Day 16 (346 km)
Left Riohacha early to see the Flamingos in Manaure, looking @ the map it was a piece of cake, but after asking for directions, everyone I asked, was wrong so we went on a wild goose chase and 2 hours later I thought we were on the right spot, got a drink and asked the fellows there, were are the Flamingos? Getting all kind of vague answers, we ended up driving around the beach for another hour or so on the most isolated beach I seen in my live and where some people were harvesting salt under very primitive conditions and in the full desert sun, we gave up.... no flamingos!, turned around and hit for the Venezuela border where we reached around noon.
Checked out Colombia in 5 minutes and cancelled as well our temporary moto permit and headed for the Venezuela side, where as expected the scene was more chaotic, but I got my entry stamp quick, and took a picture of the welcome sign to enter Venezuela and got immediately the whole police force up set of taken that picture of their border.
Reminds me of the DDR mentality in the good old days, and they wanted to erase the picture and after pretending I did, all got quiet again, so this is the picture I deleted
After about 7 km, I had to see the customs for the bikes and an hour later we were on our way to Maracaibo. They changed the time an half an hour in advance, not like in the rest of the world, they used to do a full hour. So the first impression was that every Chevy Impala. Caprice, Delta 88 and every other model out of the seventies must have been sipped from the USA to here and these gas guzzlers are still driving around and as well the road is full off potholes and bad condition and in every village their are military and police road blocks to check everybody's papers. Lots of cars are parked around the side of road, with the hood open and a couple of people looking to see what is wrong, if you ever went to Havana, Cuba, you might see a similar scene!
Their whole life experience is involved in the fuel business and me being out of gas, became part of it, but their are no gas stations in operation! so I started to get worried, but eventually figured out the system. It works like this, in some area, locals have to buy a chip to get fuel, after they fill up, next to the gas station, they suck it out of their tank and sell it for a small profit to the guy who didn't wanted to wait in line, me thus! So 5 minutes later a bought 20 liters for hardly anything ( That is the minimum), put 18 in the tank and left 2 for the next guy or they probably through it away, put some additives and octane booster in the tank and 2 hours later after dark reached Maracaibo.
Checked in a fancy Hotel for 380 bolivars which is equivalent to $ 100.00, if used the official rate, but we got 12 Bolivar to the Dollar, so it worked out to be $ 30.00 or so
Beer in Venezuela is $ 0.50, Water $ 1.00 and Coke $1.50, so we are in good shape here! There are plenty of toll roads, but nobody collects, no wonder Chavez is in power here!