Delenda Est Carthago

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!


Waterfalls from a new perspective on Picture Day!

I try to get these up on Mondays, but 24 is on, damn it! I know everyone breathlessly awaits our photographic journeys through the years.

We have been in Venezuela in August of 1999 for a bit, and today it's time to head into the interior of the country and do some hiking and flying! We caught a plane early in the morning on Margarita Island and headed to Canaima National Park, which is deep inland. We were going to head back to see some waterfalls, but first we had to get into a dugout canoe and cross a vast lake! Check it out:

You may ask yourself, "Why is that water so polluted?" Well, it's not. Yes, it's the color of iced tea, but Venezuela has, as yet, not quite destroyed all their fresh water! Give Hugo time! The water is actually stained with tannins, which are leeched from the trees in and surrounding the lake. So the water is brownish. It doesn't burn your skin like acid when it touches you (that would be too cool!) but it does make the water weirdly greasy.

So we jumped in our canoes and headed away. The other canoe had a bit of a problem. It actually ran into one of the trees in the middle of the lake:

This was uproariously funny to those of us in the other boat (or was it just me?), but there was a danger for a minute or two that they would capsize, which would not have been pleasant. Luckily, they extricated the boat from the branches and we were off again!

We hiked for quite a while through the scrub brush, and even though it was an overcast day, it was very humid (it's the rain forest, after all) and we were all sweating profusely. But we finally reached one of the waterfalls, and wandered around for a while. I post this next picture not to make you lose your lunch (it features a grotesque man topless) but to show you the fine Venezuelan safety precautions at the edge of the waterfall:

Look at where we're standing! "Go ahead," the Venezuelan authorities say, "Walk close to the edge, Yankee boy! One wrong step and there's one less stinking capitalist pig to worry about!"

Then we headed behind the waterfall. I don't know if you've ever been behind a waterfall, but it's pretty keen:

Again, I apologize for the ugly man in the center of the picture. But the effect is neat!

We had a bit of a harrowing experience behind the falls. We had to walk single file along the trail, with a few guides interspersed among us. We were near the front of the line, and toward the end, our guide had to go back and help a person who had freaked out (it's actually somewhat claustrophobic, and pretty dark, naturally). She told Krys, who was in front of me, to just follow the trail and it would lead right out. So Krys and I kept on, when suddenly my wife disappeared. I mean it. She was walking, and she just fell straight down out of my sight. I freaked out (understandably) because of the darkness and the fact that you couldn't hear anything over the water, so I didn't know what to do. I bent down and saw that Krys had fallen into a pretty sizable hole in the rock, but she was at least not at the bottom of the falls dead. We got her out and made it to the other side. Presumably the guide would have steered us around the hole. Krys had a bloody knee from where she hit the rock (she still has a scar) but was otherwise okay. Needless to say, we were a bit grumpy with the person who freaked out behind us. Just walk and it will be fine, people!

So we had a nice time at the falls. When we got back to the plane we flew deeper into the rain forest to check out the longest waterfall in the world: Angel Falls. We could have hiked to the falls, but that takes days. So we flew. We had to pay extra for this portion of our trip (the whole day, not just the flight to Angel Falls), and there's no guarantee that you'll be able to see the waterfall, which is often shrouded in clouds. So our picture isn't great, but it's still pretty neat:

Then we flew back to the boat. A long day, but a good one. It was time to relax again!

Next week: relaxing! Didn't you read what I just wrote?

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Blogger Belladonna said...

Very cool pics. You are sparking my wander lust again.

We are trying to pick our next trip and have been kicking around the idea of Belize, but I dunno, these waterfalls look way impressive.

We've done Fiji, Costa Rica and Egypt - each was great in their own way.

Of all your travels, what would you say was your favorite trip?

22/2/07 10:49 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

That's a good question. This trip is high on the list, because it was so relaxing. The Egypt trip had more highlights and was longer, but it was also more hectic. I honestly can't choose - anywhere we get to go that's a vacation is wonderful!

My father-in-law has been to Belize and he loves it. We also want to go, if that means anything!

23/2/07 10:20 PM  

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