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I Survived Venezuela And All You Got Was This Stupid Blog!


View Travel 2016 on WrightA's travel map.

[Again, looks as though my pictures won't upload, so please check out my Facebook for lots of shots of me looking stupid at waterfalls, or animals looking awesome!]

Hopefully I can think of a title that I, if nobody else, finds amusing. But for now, I'll leave it as the country.
Edit: it was simply "Venezuela" (which in hindsight was better) but I'm sticking to making an arse of myself (why break habits a lifetime made?) so you now have this title!

So, Venezuela. To say I was a wee bit nervous was an understatement. Everyone I have met since travelling who I told I was going just pulled a face as if to say "well, at least I don't have to add you to Facebook now".

And maybe not without reason...

Venezuela certainly has a fierce reputation. Even before I had left, friends from the Isle of Man and beyond were warning me not to go. Tales of stabbings and burnings and stonings against white-tourists were pretty grim to hear. Then I received cautiously worded emails from tour companies as well as local experts not to go. It's not too bad, so long as you avoid Caracas. Wear are you flying to? Caracas? Ah, well, erm, I won't bother to add you to Facebook then.

Even to ignore that (which I obviously did), the political and economic climate is dire. There are currently 3 exchange rates for Venezuela. Which can make your time here one of the most expensive places in the world (no exaggeration) or one of the cheapest.

The DIPRO - effectively the credit card, or trade, exchange is 6 bolivars to the dollar. You must avoid paying for anything on your card or exchanging at this rate (though you're not likely to be offered this to be fair, unless you pay by card) unless you want to spend about $160 on a ham and cheese sandwich.

The DICOM - the other rate is for everything else, so the "official" tourist exchange rate, which is about 200 bolivars to the dollar. Which is far more preferable - if you can get it! The trouble is most places you can exchange money won't give you this rate. They're more likely to give you 13 bolivars to the dollar.

Then there's the third exchange - the black market exchange rate. This works anywhere from 700 to 950 bolivars to the dollar, depending on how you can haggle and how dangerous the people you're exchanging with look.

So you can see that the country is a little unstable. And that's without the protests and food riots in the city centre.

But I was to be alright! I was getting picked up at the airport by a tour guide who was going to make sure I was guided through all problems without, well, a problem!

Except he didn't turn up.

It's no problem. Don't panic. Nothing to worry about. I will simply call him.

Except my phone doesn't work in Venezuela.

No problem. Still no need to panic. I'll use the information desk's phone. After a lengthy conversation from a man who spoke little Spanish with a man who spoke no English, he allowed me to use his mobile.

Except when I rang my guide a woman picked up and yelled at me in Spanish. I was starting to panic but I calmly rang again. If she wasn't pleased with the first call, the woman was apoplectic with the second. Wrong number, I assume.

So I walked around blindly for about 10 minutes, found a cafe, stole their wifi without buying anything (because I hadn't exchanged money yet) and emailed the tour guide. He had forgotten me!

Still, by the time he arrived 30 minutes later, we had a good larf about it (I honestly wasn't nervous or anything, the fucking...) until I realised that his speedometer didn't work. All I knew about his speed was: fast.

A night in the hotel in Caracas was fine enough. I was stopped by the police and searched for something (I didn't understand) but the guide helped me through it. Later when I was searching for a cafe or restaurant I was stopped by some local ne'erdowells. I'm not quite sure what they wanted, as I couldn't follow, but I guess they weren't curious about my life story. Thankfully one of the hotel staff (an old woman, no less) came to my rescue and all was rosy. I even met a Norweigen dude who had the build and bushy red beard from a Game of Thrones extra. He had been cycling through all the countries in South America over the last 4 months. Only a couple more to go! I also met a Slovakian photographer who spoke perfect Spanish but little English. He showed me some epic photos of the Orinoco Delta and Angel Falls that left me salivating in excitement!

Thankfully, Orinoco beckoned the next day. And in 4 easy steps I was there - 30 minute drive, 1 hour flight, 3 hour drive, 30 minute boat!

I stayed at this jungle camp, literally built into the delta. There is no electricity, no generator, no running water. Just you, the jungle, the wildlife, the fucking bugs!! and thankfully a mosquito net. It was truly amazing. Your hut is completely open at the back to the deltas and jingles. Warm and sweaty but amazing. At night, fireflies dance about your bed, little flashes of light that you can see for a moment but never follow.

I had two days and a night with these tribes who spend their who life on he delta. Had a couple of treks through the jungles with a machete and was shown the many different plants and trees and what they're used for. Which for building, which for weaving, which for medicine. I mean, I forgot it all nearly instantly as soon as my hand went into the termite nest, but it was bloody interesting at the time!

I had several boat tours of the delta and got to meet more of the local people. Saw turtles and dolphins with pink bellies, though sadly I was not quick snog to take their picture. Electric eels lurk in the waters too, but I had no intention of wading about to find them. The region has a huge problem with these plants that grow in the delta, as they breed like rabbits and grow so fast it's barely containable. They are so thick in places that they're like concrete. It stops boats getting through and kills a lot of the fish life in the rivers. Sadly, another invasive species brought from its natural habitat by humans whilst trading and invading.

Then, for some reason, I talked one of the guys into taking me piranha fishing. Which was just crazy fun, if only from a hunter gatherer sense. They even made me build my own rod, which amounted to cutting a thin branch from a specific tree, tying twine to it, adding a hook, then pinning some chicken skin to the hook. Only took me 20 minutes to catch 2, but they're crafter fuckers and kept stealing my chicken skin off the hook without having the decency to get themselves skewered! Oh well, the guy showing me didn't catch any but he looked quite chuffed with me all the same.

Unfortunately, that was my only time spent in the delta. I was boated back over the nearest town, then driven 3 hours to the next airport to fly to Angel Falls! The drive was fine, apart from when the police pulled over my driver and she thought it would be awesome to get stroppy with them. So they also pulled me out of the car, pushed me to the floor, knelt on my back and shouted "PASAPORTES!" over and over! I eventually managed to squeak out "IT'S IN MY SHOE!" waving my leg about from my belly-lying position on the floor. Eventually they understood and actually found funny in the end. I did not. I said to the driver after they let us go "That was fucking scary!", to which she smiled politely because she didn't speak a word of English.

