Boca de Uchire is about 250 km east of Caracas on a spit of land in between Laguna Unare and the Carribbean. We stayed at a small inn there called Sonho Meu (named after the famous Brazilian song – “My Dream in Ënglish) run by a Venezuelan woman, Marianela Brisceño. She lived in Brazil for a time. She works hard at creating a relaxed environment for her guests, and she treated us like family.
I offered to pay my sister-in-law Coro for the gas we´d need to get there and back. She laughed and suggested I buy lunch instead. That led to my keeping track of the miles, station stops and cost. For the record, we traveled a total of 527 km and filled the tank twice with a total of 57.5 liters of gas (divide by 3.7 to get gallons). The total cost was about 60 cents, and when we returned to Caracas, we still had a little over half a tank of gas left. Sixty cents would buy you two shots of espresso here. Friends, that´s laughably cheap whether you earn in dollars or Venezuelan bolivares.
We had a chance to go birdwatching one morning in Laguna Unare with guide Claudio Bucon, volunteer for the Venezuelan Audubon society. Unare is a stopover for waterfowl heading down to the Amazon basin, or the plains of the Orinoco, in the interior of Venezuela. We saw plenty of white egrets, an island full of nesting scarlet ibis, brown pelicans, a couple of big black hawks, Amazon kingfishers, and many more. Claudio does bird surveys several times a year. He and a group of volunteers also do trash cleanups here.
At the dock we talked with a local fisherman after we saw the letters of a government agency on his boat. He said he supported the Chavez government because they had given him the boat. He said they had also opened a Mercal store (the government-run staple food program) in town, which had at least cooking oil, sugar, and a few essentials. In 40 years, no government had ever given him or his community anything. He thought el Presidente talked too much and many people in the government were corrupt, but he is planning to vote for Chavez again next year.