Apr 15, 2007

LOTS of pictures to sort!

Dang, and I'm not kidding either. My new roomie is asleep, so this won't be the longest entry, thus FURTHER dividing my blog into sections because man... Saturday was like a week long vacation packed into a single day... rainforest, boat ride, jeep ride, beach, aquarium trip, more beach, shopping, cute little roadside stand to get Coco Loco (it's a drink, you rampant cocaine addicts), sunset, dinner, strippers... ooh, piqued your interest with that last one, didn't I? That hotel has EVERYTHING!

We got up on Saturday morning, applied COPIOUS amounts of sunscreen and bug spray, packed up our stuff for the trip, which means Nina (Grr) and I had bags, and David *thought* he was just taking a wallet, but as a man, made himself in so doing, the 'spare bag holder', aka man-who-doubles-as-living-purse. Usually, you don't get one of those until you're married, but David is an overachiever.

First off, I discovered that when you arrange a jeep ride... let me retract that. When you arrange ANYTHING, for god's sake, get the name of the guy you talked to and the company, lest you end up in front of the hotel watching the FLEET of jeeps from different companies arrive, and have no idea which one you're booked on, nor where your alleged voucher is or whether you were supposed to get one.

Fortunately, a guy from the awesome hotel ran up and identified us in Spanish, hurriedly handed me the voucher, and vanished. More comforted now, since by that point, I was half-convinced we'd missed our tour, our chariot arrived... a very nice, modified jeep arranged so that people could sit either next to the driver, in a bench seat behind the driver, or sitting across from the other passengers in the back which had an opening one could stand up in and yell "Woo!" at passerbys, which I believe, as translated through the Pimsleur language program means: "I have too much money. Please rob me. I am an idiot American/German tourist..."

Speaking of Germans, there are a bunch of them in Margarita, but not too many Americans, so they seemed to like us largely for the novelty of having us. At least one country doesn't hate us! REALLY wasn't expecting it to be Venezuela, though...

Best yet, unlike the other jeeps that pulled up that were packed so full of tourists, they needed a ring-top to open them, our jeep had only us!!! Not sure how we lucked into that arrangement, except that the guy I spoke to on the phone must have intuited that we were awesome. Yeah, that's it. Or so socially inept as to not be trusted around other people... or the only people on the tour that didn't speak German or decent Spanish... (lots of mainland Venezuela tourists on Margarita too). Whatever reason, it was nice. Private tour!!!!

We met up with other members of the caravan in a little town where we met the main guide, the one who spoke excellent English (and his sidekick, an English guy who spoke excellent German; I didn't ask).

Our guide. Aqui esta George:

He's holding a map of Margarita while essentially saying "Yes, you will be seeing all of this. No, there aren't any hidden charges. Just the 40 bucks... for a 9 hour jeep tour. Yes, gas here costs 60 cents a gallon."

The little town also provided our first of many opportunities to buy muchas cosas, and unlike Porlamar on Good Friday, there were people in the shops!! So prepare for vacation-gifts, family! The town also had the first of three birdie photo ops (also free), providing us with the first glimpse of Grr's hatred of them... tsk... do we now have a vegetarian that only eats parrot?

Polly says: "I'll see you in hell, bitches!"

After Grr's near death experience with the parrot, which consisted largely of her pointing out that birds, inexplicably, have beaks and claws (and feathers), we were off again! (and boy, is Grr going to make me pay for this entry, but not to worry; we haven't gotten to David's hair yet!!)

This time, after getting permission from our driver to stand up in the back of the jeep and yell "Woo!", we were whisked off and up into the mountains, through little towns where people waved at us (even when we were woo-less) and smiled and generally acted like they were glad to see us. Hooray for Margarita people!

We first stopped at a national park that featured mangrove trees, a short hike, and a really pretty view overlooking Porlamar. Observe:

We got drinks with the Caravan, and then back into the jeep to zoom along the Venezuelan highways and backroads until coming to another little vendor area... or so I thought.. turns out it was the dock to our cruise!!! Boat ride through the mangrove swamps, and those little boats were VERY close to the Jungle Cruise boats at Disneyland, but with some horsepower! Yet AGAIN, the three of us were treated to a private vehicle...

Aren't they cute???

But alas, not everyone could go...

Having seen what water does to a midrange Olympus digital camera, I don't even want to CONTEMPLATE what it would do to that thing.

So we'll end here for the night... you don't get to find out about the mangrove swamps yet (or if a hippo rose out of the water and wiggled its ears, indicating we had certainly taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque). Ha ha!!!

In the meantime, my laziness means we're racking up other events... curses!!!

New roommate is one of the St. Vincent 6th termers displaced by the recent crime wave. She's cool, and tends to dispense wisdom about what to expect, which is a DEFINITE plus. She's also from San Francisco and likes the room at subarctic temperatures as I do. No power bill until next term and I wants my moneys worth of my housing cost! Bwa ha!!

Lyla/Leila/Lana lane, but never Layla, which means "sheep" in Arabic thus she doesn't appreciate my singing Eric Clapton songs at her, had her magic 21st on Wednesday! Which we ignored to take her out to dinner on Sunday, because that's how med school works! We WANTED to take her to Margarita with us, but someone wanted to be responsible, stay home, and study. Feh. She also got robbed of her legality milestone since I think the drinking age in Grenada is 18. Poor thing. But I gave her a Venezuelan mask with a vertebrae (not human) stuck in it, so hopefully that'll make her feel better... some chicks like diamonds... I'm partial to dry bits of animal carcass, and I project that love onto others. Be advised if you ever want a present from me...

And speaking of birthdays (and mom's is on the 18th with her unbirthday on the 17th, so don't you THINK that I forgot you and rip out the mom guilt on me), Grrr celebrated turning the ripe old age of 26 on Friday, which she only did so she could be more like me... heh heh... she's going to hit me really hard in class on Monday for this blog entry.

For Grrr's 26th, we all went out to... uhh... expensive hotel across from Spiceland Mall. I don't think that's what's written on their welcome sign, but that's what it's called now. VERY nice restaurant in there, great ambiance, bug spray provided upon request, steel drum player more than willing to play happy birthday, NICE, TIMELY waitstaff who were also willing to ice a cake for the birthday girl, and (drumroll) lambi (conch) that wasn't chewy and steak (David's order) that wasn't the consistency of toothpaste! Damn, there's a reason they're expensive! Though actually, Grr's order wasn't outrageous. I'm going back there soon for that creme brulee with nutmeg ice cream though. When I saw that listed as a menu item, I thought any minute I was going to end up in my biochem exam in my underwear and then I'd wake up with a start...

And speaking of waking up, one cannot wake up without first going to sleep. Adios and goodnight!


Anonymous said...

what i said, was that parrots have at least a few hundred pounds per square inch of force in their beaks...not: aaah! it's going to eat me! or muahaha! parrot for lunch!, or omg, it's going to kill me, and i'm going to die...

no, i just thought i might drop it (i know, parrots have wings, still...)

and be more like you? how do we know you didnt find out that i was going to turn 26; decided that it was just so cool i was doing that and you simply had to try it? you were probably copying me you know...


Anonymous said...

I had a friend visit Germany a few years ago. They loved her there. Thought she was one of the coolest things in the world.

Gas at 60 cents a galleon, oh I could just...freaking US moneygrubbing economy

Once again, loved the pictures. Keep em coming!

- Patrick