Friday 28th November – Los Llanos to Barinas

I woke up tired after a not great night in my hammock.  After breakfast we headed out on the jeeps for our boat safari.  When we stopped at the point where we were to leave from a small girl emerged with her “pet” ocelot cub.  It was one of the coolest and sweetest things I have ever seen and when you held it it made crazy noises and dug its rather sharp claws into you on occasion.  I´m not sure how long she´ll be able to keep him actually as he felt like he was at the end of his manageable, cute puddy cat stage!


Once in the motorized canoe we headed off and were treated to lots of birds, caimans and huge iguanas in the trees.  At one point they kept driving round and round in circles and it then emerged that this was to see river dolphins.  The dolphins were quite unlike dolphins I have seen previously and were, how do I put this, erm kind of ugly critters.  When you picture dolphins they are slender, sleek and sculpted but these guys looked a bit more like dolphin trolls.  They were very cool though and lovely to see.


After heading back to camp for lunch Rainer and I were driven out in the jeep.  I was dropped off in Barinas whilst Rainer evidently headed back to Merida.  The tour to Los Llanos was out of this World.  We saw the most amazing range of wildlife and the guides were immensely knowledgeable, friendly and helpful.  It´s one of the best things I have done in Venezuela and I would heartily recommenrd both it and ´Gravity tours´ the company through which I booked it.


Back in Barinas I was reminded of how unexciting the place had proved previously.  I was meant to be there for around eight hours but then the bus was stupidly late so I waited even longer.  Towards the end of my time at the bus station I got talking to a young, local lad who asked if I could buy him some cigarettes.  He did have loads of luggage with him which he told me he didn´t want to leave unattended, although part of me suspected that the real reason he didn´t want to go to the kiosk himself was as he was underage.  Unable to question this particularly adequately in Spanish I wandered slowly to the kiosk, at which point our bus arrived and saved me.  He was then struggling with all his bags so I carried one.  Then I had strange thoughts that all the army and Police people at the bus station were about to rush over and arrest me for carrying some illicit package.  I think I must have been tired!

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