Still, I finally (and safely) arrived at Cuidad Bolivar, where I would be staying the night in this great little hotel/hostel called Posada Don Carlos, which was walled and barred to the mean streets of Venezuela. It had several private rooms adjoining a open-sky courtyard, with several more single hammocks on an overlooking balcony. The hammocks cost about 100 bolivars a night, roughly 10 cents! Though you don't get any privacy or AC with the hammocks, you still get a meal and a safe night's sleep. Thankfully I had a private room as the bugs would have eaten me alive.

To top it off, the owner's wife made a great little meat and pasta dish for 2 USD, with a bar that charged about 1 USD for three bottles of beer. Add that I'd just met an English couple (though they'd been living in NYC for five years now) staying in the same place as I, it turned out to be quite a good night.

The couple were also coming to the Canaima Lagoon in an effort to see the Angel Falls. This trip was a sort of joint birthday (they both had theirs days apart, and it was his birthday that night actually), as well as a late honeymoon! They'd had quite the interesting trek as they'd booked everything themselves, although in hindsight they may not have saved anything doing it that way, as my Venezuelan guide managed to get deals and discounts for me. They did however bus into Venezuela across the Brazilian border, far braver than I, but said it was a little intimidating how the Venezuelan guards would constantly scrutinise with hate-filled glowers their US passports.

Still, like me, they had arrived safely and were eager to see the falls. As with many things in Venezuela, we were all at the mercy of those in charge as to when we would leave and what schedule we'd work to.

We boarded this tiny six-seater flight with another couple from the hotel, a French-Canadian couple hailing from Quebec. I must admit I fell asleep on the plane because I was so warm and tired but didn't miss much. We landed at the airstrip beside the Canaima Lagoon a little shocked we hadn't actually been flown to the Angel Falls as promised but that, as I said before, would happen in the Venezuelan's schedule.

Unfortunately, maybe for me, the Angel Falls were a little disappointing. Certainly grand, but not as grand as I had hoped. Rather than a huge deluge of unimaginable water, it was more like a trickle. Sort of the difference between a champion race-horse going full stream to that of a puppy not quite having discovered his bladder control. Although, to be fair, these were unusual circumstances, and was entirely due to the fact that it was a super-dry season. The rains were supposed to come last month but a severe El Niño has caused mucho drought. Plenty of dark clouds and minuscule showers, but nothing of the downpour the area so desperately needed. Which was pretty clear with the low water levels at the lagoon and surrounding rivers. One of the waterfalls had even dried out (but I'll get to that later).

So our pilot flew us around all the table mountains, and with the clouds giving the sky a most dramatic atmosphere which provided increasingly incredible views. He even flew us between two mountains then put his tiny plane into a drop-and-dive which initially scared the bejesus out of me (sitting next to the pilot I immediately had visions of him having suffered a heart attack and requiring me to assume control of the plane!) but soon had me whooping with excitement.

After we landed, the English couple sadly had to leave (they weren't even staying a night, which was a shame), but thankfully the Canadians remained as well as another couple from Hong Kong. Our guide now took us on a river tour around the waterfalls of the lagoon.

We hiked over to the first waterfall, which as I said earlier, was actually completely dry. This, like the reason Angel Falls was so weak, was due to the lack of rain. We could actually walk the whole forty foot wide sandstone mouth of the fall. It was surreal but in a good way. Another couple of months and gallons upon gallons would be smashing over the rocks, crashing into the waters below. Yet now I perched on the edge and took a cheeky selfie on my GoPro (product placement! Do you think GoPro will sponsor me? ...no? Oooh, balls! I don't even want their sponsorship (reverse psychology!))

Anyway, dry waterfalls, as strange as they are, were not what I'd exactly come to see. So the guide took us to falls featuring actual water.

Considering these were a fraction of the size of Angel Falls, you cannot imagine the power of them.

We managed to find a route where we could safely walk behind (I slipped) a couple of the falls. I loved just standing there (once I'd got myself up off my arse after falling, obviously) and being completely lost in the noise. I couldn't hear the guy next to me, though to be fair he wasn't much of a talker anyway.

After trekking along these paths for a while we came to one fall that had a far smaller offshoot fall, which created this wonderful pool you can swim in. Or jump in. If that's your fancy (and it was certainly mine!)

I was initially a little cautious as the guide was very casually waving his hand in affirmation,

"Yes, jump. Not problem," he said.
"Er, safe?" I asked tentatively.
"¡Si! Jump. Is fine."
"And the rocks?" I asked, squinting over the drop.
He shrugged. "Just don't hit them."

Which was sound enough reasoning to me. So I stripped off, handed my camera to the Canadian couple and jumped! It was so much fun I actually did it a couple of times. I mean, the water is crystal clear and clean, but looks brown because of the sediment at the bottom. Not that I fancied drinking any (purposefully) but at least I didn't stink coming out of it.

After the Canadians had decided to join me for a jump into the water far below, the guide ushered us on to the next fall. This time there was nowhere to jump, but it was one fall where it was safe to stand underneath. Even so, the power was incredible. It was as though you were getting pummelled with a constant stream of water balloons while under gravity twice times as strong. I could only manage a couple of minutes. Which was also fortunate because there were also pools we could lie in, careful to only feel the current around us, bracing ourselves as to not let it push us ever onwards to the crashing rocks below.

So it turned into a bit of swings-and-roundabouts. Although the water levels were low and Angel Falls was considerably drier than normal, we also could not have got so close to the waterfalls (no walking behind, no jumps, no standing underneath or sitting in the pools) we did, nor walk along a dried out one. They would quite literally have killed us if at their full rain-swollen power.

I think perhaps the water might have been stinky as in the end the Canadians and the couple from Hong Kong left me the following morning. Whereas I had one more night! So, being on my lonesome, my guide hiked me an hour into the surrounding jungles to meet a local family. He explained how they have their own plantation of sugar and bananas and pineapples. How they temporarily poison their river to kill and catch the fish easily. How they weave baskets and materials. How they even ferment their own alcohol drink (very strong, in case your wondering, and tastes a little like ginger). The guide even handed me a machete but the local man took it back off me quickly and rather nervously - I wouldn't have minded but I didn't have a clue what the guide expected me to do with it!

Anyhow, we rounded off our long day with cooking chickens and potatoes over an open fire on a small island in the middle of a river. I even got to go for a bit of swimming while the food was cooking (he wouldn't let me help) and then enjoyed some Venezuelan sun lying on the sand after I'd eaten. Most of the area around the lagoon is bordered by fine, white sand - coming from the sandstone that form the mountain ranges of which Angel Falls is a part of. It looks as though you're by a beach resort but smacked into the middle of the Venezuelan jungles! Oddly, the sand made the strangest little squeaking noise as you walked on it (sort of like walking on squeaky vinyl) because it is so dry.

