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Monday, April 19, 2004

Sittin' on Top of the World
Well, I was pretty close earlier today. My guide Carlos led me WAY up into the Andes--close to 4000 meters in altitude (You do the math--I'm in a noisy internet cafe in Merida with children crawing around by my feet). Very beautiful. Though the mountains are as tall as the Sierras in California, the tropical latitude means that there are plants growing way up there. The predominant plant looks like some sort of super pineapple; a few were in bloom with pretty yellow flowers. Carlos is a Chavista who said he spent most of the night before dancing and the rest of it screwing. Still, he was ready to go at 8:30, climbing miles into the Andes.

They only charged 50,000 Bolivares (about $17) for eight hours of Carlos' services (not the type he was giving last night). The price included a Jeep ride to the trailhead and a public bus ride back down. I gave Carlos a $20 tip.