Finally after four days in Santa Elena de Uairen and more four days in Kumarakapay today I would start my last and biggest adventure in Venezuela. My inner clock was still working and I woke up one hour before meeting time. My back pack was more or less ready since I had started the project Rio 2016 and just needed a few additions and reorganizations. For a second I saw Toni still in his clothes from yesterday and figured that the party must have been long. He probably had to organize a few personal things at the vegetable market of his brother before now he would have the time to change; he was walking towards his house. Timelapse at Sunrise.
The neighbors from the posada were going for breakfast to the snack bar of Toni’s brother. A minute later Juan and Sylvie arrived there as well, everybody was on time. Breakfast was over and the whole group came to my parking to take some pictures and say good bye. The chance to meet on the way up at one of the camps or at the top was real and the good bye was friendly. They had become friends overnight thanks to Toni’s aunt 72nd birthday and lots of rum and beer.
We had agreed yesterday to park my car between the restaurant of Toni’s brother and his private house. I was ready, Juan and Sylvie arrived as well and my group was ready, except for our guide Toni. The clock passed the agreed time of 08:00 hours and passed a 30 minutes allowance. Juan became a little bit nervous and a strange feeling reached us all. I walked to the house of Toni but he had just left, the strange feeling had not. When I arrived back at the restaurant Juan told me about the conversation, or better say the non-conversation that he had with Toni. Toni was drunk and could not lead a conversation, he could not speak and he could hardly stand. Timelapse in the morning.
The situation escalated, it became very clear now that Toni was in no condition to walk and in no condition to guide us to Mount Roraima. Juan must have had a conversation already yesterday with his neighbors because he picked up very quickly the idea to talk to them. He came back to me and they had confirmed their offer to include us into their group which would leave tomorrow. We had a small conversation between us but with a clear and good alternative at hand we decided to cancel Toni. He wanted to safe the situation, offered tomorrow, but the good flow from yesterday had disappeared. We went to his house to get our money back, except for the food that had been paid for.
Toni said that he had deposited the money already, a lie. Juan really felt personally insulted by this lie, put the finger right into Toni’s face and shouted he would have 30 minutes to give back the money. The wife, the children, the cousin, the neighbors and finally the brothers got involved, except Toni. He was barely standing, was definitely sad and had now understood his great mistake but had nothing more to say than a very strange childish innocent grin in his face that children have when they got caught with something. My money turned up inside the house, 27.000 Bolivares and 50 Reales, still missing the two 50 Euro bills from Juan and Sylvie. 50 Euro had been paid to the driver and 50 Euro exchanged and spent. Juan shouted again and again and gave Toni another hour to get the money. Timlapse in the afternoon.
The driver had problems with the car somewhere in the savannah, I took Toni and we drove to pick up one half. We did not speak, picked up the money, he fell asleep and we drove back and handed over one half. One last time Juan had to shout and the brother negotiated with the money exchanger to give back the 50 Euro plus a loan for Toni of the exchanged money of 40.000 Bolivares. I expected the day to be slightly different but the intensity was definitely worth Mount Roraima. Maybe tomorrow.