We woke up this morning early to make our 7:30 departure time for Los Llanos. Chris was feeling a little better from his travel sickness, but was grateful we had a tour bus to take us directly to our destination. We arrived to our tour company and Jorge, one of the guys who worked there said – Senora, I’m sorry, but the other two people on your trip have cancelled. They were sick and decided they couldn’t go. I stared at Jorge in disbelief as there was a motorcycle rally happening in Merida starting today and there appeared to be no lodging anywhere. Not to mention we had planned our week around this trip so it seemed like a lot of work to schedule something else at this point in the game. Well then Jorge says, Sra., I have a solution for you. I talked with Tony and you can take the bus to Barinas and then take a bus to Mantecal and then call Ramon Gonzalez and he will get you in Mantecal. Okay – I turn to Chris and we decide this is what we will do – we really didn’t have the time or energy to figure anything else out. So despite the fact I have ridden buses all over S. America – I hesitantly agreed – and asked if there would be a discount for the inconvenience. In the end, he gave us about $80 back for our trouble. To be honest, the bus was no worse than Guatemala. It was pretty strait forward and not too overcrowded – everyone got a seat. We got to Barinas after 5 hours – I guess there was lots of traffic because of the holiday, but the trip was pretty and then asked about the buses to Mantecal. We got lucky on this as a bus was leaving in 10 minutes. We’re thinking – wow this was easy, we’ll be in Mantecal in about an hour because that is what Jorge said and got on the bus excited to be nearing our destination. 4.5 hours later we arrived in Mantecal – we really did not realize how far our destination was.
Dusk was setting and now we have to call Ramon Gonzalez. I ask the bus driver where I should go and he says to ask the mototaxistas – they know everything – well they actually knew nothing but send me down the street to a payphone. I then ask a guy who was selling pirated CD’s in a CD store. He was kind enough to call the number and they said they would call back in 15 minutes. Well in the end it did all work out thanks to the guy in the pirated CD store. Our ride had come to pick us up as we sat on the curb with our backpacks. I will admit there was that moment in the whole journey, like most journeys, where I thought to myself – where am I headed – did I really agree to just take a bus to the middle of nowhere and hope that some guy named Ramon Gonzalez would come find us, but we did and it did work out.