Thursday, September 19, 2013


Pico Bolivar, Merida, Venezuela (Dec 18, 2004)

--- Originally published on December 17, 2004 ---

Piggy in Merida
Today we woke up again before dawn, to catch yet another plane. This time our destination was Merida in the Andes, where we will spend the rest of our vacations visiting Mayli’s mother. The flight was ok, even though I miscalculated in which side the Sun would be during the flight and couldn't almost make any decent photo of the wonderful landscape because of the sun glare on my window (I should have chosen a seat on the other side of the aircraft). Ah, we also lost the luggage, that fortunately arrived after a few hours (when flying from Caracas to Merida you have a 50% chances of losing your luggage, at least according our personal statistics).

While we were looking for our luggage, Mayli’s passport arrived, but nobody at Mayli’s mother house could get it. We will have to go to the courier office on Monday, when it will be open again. Then we spent the rest of the day at the house of Mayli’s grandmother, where there was a family reunion to prepare... guess what? Hallacas (in case you don’t know anything about hallacas, read the previous post). I made some photos there, including the one posted on the left, which I am sure a certain reader of this blog will like a lot.

--- Updates (September 18, 2013) ---

The reader mentioned above is Jennifer, that so answered the post:

"Ciao, looking at the pig again, really he is so beautiful, and such a smart looking blue eye... can you guys bring him back for me please? I’m serious. You could put a blanket around him and pretend he’s a little baby (remember Alice in Wonderland, they did that very thing)....a presto."

The original post had the piggy as main photo. While I was revising the "digital roll" of that trip, however, I noticed that maybe some of the photos from the plane were salvageable, so I replaced the main picture with a photo of the Pico Bolivar that, just shy of 5,000 m, is the highest mountain of Venezuela. If you read the Wikipedia page, you'll see that the mountain has two small glaciated areas. These are the remnants of a much larger glacier that one hundred years ago was covering over 10 squared km. It is estimated that by 2020 they will be entirely gone, making Venezuela the first andean country without glaciers.

Notice also how the yellow-rusted propeller plane is flying really low in-between the mountains. Landing in Merida was in a very impressive experience, as the city is laying on a plateau in between these very tall mountains, and finding the runway is quite an acrobatic feat that not all pilots know how to do. I used the past tense because a few years ago, after one of these small planes crashed on the mountains killing everybody on board, the airport was closed and it is now necessary to land far on the valley below, and then drive to Merida on a long narrow road that gets regularly flooded and covered by landslides in the rain season. This is very inconvenient (I bet the road is more dangerous than landing in Merida) but also a pity because the aerial view of these mountains is really breathtaking.

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