Which just about rounds my Venezuelan trip off, I suppose. Heading to Patagonia tomorrow in the most southern point of Argentina - which if nothing else will provide a crazy difference in climates and temperatures!

How have I found my time in Venezuela? It's hard to say. Everything I've done has been so much fun and exactly what I hoped, and more, in some cases. I've met some great people, both tourists and locals alike. The scenery is phenomenal in places and there is such a depth of culture here. However, there is also a sense of events reaching critical mass. Even the locals this far removed expect bad things, and soon. The shortage of food and power is shocking, and there is a guilt that the guides provide us food yet those in the city go without. My only consolation is that I am providing money through tourism. Not enough for the country, not by far, but maybe it helps the locals I've met, even a little?

Venezuela will be a beautiful country once it has found its way out of its troubles, and it is far safer than I had expected and been warned of; but I doubt I'll come back until then. Which is a shame.

There is so much more to see.

Posted by WrightA 19:33 Comments (1)

Panamaniacs!


View Travel 2016 on WrightA's travel map.

Panamanians you ask? Typo you say? No! I was just doing a tedious link to the Anamaniacs:

http://youtu.be/IEdtMuZnYqc

Why? Because!

So Panama. Finally arrived in this haven of legal money and strong extradition laws to stay with Linda and Leon.

I wasn't expecting much of Panama or their place, if only because Belize City wasn't, erm, the most aesthetic of places. But when the taxi rocked up on the water front and I got the tour of their enormous apartment with a view, well I started to think a little differently of Panama City.

Sadly though I didn't get to see much of Panama. We checked out the Panama Canal, which is impressive. The museum is really interesting and the tonnage of cargo that passes through it (and the toll for each ship) is mind boggling.
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After we went to the fish market, which understandably smells as much as a market that serves seafood in Panama's heat would smell, but served excellent food. Even if they brought me calamari instead of crab.

Got a great view of old town and walked through the promenade along with the bay - which in Panama's heat left me a little sweaty. I know, crazy to think I got sweaty!

But that was it for Panama. Why? Because Linda had booked a flight to Medellin in Colombia for 3 nights! We were going to Pablo Escobar's city and a country I always wanted to go to but couldn't fit into me travels (or so I clearly and I correctly thought!)

Boarded the plane and an hour-ish later we were there.

Medellin is a gorgeous city. Not at all what you would expect for a city rated as one of the most dangerous in the world a decade ago. Everything is so clean and modern but at he same time quite authentically Colombian. Very few places felt touristy or cheap. Although there are places and stalls and people trying to sell you things, they're enormously outweighed by the bars and restaurants and shops. There wasn't even a McDdonalds or Burger King that we could see. 30FBFB90A22850DB1999227AE93D77D4.jpeg 311F8397B17FC1250CDBAA70BA29A0BC.jpeg
The majority (...all?) of our evenings were spent in Lleres Park. A large park area surrounded by more bars and restaurants where you could buy alcohol (and more...) and sit in the park to drink and enjoy the atmosphere. The police gave a little push to move you own at 2am (or 4am at the weekends) but they didn't try very hard.

Talking of the police, Medellin felt very safe. But the police could be a little...curious at times. We'd already seen two first-hand examples of the police turning a blind eye to bags of white powder. First time they actually watched a blatant deal and when they went over to the crowd, we thought for sure that they were going to be arrested, but the police joked with them and moved along. The second time, the police were patting down a trio of dealers and they actually found a little white bag - which the officer then handed back to the dealer who clutched it eagerly. Nothing more was done. We figured the police were either looking for bribe money or guns.

Linda and I were searched also on our way home one night. Two officers just pulled up and searched through every pocket of my shorts and wallet, inspecting with a torch as closely as a man desperate to find something. Which they didn't. We assume they were looking for something so they could ask for a bigger bribe. But in the end they had to let us go. Thankfully! Not sure how many innocent face would last in a Colombian jail!

Saying all that, that was about the worst of what we experienced first hand and it didn't ever feel threatening or dangerous. I guess you just have to have a bit of common sense. And if you're going to buy anything illicit just don't carry about your person.

And illicit materials were pretty easy to come buy. In fact I would say if nobody offered you drugs in Colombia it's because you didn't actually go to Colombia. Most people selling anything (in shops or the streets) could get you drugs and regularly offered you it as casually as they would a cola.

You can also eat and drink for very cheap. Shop around if you need but I found a place that sold me a pint-sized bottle of beer for less than 1 US. Food wasn't much more expensive even in the classiest of looking restaurants.

Anyway, we figured that being in Medellin we really should see some of Escobar's place. We signed up for a guided tour that took all day, included lunch, pick up and drop off, and cost less than $30 US each.

Escobar's house - there are many and we were checking out his second house - was probably really nice back in the day. Suffice to say now it's fallen into disrepair (wasn't the guy super rich? He should be doing something about the mess...)
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But the views were something else! It overlooked a (man-made) lake with about 4 or 5 distant houses just about in view. Secluded but not to the point you couldn't get to it. Especially as the man had his own private landing strip (obviously).

The house and buildings is in a bad way but that doesn't take away from the scale of it. Nor some of the stories about them hiding coke and money and weapons in the walls of the buildings. Since his death, holes dot the walls where people were eager to locate the money and coke, which only makes the building look in an even worse state of disrepair. 30D6C13FE3D46BA95661B92B8D4B9175.jpeg
There's also the limo outside, still riddled with bullet holes from an attempted assassination. The estate had a bar and a cafe for meeting and greeting and drinking, but I suppose the most inventive way to spend time at the estate is by having a game of extreme paintball. It was a little unexpected but that's what they do there! Running around the grounds shooting each other in an all-out war for narco dominion, with paint balls! The detritus of former games litters the shells of buildings, again adding to the mess and graffiti of the residences. It was a great little tour around though and the info on Pablo, not just then but his legacy in Medellin and Colombia now, was insightful and interesting. I won't attempt to lecture you with this info now, apart from to say Colombia now has a hippo problem because Pablo bought three hippos for his zoo, and on his death they went rampant and are now breeding unchecked!

