We also had to rule out State Department reports and the media. It’s no secret that the US media paints a horrible picture of Venezuela. But honestly we don’t even pay attention to the US media because they are a F’in joke. The only accurate thing the US has reported on Venezuela was when President Chavez called Gorge W Bush the devil. As far as we’re concerned that’s not news, it’s just the truth.
We continued to ask other travelers for info. What we got back varied from mildly negative to horrific. We heard rumors of ‘Chavez loyal’ police who would arrest Americans on sight, of corrupt police who would just rob us, and of bandits who would certainly kidnap us. We heard of bad roads with no signs and long days of driving. We heard of protesters burning tires at the border and of american-hating locals. Joy. That’s my kind of place.
Eventually we received two positive reports from people who had been inside Venezuela. One came from an overlanding couple we tracked down and the other from our new companions, Guillermo and Paola who we met in Cartagena.
We asked if Guillermo and Paola if they would be interested in traveling into Venezuela with us. I knew this would be good for us on three levels. 1) They are from South America and speak fluent Spanish. 2) They are real “street smart” travelers. 3) They traveled in Venezuela last year and have experience.
They said yes! As always, the universe has provided for Sprinter Life and we are thankful. They agreed to cross the border with us and ride as far as Coro, a small town on the coast a couple days in. These two speak NO english, so all of our conversations have to be in spanish. This has been great practice for us. We’re both finally at the point where we can hold a real conversation.
I’ve fallen in love with Guillermo. He is a very wise, calm, peaceful man. When you look into his eyes you see depth and his calm nature rushes over you. Just being around him is soothing. When I told him I was worried about bandits he smiled at me and said,
“Tree, no tengo miedo de la gente, no tengo miedo del mundo”
Translation: Tree, I am not afraid of the people. I am not afraid of the world
So, after months of debate and careful consideration we’ve decided that we will go into Venezuela and discover the truth for ourselves. We plan to spend 1-4 weeks exploring the country, (depending on the conditions). We will then pop back into Colombia at a lower border crossing and continue south towards Ecuador. We are feeling very good about this decision.