The Great Venezuelan Bus Odyssey (Part #5 and Intermezzo)

Let’s fast forward through my five-mile walk under a heavy rain; you don’t really want to know of every single puddle I hit on the way, or every instance when I nearly twisted one of my ankles because I had to step on a slippery stone.

For the sake of brevity, let’s just say I was cold and miserable, my feet were making sloshing sounds inside my boots, my nose was runny and I was developing a sore throat.

Let’s just skip ahead to my current objective at hand: reaching Caucagua, the nearest town, where I hope to catch a bus to Caracas, the first destination that would cover the first leg of my overall trip.

Caucagua is located at 10º16’56” N 66º22’36” W, next to the river of the same name. As far as my research went, I found out it means ‘stormy waters’ in the local native language. Very appropriate, mind you. It’s a small town that has recently begun to grow exponentially in population terms and the problems this factor entails. Given enough time, it will expand to reach the area where I live, but regrettably I’ll be too old and gray to benefit from that when it eventually happens. Originally, during colonial times, Caucagua was simply the political seat for the local haciendas that existed during that era. (Hacienda is a colorful term to designate an enormous land extension destined for growing a single product like cacao, coffee or plantains).

Most of its inhabitants are direct descendants of the slaves that had to work these lands. Because of this, Caucagua started life as a shantytown, composed of huts and shacks. It was so during colonial times and it hasn’t improved much since then. To be fair, there are a few structures taller than three stories, but you can count them with the fingers of a single hand (a four or five-storey building in this town is a skyscraper extravaganza).

As is usual in South American towns, the houses have been built in a haphazardly manner, along winding and labyrinthine roads where is nearly impossible for two opposite-going cars to pass at the same time. Caucagua’s bus station, of course, is placed in the most inconvenient of places.

By the time I arrived there, rain had finally slacked a bit; however, bus station is too big a name to designate the place. It is little more than a wide place in the middle of the town, with roofed concrete raised platforms that act as waiting areas for the potential bus passengers.

Okay, ladies and gentlemen; the main event is about to unravel. Showtime starts with my next post…

Edwin Stark
Signing Off

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