Trip To Be Cut Short, News at 11!
If you haven’t yet heard, it looks like we’re going to be cutting our trip short, or at least changing the itinerary. Due to political considerations in Venezuela, we’re not going to exit through that country, and instead we’re going to ship our vehicles out of Brazil. In particular, the Chavez administration is charging huge export fees for anything heading back to the States. That, and the anticipated “lubrication” make it financially undesirable. We’d also be arriving around the time of elections, a time of predictable instability. Being Americans driving flashy American vehicles, our guide decided that we didn’t need to expose ourselves to those kind of situations. And so he called the trip.
We are still going to head north in Brazil for a few more days, hitting the cities of Recefie and Joao Passoa, the easternmost point of the Americas. After that, we turn back and head to a port, either Salvador, Rio or Sao Paulo. The other option is to drive back across the continent and ship from Arica in northern Chile. In any case, Harold is never going to see the Amazon and I’m not going to drive across the equator on this trip.
How do I feel? Disappointed, that’s for sure. Okay, the main goal of my trip, to complete a drive from Alaska to Argentina is done. With that alone, I have a great sense of accomplishment. And in that light, Brazil was kinda an add-on – a bonus. And I have been traveling for about a year now, staying in one place for a few weeks at the most. Four months of that have been in foreign countries where I don’t know the language (that well). I’ve spent more money than I thought I would (big surprise) and I still haven’t figured out how to get more. The pace of this guided tour is also taxing, as it never quite syncs with what I want to do. Sometimes, we race through an area, other times, we sit in a place far too long. And mentally, I’m ready for a break and am thinking about taking the first flight back to the states as soon as Harold is tucked into to a ship. Order myself a nice lager beer in English and give my brain a break, maybe even get a job. (Did I just say I needed a break from vacation? I guess I have traveled long enough.)
On the other hand, I DID write “Arctic to Amazon 2006” on the side of my camper (still has a good ring to it). It seems silly to be all the way down here in South America and miss one of the wonders of the natural world. Ending the trip on a “failure” is not what I had in mind. The option is to take a flight to the Amazon city of Manaus from whatever port we ship from and see the river from there. It would be a wonderful gem with which to finish this trip.
So, here I am, thousands of miles from the States, and no clear way to get back.
Now that’s what I call “F-U-N”!