Señor Sol en Venezuela

December 2004
Using the excuse of a honeymoon, we took three weeks off our relativly new jobs to head down to Venezuela.  In true Gretchen and Matt style, our honeymoon consisted of sunburn, stomach viruses, diarreah and lots of bug bites.  We're not the type to lay around, but in retrospect, we might have wanted to plan a bit more, um, romantic?  Anyway, Señor Sol came along to be the weird quirk of Gretchen's photography.
We decided instead of doing a bike adventure, we'd do some volunteer work.  One of our complaints of doing the bike journies is that we don't stay in one place for very long and it would be nice to see how citizines of the world live.  Volunteering sounded like just the thing!  We found Peace Villiage Foundation on the web and after some emails, signed ourselves up.  The director, Manfred, coordinated our journy from Caracas to Santa Elena.
After landing in Caracas we were met and taken to a near hotel for the short night before getting on the plane to Puerto Ordaz the next morning.  That morning, another person picked us up in Puerto Ordaz and showed us around before the all night bus ride to Santa Elena.
Here we are, stretching our legs in Parque La Llovizna, Puerto Ordaz.
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After the 12hr bus ride, we arived in Santa Elena.  We needed another leg stretch, so decided to follow the plastic-pipe house water supply into the jungle to see what we were drinking.  The pipes ended in a small pool in the middle of the stream.  We figured if the other western volunteers hadn't been sick from this sketchy water supply, we'd be fine.  Señor Sol hanging in the jungle.
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Our volunteer work was a mixed bag.  Sometimes planting trees for a reforestation effort.  Sometimes fixing playground equipment for a daycare center.  Somtimes working on a new kitchen for a native village.  Señor Sol hanging around on the palm frond roof of that kitchen.
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Over the Chirstmas weekend we did a three day trek up to Cherikayen, one of the local tepuis.  The guide is probely still wondering why that pale face women would pull out the stuffed yellow thing for pictures.
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Befor heading back to the states, we took some time to see other parts of Venezuela.  Because of the New Year's holiday schedule closing much of the counry, we were limited on where we could go, so spent the extra time in cities.  Here we are hanging out on the Río Orinoco in Ciudad Bolívar.
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Other local intrests in Ciudad Bolívar.
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We spent the last night in Caracas, a huge third world city.  We splurged for the 17th floor of the Hilton for our last two nights in Caracas.
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