The village of the many bananas – back to Boa Vista
Well, I didn’t get my Venezuelan food last night. The border is very relaxed for Brazilians and Venezuelans but for Europeans, we would have had to pass through immigration properly during working hours and not just slip across for a restaurant stop. I was slight concerned since the very serious and heavily armed border guard walked away with my passport – Luis (M) who is Venezuelan thinks that I was suspected of being American military – my hair cut and language being the issues. But we did go across the border so I am claiming another country.
We ate at another restaurant in Pacariama which made me feel almost guilty we didn’t go to ‘Donna Ritas’, it was like being unfaithful since she had been so friendly. Food was a large fish, a tambaque – but we also saw the sadder side of the people issue here. An old lady and young children were selling hand madebow and arrow sets (which we brought a few) but these were displaced indigenous people living on the streets under larger tarpaulins – practically pointless given the power of the local rains. I just wish someone was looking out for these vulnerable people.
We had aimed to sleep in till 7am and sample at a few sites whilst returning to Boa vista. Thanks to a 2 and 4 year old in the room next to me I was up again by 5.30. But it was soon time to hit the road. At the first stop, we brought ‘red’ bananas – tesco take note these are both delicious and funky. This was very appropriate since locals directed us to a community whose town name translates as ‘the many bananas’. We met the head of the village who usually porters to the Mt Roraima tourists; he had climbed the mountain >100 times and usually does 3 trips a month in high season.
A gentle 6 km in the clinging mud and 30+oC temp!! My phone says I can now eat a whole tub of Ben and Jerry’s and my calories will be in balance – pity there’s none around.
The rest of the day was taken up by driving back to Boa Vista with occasional stops as we passed through contrasting biomes – soil types, vegetation etc to sample worms. Now this sounds like a really dull activity but we were so engaged that we forgot all about lunch – we are just strange people I guess. But seriously the countryside is so beautiful and vast….well you had to be there.
On the last stop, we pull a few km off the main highway and ask a resident permission to sample – he immediately entered into a very animated conversation with George about vermicomposting while the rest of us started to dig – but it was 5.30 and the place was teaming with black fly – I couldn’t have been more miserable. So I made a note to myself – never build a house on a black fly nest!!
We are now back in Boa Vista and will attempt to organise a air taxis into the foot hills of Mt Roraima….wish us luck.