The Venezuelan Diaries
We arrived a little travel weary and stomachs trembling for food. The tiny airstrip complete with thatch roof terminal extended to all of thirty feet. Taxes were paid, Bolivars exchanged and the local craft sellers were slaying tourists with sales of their rainbow coloured beads. A thirty minute journey to Tapuy Lodge was just the sort of transfer we were after. Idyllic little ‘hobit homes’ provided welcome air conditioning, sumptuous beds and a touch of luxury with a power shower. Our vista was across a beach fringed lagoon with a waterfall but this wasn’t quite the waterfall we were after. Angela, the lightly rotund indigenous Indian discussed possible trips over a fish lunch. We felt the sun’s growing heat warm the air around us. We sorted a guide to take us around the lagoon and then trek to some local waterfalls. Time seems to have forgotten its itinerary and is ointment for the soul.
Along with two Venezuelan families we around the lake in a curaria (dug out motorised canoe) and disembarked on a driftwood beach. As we followed Ruben, our guide through the forest, the curvaceous hiply shape of the women took its toll on their cardiovascular stamina. Panting and stopping to mop their brows and re-adjust their bikinis, I wondered whether we’d reach the waterfalls before dark. Thick vegetation and skinny paths led us to the crashing sound of water free falling.
The magnificence of a natural shower and the prospect of walking behind and through it left us giggling and marvelling. We stripped to our swimmers and followed Ruben as we carefully navigated our way across smooth and slippery stones, someone turned the tap even further and the torrent pounded our shoulders and rinsed away our travel weariness. We lingered and luxuriated for a while before finding some hot stones to dry off in the sun’s smile. Adventure continued as we scaled to the top of the falls and were amazed to find that the source of the power shower was little more than a wide stream creeping through boulders.
The river was at a low ebb as the rainy season had passed, allowing us to splash in its infant sized pools. Gazing across the landscape we saw predators soaring in the thermals entertaining themselves with their easy graceful manoeuvres. Our Venezuelan companions re-visited their childhood as they splashed in the rock pools. Ruben dutifully performed his tour guide role and snapped semi-enthusiastically with the armoury of cameras in their waterproof bags. Onwards to Sapo Salta, the next set of falls were reminiscent of a wide screen cinematic experience, wider higher, carrying even greater force. In single file we trod carefully, avoiding injury until we were confronted with a wall of water in front of us and swifts darting in and out of the vapour. The sun’s glow lighting the water in dirty yellow and amber. The solitude was broken by another group, who’s leader resembled a cross between Iggy Pop and Tarzan, sinewy, lean with dark long wild hair. He performed an act of sheer balls by clinging onto a rock in an almost foetal shape whilst a canon of water pummelled his back, one slip would have carried him down the cliff and into the washing machine cycle of thunderous water. We headed back as the sun dropped its head behind the mountains, glowing with adrenalin, our new found Venezuelan friends adopted us as their gringos and we obliged by appearing in their home video. That night we slept hard and fast.
Art immitating nature springs to mind! My advice, head out to Venezuela before the hordes get there!