Next we went to the Rock, which was a large rock with steps up to the top. 30FEFD11AF641821DD0E9662737A712C.jpeg
740 steps from the ground to the bottom. Steep steps though. The incline was outrageous (and coming back down was a little unsteady!) and by the top I had, you guessed it, managed to perspire a little. But the views were completely worth it. You could see the giant lake that Escobar's house was located on, as well as the mountains and forests surrounding. 31113004B8901F0B1991BC5AB764E18D.jpeg31176397E6AB3E2FB4FF3FF8DF769A71.jpeg

The view on the way make to the city were no less impressive however. The city at night is a wonder and allows you to appreciate just how big Medellin is - especially given this view is of perhaps less than 50% of it.
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We met some truly random people in Medellin though. But all of them so friendly. From the locals to travels and tourists, everyone was friendly and happy to talk about their city and what they were up to. We met the craziest Irish doctor who I'm gutted we only ran into the one time; for reasons I won't go into he was unfortunately a little poorly - but that's after 5 consecutive nights in Medellin...

Also, the working girls in Medellin are everywhere. They just hang about the bars, eating and drinking, on the corners, in the park. Don't make eye contact though because they'll assume you're interested (note: they're not making eye contact with you because they find you attractive). Linda and I had a fun time trying to ask a group of working girls how much was an average price (simply out of curiousity) and it took a while for them to understand we weren't interested in buying their services. Yet they kept talking to us and happily joking along with us. I even asked how likely was it the price was "gratis" but their pimp didn't immediately see the funny side!

I'm so grateful for Linda and Leon to have let me sleep in the most comfortable bed I've been in for months, and have a private warm shower, and having arranged travel to Colombia. It was amazing! Thoroughly loved my time here and I wish I had more time to explore Panama - next time.

Thankfully Leon was around to give me some (a lot) of advice about Venezeula. This is where I'm going to

Posted by WrightA 18:40 Archived in Colombia Comments (1)

Under The Sea


View Travel 2016 on WrightA's travel map.

I think I'll open with a lie: I didn't kill any marine life.

But I think I did help the reef. Or at least, I didn't hurt the reef. Probably. Hopefully!

So, I arrived in Placencia and had a couple of days to explore the place. It's a lovely area, and similar to Caye Caulker in that everyone is exceptionally friendly and the food is great. In fact, there is a gelato shop that has the nicest gelato you could hope to find. I think someone told me it was the highest rated eatery in Placencia, which isn't hard to believe.

There is a wonderful stretch of white sand and Caribbean waters, a lot of swimming and diving and trips to go on. A long boardwalk runs down the centre of Placencia, between the beach and the "main road", which is dotted with plenty more options to eat and drink, plenty of shops and stalls to check out with hand-crafted jewellery and ornaments. It probably is a little more relaxed than Caye Caulker (which isn't a bad thing), but there's still plenty of places to go drink (and they even have a nightclub). Thankfully, there is a karaoke bar too. And yes I did sing. Four times. I was loved and adored, mainly because I set the bar so low nobody else was afraid they'd do worse than me! (I'm just not appreciated in my own time...)

I stayed at a hostel called Sailfish, which is a cool and relaxed place. It's actually sat in the middle of a lagoon so the staff come and pick you up from the roadway and boat you over! So you do get a real sense of privacy. It just sucks coming back at 2am and waking someone up for a boat ride. Oops!

So, to work!

I was volunteering with a conservation organisation called ReefCI. They operate from an island about 40 minutes off Placencia called Tom Owen's Caye. And it's tiny. It's a little spot of land on the reef. And where I'd call home for the next two weeks. 9A3A1579E370A591B947E2994BC6FE55.jpeg
There is no running water, only rain water to wash with. The only electricity is from the generator they turn on during the evening/night. There is nothing to do but relax in the sun, play cards, and, oh, swim!

As part of the volunteer package, I attained my Open Water PADI in the first few days, both theory and practical. I might have been done quicker but I kept banging my head on the cement cover at the end of the pier.

But once qualified, I got out into the sea...

Wow.
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I cannot recommend scuba diving enough. The complete feel of weightlessness. I mean it takes a couple of dives to get your buoyancy under control (a moment to learn, a lifetime to master), but after a while it becomes second nature. You get the correct weight and balance, control your breathing, and you just feel utterly weightless.

And the things you see! Sharks, Dolphins, whales, eels, crabs, lobsters, the variety and colour of fish, the abundance of coral (Belize has the second largest reef in the world) is just mind blowing. It's almost too much to take in at first. You could dive the same area again and again and each time you'd see something new.

My very first dive with a scuba outfit was doing part of my PADI training. Marco, my instructor, was showing me some skills he wanted me to repeat, but as he was showing me how to purge a water-filled mask, two Dolphins swam next to me and carried on. Y'know, just casual like, as though it happens to everyone! Sadly I didn't have my camera with me.

However, we did get a call from the fishermen staying on the island that they'd spied a pod of pilot whales. So we all jumped in the boat and chased after them. We'd spot them above the waves, jump in after them, swim for a while until the whales moved on, then board the boat, catch the whales, jump in and repeat. It was incredible. Words like majestic and breathtaking leap to mind, but they sound corny. Suffice to say, I was left a little speechless afterwards, giddy enough to try and fail to vocalise my excitement.
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I was taken out for a night dive too, and that is when the seas come alive! Thousands of blood worms (I think that's their name) are attracted to the torch light we carried, so hey swarm about you like, well, a swarm of flies. If you stay still too long they all but cover your torch to the point there is no light. We saw lobsters on the move (two were on the groove, if you know what I mean. Sex. Talking about doing it), big-ass crabs (that's not their proper name), fish, eels, rays - the works. Yet the real treat was still to come. The three of us knelt down on the sand at the bottom and switched off our lights. Surrounded now by complete darkness, utterly black. And yet...something would glow bright blue beside you. Only for a second, then it was gone. You'd look about, maybe disturb the sand bed, and suddenly you'd see a mass of glowing blue particles. It was the bioluminescence. If you waved your hand, the bright blue glow followed you like some underwater acid trip. It was a little like that scene from Avatar, when they're running through the forest and everything they touch lights up and glows. Glorious and just utterly alien. I'm not sure how long we sat at the bottom for but I could've sat a while longer still.

But enough fun. I had work to do, too, dammit! Actual laborious work. Well not laborious. Awesome! That was the word I was looking for. Straight up awesome work!

