Barinas sits on the edge of los llanos – the low lying plains that stretch a very long way indeed to the south and east. It’s warm, and very humid.
I had a slightly extended stay in Barinas .. to recuperate from being a little ill. All well now though – Renato and Sara very kindly looked after me.
Renato dropped me this morning at the edge of Barinas in fairly heavy rain- which felt not much below body temperature. I’d been told heavy rain like that is a legitimate excuse to not cycle – Venezuelans don’t much like the rain, it seems, even when the climate is this warm. As it turns out, the relative cool is fine. Compared to the chilly rain I’m more used, it’s actually pleasant.
The road skirts the edge of the mountains, occasionally allowing a glimpse of towering peaks, while the plains stretch out to my left, apparently without limit. The road surface is mostly excellent – smooth and well sealed, with enough tarmac outside the white line to allow me to pass safely even while mad overtaking is going on.

I also had my first proper encounter with the national guard today. In lots of places along the roads here there are security checkpoints, variously occupied by the normal police, the traffic police, or the national guard. Often I am barely acknowledged as I trundle past, but today was different.
They were engaged in inspecting two enormous flatbed artics, but flagged me down anyway. I was all set to dig out my passport and explain myself to grim faced security people – I’m apparently not a threat to national security though. They were just nice lads who were curious about the lunatic cycling in the rain. They asked the same sorts of questoons that everyone does, asked what I was carrying (they agreed camping was unwise here) shook my hand, and wished me luck. They were also greatly amused that I quite enjoyed the coolness of the rain.

The rain all but stops in the early afternoon, and I’m still amazed at how warm it is- climbing will be hard indeed with this kind of humidity.
Tomorrow will be a longer day- the more distance I get done, the better for arriving in San Cristobál on Sunday at a sensible time. There is even a possibility of some company on the road, somewhere further along.

In spite of the problems with security which exist everywhere, the friendliness and openness of ordinary Venezuelans is also evident everywhere.

There is no hot water here, but that doesn’t matter at all.

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