rubbish. Never have we been to a country where waste collection / treatment or awareness for it simply doesn’t seem to exist.