Monitoring the reef's health was one task, checking the coral to see if a particular group was dying. We would be taken out to ID fish, monitor lobsters, conch, and invertebrates. All to report back so they can get a picture of how healthy the coral and sea life is, and manage accordingly.

There was one other task which was quite important too. Spearing the Lionfish. Now, a few people have already expressed shock that killing fish is someone part of a conservation job, but it is.

Little bit of background: Lionfish are not native to the Belizean waters. They are an invasive species, and sadly one that has no natural predators. That means that when they kill the other fish on the reef that are helping to keep the coral alive, the Lionfish are actually destroying the reef. With no natural predators and with them being able to produce a thousand eggs every two-three days, they can (and have) quickly become a problem.

Which is where people (okay, heroes!) like me come in. With nothing but a spear to our names, we would scuba down, locate the little critters, and spear the shit out of them.
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A bit more background is that the Lionfish is the ONLY aquatic life in Belize you can use scuba gear to catch. And sadly we can't use speargun (they're illegal in Belize) so we use the Hawaiian sling method: a loop of rubber around the end of the spear, stretch, grip towards the head to provide tension, aim, release, and rejoice in your victorious victory over the dreaded Lionfish! I'm not sure how much of an impact we have (we're not the only ones hunting the Lionfish) but at least it's a start, if nothing else.

In the evenings, once everyone is back, the gear has been rinsed and safely put away, and the Lionfish have been dissected and cut up, we retire for food and cards and chilling out. Every day had a different dive profile, but the schedule was usually the same. Wake around 6ish for some fruit, dive, back for breakfast, dive, lunch, dive, evening meal, relax and sleep.

Everyone on the island, staff and guests, were always so fun and entertaining. I lost count of the number of card games I played (and lost count of the number I lost!). 9A898A0CB6BDBD1FADFEE5B6DF62B7AB.jpeg 9A971DE0B380ED12C2E617A7342C647E.jpeg
From Marco and Willie teaching me and taking my diving, to Losandri and Stacey preparing my food (the food, I might add, was superb!). It was great to meet and hang out with April, Melanie, Michelle, and my card-playing partner Hannah! Shame for April and Melanie the last they heard of me was my karaoke singing, but I guess that's a fairly accurate memory to have. And that's not half of the people I met and chatted with! You all made it an unforgettable experience and I wish you the best for the future. Hopefully Hannah won't be too much of a sore loser when Willie beats her at cards l next week...

And I nearly forgot about Spot, the island dog. He loves nothing more than tearing apart coconuts, or swimming after them when you throw them in the water, or chasing birds that have the audacity to land in his view, or getting scratched under the chin, or barking at you when you're relaxing in a hammock and won't chase him around the island. Anyone would think I love dogs...
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In the end, I hope I just helped. If nothing else I learned about the work they're doing and assisted first hand, and it's something I'm proud of. Hopefully I didn't cause more problems for the reef! I cannot recommend ReefCI enough and will sing their praises to anyone who will listen.

Next, I'm off to meet Linda and Leon in Panama. I hear it's expensive, I hear it's hotter than Belize, but who cares? Panama, here I come!

Posted by WrightA 10:39 Comments (0)

Belize: Obey Baz Luhrmann


View Travel 2016 on WrightA's travel map.

[None of my photos appear to be loading, so I'll try and edit them in later. Check Facebook if you want to see any]

Belize.

First time in Central America. Having just left the always amusing Bingle at Vegas (and I've just realised I haven't written about my extra Vegas trip - I'll have to correct that at a later date), I flew into El Salvador where I had a brief yet enjoyable stopover. I also purchased some sun cream, which I had previously neglected to do so (this is important - remember this later for a laugh).

When I arrived in Belize City it was nice and hot. REALLY hot. It was just like being on a Caribbean island, which was pretty much where I'd be in about an hour's time.

Don't bother staying long in Belize City. It's a city (obviously) and not much to do or see. The few people I've met who stayed in the city did not enjoy it (tales of being followed seemed disconcertingly common) and were as eager to get to my destination as I had been: Caye Caulker.

Now, Caye Caulker is an island off Belize, but one that owes as much to the Caribbean vibe as it does Central America. English is taught in Belize as the first language - though many speak a mixture of Spanish, Creole, and scatterings of Mayan dialect - so me having forgotten all my Spanish had little impact on getting around. Simple, standard-fare taxi from the airport to the docks where you board a frequent water taxi to Caye Caulker. About 30 minutes later and you step onto an island that's as removed from Belize City as LA is from San Diego.

If you ever come to Caye Caulker you'll see many a sign saying "Slow Down". This isn't a traffic warning. For one thing, there are no cars on Caye Caulker, only push-bikes and golf carts, which act as transportation for private citizens, taxis for the public, police cars, and all manner of in-between. Just no cars allowed. No, "Slow Down" means to acclimatise you to "Belize Time". Take it easy, relax, enjoy the sun, the sand, have some magic brownies, any charlie? It's all good. Just slow down: enjooooooy yourself.

And that's what you get on Caye Caulker. A wonderful island with very little to trouble you outside of sunbathing and swimming, snorkelling and diving, eating and drinking. In fact, you stand in some parts of the island and you can see the sea ahead of you; do a 180 and you can see the sea on the other side of the island.

That's not to say there's nothing to do. I was on and around the island for two weeks and didn't have a wasted day. I just didn't have BUSY days. It's not what I wanted, certainly not after just doing a month of constantly being on the move in the US from one destination to the other.

The Split was by far one of my favourite places. You'll hear lots of stories from locals about what caused the Split, from hurricane damage to man-made endeavour. The truth is somewhere in between. Caye Caulker, struck by one particular hurricane, was left with a shallow, inches-wide trench. Which was then further dug out by the locals, and more permanently split by salt water erosion. But the end result is a place where the island stops with a thirty-odd foot gap between the main island and the largely (I think?) uninhabited secondary island. You can sit at the bar by the split, drink cheap beer, try their interestingly named cocktails (Blowjob, Abortion, Wet Pussy), eat food, lap up the sun, or jump in the sea and have the current drag you from one end of the split to the other.

But what would the Caribbean be without snorkelling? And there are countless (not literally) places you can visit that provide varying offers for seeing the sea life around the islands. You can visit the Blue Hole (best if you already have your diving licence); Shark Ray Alley/City is a must to feed and swim with the sharks and rays; snorkel the second largest barrier reef in the world; barbecues on deserted beaches; glide along turquoise seas under the baking sun. You can't fail to have a great time swimming and if you shop around you can get a real bargain (three hours of snorkelling for $15 US).

