Yes I know, but theres nothing wrong with a bit of cheese (unless its my feet your complaining about).
So I spent my last 2 weeks in South America on the beach. We decided that after the frantic pace of our travelling we deserved a bit of time to chill out before we went home. From Cuidad Bolivar we went to Santa Fe via Barcelona. We went to barcelona because we’d mistakenly got the idea it was a pretty city, but in fact it looked like it had fallen out the back of a giant cement mixer. So we left the next morning to go to the beach. The LP describes Santa Fe as a small ecotoursit resort that’s a bit of a gringo hangout. It managed to stop us for a week, we were going to move on but it offered everything we wanted - cheap living, nice sand, nice water, nice sun and brazillians to beat at football, yes we got stuck. Out only real activity that week was going on a boat trip to 3 beaches on 3 islands in the Parque Nacional Mochima.
The first beach allowed us to stop and chill for a couple of hours, and had some good snorkelling over the rocks that formed the sides of the bay. The anenamoes were of every colour in the rainbow, and the fish were brighlty coloured and a huge variety of shapes. Beach 2 was in fact a very shallow coral reef and offered better snorkeling than earlier, but coral is very sharp and I made a couple of incisions into my feet as I forgot to look where I was kicking, and drifting - oops! Beach 3 was very similar to Santa Fe so we just had a staring match with a passing iguana.
From Santa Fe we moved to Caracas which gave us all culture shock. Here we said goodbye to 2 of our group of 5. We wanted to find a bar to sit around and have a chat over a couple of beers, but we failed. Every builiding marked bar turned out to be a brothel - the more respectable the establishment looked from the outside, the less it actually was - wierd & very scary. The next day saw the strike/public holiday/weekend curse strike again and the 3 of us that were going to lurn to scuba dive on Los Roques had to sort out accomodation (a tent), food, flights and the course - well as it was a Saturday things weren’t too bad we managed to do almost everything, and meet an alcoholic english teacher who got pissed sitting at the back of the bus and then passed water into the beer bottels. Apparently the fact that he also split up with his girlfriend whilst sitting next to us had nothing to do with it - he had another and he knew it wouldn’t work he only wanted to show her what life was really like - hmmm… nice guy.
As we flew of the Archipelago Los Roques the next afternoon we realised that we’d made a brilliant decision as the islands shined white, the water inside the reef turquoise and a perfect blue outside we grinned like cheshire cats, the next week was going to be good. We pitched our Â£18, 4 man tent on the beach and went to try and sort out an open water diver course. We scored with our first stop, Ecobuzos. Fernando, our instructor struck a great deal with us, course, night dive and a days use of his underwater camera for $300, he asks for 350 for the course and we started there and then.
Its not an understatement to describe Los Roques as beautiful from the surface but its not a patch on water there is to see underwater stunning is the only word that comes close. I’d put you to sleep to go on about each dive individually but we saw more as we got more experience, and calmed down underwater. The higlights included seeing a globe fish - a ball of spikes with a face, a barracuda, a lobster; along with night diving and diving into a cave, oh and swimming through numerous shoals of fish.
Unfortunately that ended my trip, it was time for the last 3 of our group of 18 to split and we ended it in a suitable way, although none of us felt ourselves. We were much quieter and more reflective than normal, but thats only to be expected. As we left Los Roques on our last morning none of us said a word on the flight back, we all just stared back at the last 5 months of fun out of the plane window. Saying goodbye to Matt at Caracas as we joined the queues to board our planes all we could manage was a ‘right then, this is it, its been emotional, have a great time mate.’ It was really hard to stem back a flow of tears as we turnedour backs to each other. The excitement of actually going home didn’t return until I was halfway across the atlantic having watched matts plane take off on the depature’s board.
El Fin :(