Giuria, Backpacking South America
Eight Months On the Road
By David Rice
After the Venezuelan military inspector ended his search we got back on
the bus and we headed for a peninsula that is not far from Trinidad.
There we would get a ferry from the port of Giuria for the three-hour trip to
Trinidad’s Port of Spain.
Along the way we had a breakdown and after several people looked at
the motor and a few more climbed underneath, they determined, after
two hours of discussion, that we had to change buses.
On the next bus, I took a seat beside a young woman and had a pleasant
conversation as we rode through the tropical countryside. She had
booked a room at a hostel near where she would get the boat to Trinidad
and she invited me to spend the night at her place. She was from a small
town in Venezuelan, she spoke broken English, and like me, was
heading for Trinidad.
She offered me space for the night in her room and I took the offer.
There is a fraternity out there among backpackers. People get out on the
road for a long time and they meet other backpackers who provide
company. People just don’t want to be alone all the time. There is a
camaraderie among the fraternity and shared pleasure and, at times,
In some areas, security is at the top of the list so to hook up provides
security and safety in numbers. Joining others also can be a money
saver: rides in taxis, tours of ruins, rides on boats, all can be shared and
result in savings.
Most backpackers you meet are going along the same route that you are
and you know that somewhere down the road you will meet again. The
backpacker grapevine is helpful too, providing conversation and good
information. All people have to do is trust you; you gain their trust and you
trust them; once trust is established, there is no telling what will happen.
Because of the search by the military and the bus breakdown, we arrived
at her place at two in the morning and the manager said we had arrived
too late, there were no rooms left. With no option, we headed back to
town via the taxi, paying twice the price. We flopped in a posada located
in a private home and woke early the next day to rain. We headed for the
dock to book a boat for Trinidad.
Chaos surged around us as we fought the rabble in the ticket office trying
to get a seat on the boat but we never got one. Soaked by the tropical
rain we headed back to the hostel, we hoped for better luck in the
The next morning the young woman and I arrived at the boat dock early
but we were confronted again with a huge line. We took our place and
settled in for a long wait.
When I saw the price schedule I realized that I needed more money so
she held my place while I headed for the ATM. I left my pack at a house of
the family where we had stayed and they said the would watch it.
I found the ATM but it would not dispense money so I went in the bank
and presented ID and filled out papers. I paid a fee and did get money
after a long wait and then headed to the house to get my pack. When I
picked up the backpack, a ton roaches jumped out and scurried in all
directions. Zillions of Palmetto bugs leaped from every compartment it
seemed. I had to empty everything out to get rid of them.
By the time I got back to the dock the young woman was already aboard
the boat and I had lost my space in line.
The other passengers and I complained and begged and demanded until
they finally brought up a second boat, a local fishing boat. Twelve of us
went aboard after the official checked us through immigration. As it
turned out, with fewer passengers to check, we actually left for Trinidad
before the first boat had left the dock.
After a three-hour trip across the bay, we arrived at Trinidad and entered
a harbor full of luxury yachts. They shunted us to a dock further down the
harbor away from the luxury marina and then they held us on the boat
while we waited for Trinidad immigration inspectors.
It was ten hours before the official arrived and then he searched every
suitcase so thoroughly that it took fourteen hours before I left the boat, a
total of 17 hours on that miserable deck.
Giuria, Bus Backpacking In South America
Eight Months On the Road
By David Rice