My only pieces of advice for snorkelling is: wear sunscreen (Baz Luhrmann said the exact same thing - smart man); when they tell you not to touch the fire coral, don't touch it; and don't swallow salt water. Follow these simple rules and you'll be fine 👍

For my first few days on the island I stayed at the aptly named "Dirty McNasty". I think the name conjures all you need. It is dirty. It is nasty. But it is also fun. You'll meet great people here. You'll have a fantastic time. If you don't mind sharing a room with 15 other people, or mind the shower not working. Or mind the toilet frequently breaking and the sink falling off the wall or stepping in piss at two in the morning, it's great. They do have free Rum Punch in the evenings, made-to-order omelettes in the morning, party games, free water refills, boat cruises, and a volleyball net. Wonderful place. I just wouldn't recommend it to anyone wanting peace and quiet.

And that is the two sides of the island. Where you can find peace and relaxation and a hundred and one palm trees to sit under, you can also find a hundred bars to drink at. Follow the happy hours around the island and you can drink even cheaper than normal (and the drinks are already cheap)! There is a nightclub - the Reggae Bar - which stays open until 1am and has a great atmosphere for dancing and partying.

Remember when I said to wear sunscreen? Well, that's true. But also, wear the RIGHT sunscreen. Probably best not to buy the cheapest sunscreen you can find in El Salvador, that also happens to be a suspect product of Chinese origin. It didn't work. I ended up pink. After twenty minutes in the sun my stomach looked like I'd been coloured in by a princess with a pink highlighter. As is always the way, I didn't realise how badly burned I was until later on. I just knew that I was hot and figured I'd head back and leave the beach to my fellow hostellers. Then I realised how hot my skin was. You could feel the heat from a foot away. I also got very sick that night, a mix of not being able to keep food down and running from shivers to sweats. Timo jumping on me at 3am didn't help, but he's a quality guy so who could be angry? Hopefully I'll be meeting up with him in Panama if we timed it right!

Still, I was due to meet Lindsay the next morning (who I met on the Trek America tour and was coming to Belize - she clearly missed me too much 😉) and I was not looking my best. I lathered up in Aloe Vera, tried to keep down food, stuck to the shade, and watched as my body began to peel over the next several days...

Lindsay's face when she saw me was a picture. It was like she'd seen a particularly funny ghost who, instead of being pale-white, was as pink as a My Little Pony. Still, at least she didn't slap my stomach like one of the guys in Dirty McNasty, albeit unknowingly.

Lindsay and I managed to get on a tour to Lamanai, the largest pre-classic Mayan temple in the world. Being my first Mayan temple, it was very impressive. We were driven north of Belize City to Orange Walk where we then had about an hour's boat through the rainforest - itself a great little journey where we saw howler monkeys but sadly no gators. Just make sure you don't go when it's raining, or dress accordingly if you do. They don't call it the rainforest for noting!

Lamanai (apparently the only Mayan place with its original name; all the others have been named in recent times by their discoverers) itself is incredible. Even seeing it during a rainstorm was phenomenal. Climbing up the temples and looking out over the rainforest was something else entirely. I can barely build Lego - how they built these divine temples with statues to their gods and carvings for worship, I'll never know. Another thing I didn't realise before going was how we see the temples now is not how they would have been. Back in the day (in Mayan times, mother fucker!) the temples were plastered and painted red. That would've been a sight to see. I found it a nightmare just getting my old house rendered, how the fuck they plastered that mass of stone smooth I'll never know. We saw three temples and were given a bunch of history about the Mayans and their culture. Fully recommend this to anyone. Obviously there are a bunch of Mayan sites around Central and South America, so just do your research beforehand. Some sites are less impressive (for a tourist, not necessarily an archaeologist) than others. But you should go and see them. It's not like the Pyramids of Egypt, which can be a little underwhelming due to their surroundings, these Mayan ruins are protected and separate from the modern world.

So all that said, I come to the important part. FOOD! Yes. Food. I cannot rave more highly about the Belize food. If this is what I can expect from Central and South America then I might not be coming home. Not due to choice but because I'll have put on so much weight I won't be able to fly.

I rarely returned to the same place more than once. Not because the food was ever bad but because there was so much effing choice. And the prices ranged from totally great to insanely cheap - one place on the main road had a full buttered lobster, two sides, desert, and a drink for $20BZD (which is $10US). I mean, an apple in some of the supermarkets cost $3BZD! (I don't recommend buying food in the supermarkets unless you are living in Caye Caulker more permanently - it's too costly for one-off meals).

Fresh seafood is obviously a big part of the menu for places. A lot just start cooking the food in the BBQ's on the beaches or outside their restaurants. The smell is enough to make even the most full belly grumble with hunger. Seafood not your dish? Try chicken, or pulled pork, or beef, or the vegetarian dishes. There are a couple of Italian places, a Chinese takeaway too (I never bothered!) and enough ice cream and cake shops to warrant a diabetes clinic on the island. I never had a bad meal; I think my favourite is the snapper cooked in a spiced coconut curry with rice and vegetables. A little pricy at $25BZD (that's a joke, by the way) but with nearly every meal on the island made fresh and made to order, how can you complain?

I made a bunch of friends on Caye Caulker, and was insanely chuffed to see Lindsay again - even if she laughed when she first saw me (who doesn't?) - but, without regret, it's time to move on down the coast. I'm off to Placencia in the south of Belize for a little over a fortnight. I'm due to be volunteering with a marine conservation team there. A little nervous (I really hope I don't fuck up the marine life!) but otherwise fully excited. Wish me luck, and remember: wear sunscreen!

[None of my photos appear to be loading, so I'll try and edit them in later. Check Facebook if you want to see any]

Posted by WrightA 07:09 Comments (1)

The Wild West

What can I say about this trip that could actually impress upon you the fun times had?

It was incredible, awe-inspiring, and unforgettable. And the only salve to saying farewell to some amazing people was that I got to meet them at all.

We met in LA and (in the same vein as the last tour I was on) we had no idea who the others were. From LA we travelled to San Diego, then to the Grand Canyon, Vegas, Yosemite, San Francisco, and finally the Californian coast for emotional farewells.

But, like last time, I'm getting ahead of myself...

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Lindsay took this photo, the first photo of the group and tour, and soon to be the start of a long-standing Rivalry of Cameras. Of which (spoiler alert) she evidently lost. Here was the photographic equivalent of throwing down the gauntlets: 957F0E7FC3E74DA502C387DA986471C8.jpeg

Anyway. San Diego for our first stop!
Mike, our tour guide (a lot like my first guide, Brooke, only sexier and with more beard), took us to a lookout monument (the name of which I can't remeber!) which had fantastic views of San Diego. Having been to the city before, I've got to say that the views were insanely good (or wicked smart, if you Bostonians prefer), and not what I had expected from visiting downtown.
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We went to the first of many Mexicans for lunch and checked out the beautiful beaches. This was the moment Lindsay and I tried to one-up the other in order to get the best pictures of random passerbys. Sad to say, I don't think my pictures were as good as hers. But it was only fair to give her a head start!

San Diego is a really, really cool city for evening entertainment. We stayed at the Gaslamp district (I think it was that anyway - I should've taken more notice of Mike) and there are so many bars to go to. Some not-so-good. A speakeasy hidden behind a wall of kegs - which was great in theory, but you had to BOOK a table in advance! But then there was the dueling piano bar... 90_97A33574A611163231F6084E3F5E87D7.jpeg
and that was simply incredible. For two weekday nights in a row it was packed and they put on one fucker of a show. Playing random requests perfectly, swapping between piano, drums, bass, and vocals without missing a beat. Joking with the audience, getting us involved and dancing. It was so much fun! I have a video of Tamara and Miriam dancing to Baby Got Back on the stage. Y'know, if anyone is interested...

The San Diego Zoo was as beautiful as expected. 958CF140A0928FE16AC563E1A456F97F.jpeg 95D665FEC6E16164D80EE67FA213CCF7.jpeg 958F4D43CFE4F4247FCF92450F8AC4A0.jpeg
(And there are plenty of more pictures on my Facebook!)
But the zoo doubled as the epic battlefield of photography between myself and Lindsay! We spent the day taking near-identical pictures of the same animals, again, just trying to one-up the other. Unfortunately for Lindsay it didn't work as my skills are vastly superior. Just don't check out her pictures as she's embarrassed by them and won't want you to see how bad they are. In fact, just don't mention it at all. She'll get very upset about it all!

Next we had a lovely 9 hour drive to Laughlin, NV. Laughlin is sort of like the anti-Vegas. Some dude built it with the hopes of replicating Vegas, but it sort of became the place that happiness and joy goes to sit and wallow. It was not fun, but the drive was spectacularly funny - while everyone else slept, Lindsay and I decided it would be a great idea to keep us awake by annoying the other whenever one of us started to peacefully sleep.

We stopped along the way at this monumentally awful place (for me, anyway). I present to you Salvation Mountain
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It was right shite!

Thankfully the next day we arrived at Grand Canyon. Mike made us all pit bags on our heads (I was a little aroused at this - hey! I only said "a little") as to not spoil the awe of the reveal. And what a sight it was. The Grand Canyon. Pictures do not do it justice. You must see it yourself.
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Sam "the Mouatache" Kelly, Lindsay, and I hiked down the difficult trail to the Skeleton Point, which at the time is the furthest we could go without a permit (as you'd be hiking overnight). The first mile or so was just an icy path and we all slipped a few times. Well, Lindsay slipped. She just pulled me down with her. But that's just semantics, people! All that matters is (even stopping to take pictures) we smashed the descent in two-and-a-half hours! Skeleton Point.
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I'm not sure I can describe the view. I lack the vocabulary to do it justice. Suffice to say, if you have ever been awed by nature, if you have ever stood helpless at the sheer scale of its majesty, you must visit the Grand Canyon. Truly, one the natural wonders of the world. (Again, I have more pictures on Facebook).

The ascent was a little strange. It should have taken us longer to climb back up the slopes than it did to descend them, but we were quicker. Two hours to get back to the top (it was still icy) and that even included the time it took for Sammy and I to help a Search & Rescue lady take down a six foot sign that needed replacing and carry it to the top for her.

Nature aside, it was an unforgettable trek taken with great friends. I was ready to walk the path solo but was glad of their company, and when we did the whole thing together it left a smile within that has not yet slipped.

Right, emotion aside now. Why, you ask? Why?
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THAT'S WHY! Vegas, baby!

Although, honestly, I was a little nervous about Vegas. There's so much hype about it and I've been disappointed by places with a lot of hype before. Just, thankfully, not now! Mike drove us down the strip, as we partied to sometimes questionable music (who the fuck put on the Spice Girls?!), and gave us a quick and energetic driving tour and brief history of the Strip. And by the end? Fuck me I was clawing my way out of the bus to get on with it!

We didn't really notice much that our hotel had no free WiFi. After a brief note of horror and disgust, we just got on with it! What do you do on your first night in Vegas? PARTY! 180_9594F0A6AC762F0EAD5509E32F0CCF39.jpeg
Pre-drinks in mine and Sammy's hotel room followed by being picked up by an enormous limo (thank you Mike!) for more drinking and dancing. Mike even arranged for entry into the Marquee's five year anniversary party with LMFAO playing! It was unreal. Such a fantastic night! Apart from the giant fucking inflatable zebra (damn you!!!) that kept getting bounced around, it was a near perfect evening of great atmosphere, fun, and dancing. What a first night - it is how I had always imagined and hoped Vegas would be. We even mellowed out the evening with a spot of 4am gambling - I won big!
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Despite having very little sleep, we all woke for our discounted buffet breakfast and scored some tickets to the Cirque du Soleil. Brilliant
and unbelievable. Human beings can do that? I wasn't convinced but I told everyone I could do what they could do just to save face!

No, in all seriousness, it was a phenomenal show. Throw whatever superlatives you want at it - I fail to see how a person could not be amazed at the feats of phsyicality performed.

We checked out the strip (it's grand in the daytime, sure, but it comes ALIVE at night). Sensory overload! Paris; New York, New York; the Bellagio fountains; the Mirage's volcano (that we missed erupting by watching the Cirque du Soleil!); the Venetian's gondola ride 😍 And that's the tip of the iceberg! We split up to visit different things as still didn't accomplish half of what we wanted, and that was without gambling or drinking! Thankfully I'm going back (I'm writing this as I'm literally waiting to board to Vegas) as I've got lots more I want to see.

From Vegas we drove all the way to Yosemite National Park. We stayed in this hostel lodge place, and some of the buildings had outdoor toilets (haha, unlucky Princess Kat!), which was more than made up for by the fully kitted-out hottub, sauna, and spa! Just what we'd need after the day ahead...

...Mike drove us to a great spot to look at this average landscape. As the bus crept ever-closer, he asked us to trust him and close our eyes. Which we did (I did, anyway). He turns on the music, quietly at first, but building. It only takes a couple of notes to recognise the Theme from Jurassic Park (http://youtu.be/D8zlUUrFK-M) and I'm so giddy with excitement I nearly wet myself, but the crescendo rises and Mike yells we can open our eyes and I do and...wow
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Again, you must see it in person to truly comprehended the scale of the cliffs and contrast between stone and trees and the scenes of raw nature and everything all at once...

So, once I'd grown a pair and wiped away a tear, the Skeleton Point Crew decided to hike the Upper Yosemite Falls trail (the tallest waterfall in North America, so I'm told). Which we did, obviously. Y'know, for kicks and giggles!
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Strangely again, it was easier climbing than descending for some reason. When we reached the peaks and the path became pure snow with pure ice beneath that, it got quite tricky to manouvre. Neither Sammy, Lindsay, or I figured on getting snow grips (who plans ahead?!) so we just manned-up (apologies, gender-not-specified-up) and got on with it. Smashed it! But getting down was an exercise in keeping Lindor from slipping the whole way down. Also, we met a strange man who offered to take a couple's baby off them now, as venturing higher was certain death. We didn't stick around with him long after that. We made it in the end though, and reclining in the boiling hot tub gave us a chance to reflect on how fucking brilliant the trek was. I think one genius (me!) described the waterfall as "disgustingly beautiful" (I'm such a poet), to which a fellow hiker replied "I know, I feel sick every time I look at it". At least someone appreciates me. You could spend a lifetime hiking the trails and peaks and parks of the world, and it would be far from a wasted life.

If you want more, check out the pictures on my Facebook.

Sadly, we had to leave Yosemite, but we were heading to this year's Super Bowl city now - San Francisco! They were making preparations for the big game (it's like soccer, right?) while the weather was preparing to be an utter gobshite. It was cloudy and wet and grim and windy and my only salve was the enormous butternut squash soup served in a giant bread bowl. I say my only salve (it wasn't), but it was food related, and the food in San Diego was niiiiiiiiiiiiice (though not as good as Portland, or so I'd been told once-or-twice by Lindsay 😒).

San Francisco, like everything about the whole tour and every place we'd visited, would have been great if we'd just had more time. More time, forever my lament!
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As it was we got around Alcatraz and had the chance to meet former inmate William Baker. I bought his book. It would have been rude not to! You can check it out here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alcatraz-1259-William-G-Baker/dp/148275407X
Lindsay even has a picture of us meeting (but is keeping it from me for some reason). He thought it very nice I'd come all the way from England to meet him. I told him, Yes, that was the only reason I'd come.

Other highlights from San Fransico were the Golden Gate Bridge, the food (the farmers market had phenomenally good chocolate!), the views, the parks, the atmosphere, the food (again), the architecture, and food! As usual, Mike was a genius. He walked us through the streets of China Town, giving us history and pointers and places to go. We ate at perhaps the tastiest Chinese restaurant on the planet (it had a picture of Jamie Oliver on the wall, so you know this place was legit!) and went drinking at dive bars in the evening. Met a host of people and just enjoyed the sights and smells of The City by the Bay. 90_9FCFD0DEC8CA435938E1CDA80A35DFBA.jpeg 9FDDEFB7F369D530F26D441DE51E236F.jpeg

Without sounding glum, this next (and last) part, while beautiful and fun, was overcast with an unspoken (well, not really. We all spoke about it!) finality as we drove towards LA and our farewells. So, I won't talk about that at the end. I will say it now, and only briefly. Saying farewell sucked. Two weeks is enough to forge bonds that are hard to break. I dearly hope to see some of you again (and the sooner the better!) but if not, at least we all had this trip, and memories so good they make a smile appear and your stomach skip all at once. To quote Red: "I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone. I guess I just miss my friend."

And if this was the start of the end of our journey, then what a journey we had!

The Big Sur is the drive down the Californian coast. You can't beat it for views, but be prepared it possesses some of the most expensive gas stations in the country so make sure you have someone like Mike to drive you. Also bring along a Sam, who you will need for his hawk-like eyes On order to spot dolphins jumping along the coast.
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We stopped through Santa Barbara, the Californian Riveria, (unless Santa Monica is the Californian Riveria, and I'm getting confused between the two, which is frankly very possible!) a beautiful places with lots to do. Great places to eat and drink, and a vast array of shops if that's your bag! Wonderful pier and views of the Channel Islands (not the ones in the English Channel, obviously)

Hollywood Boulevard was a real treat. By which I mean, it is a fucking shite hole. Didn't like it the first time and even less the second. In fact, I'd prefer a day in Buffalo (probably) which says a lot! But we ate at the In-N-Out Burger (which to those outside the USA is a fast food joint with not particularly nice food; it was briefly mentioned in Good Will Hunting when Ben Affleck wouldn't give Casey his burger, and then they all got out and had a fight with a bunch of ne'er do wells - well, it's where I first heard of it so I thought I'd mention it) and to say the burger place was the highlight of Hollywood is a fair recommendation.

Lastly, Venice Beach. Gorgeous sands and sunsets with a colourful and lively atmosphere. Skate parks and muscle beach, bars and snack shops, rent bikes, buy crap, walk, run, cycle, skate! It's a busy place and a lot of fun. If you want a bit more of a scenic route, then you can check out the canals (built with the intention of creating a Venice-like waterway system, hence the city's name, before the idea was scrapped for lack of money). They might look a bit dry and naff and stagnant, but the walk around them is relaxed and quiet and maintained well.

Sadly (for me), this brings me to the end of this part. I know there are glaring omissions in the events, and certainly bits of information I've got wrong and confused about, but too bad! All I can say is if you like any of this, you really need to go on this trek and tour! You won't regret it! You just won't have the same group of people. Don't worry, you'll meet your own.

It's just this group was one of a kind.
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From left to right...
Front row: Maria, Jena, Linda, Camille, Tamara (Tammy)
Back row: Mathea, Miriam, Ra Hel, Katharina (Princess), Sam (The Moustache), Lindsay (Lindor), Me (Adam 😒), and Mike (the legendary tour guide)

The Skeleton Point Crew
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Posted by WrightA 12:49 Comments (2)

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