17. May: We get up early to see how the weather is, since we'd decided to take the first Teleferico to Pico Espejo. There are clouds over the mountains, so the trip is out of the question. We're back to sleep till almost 10:00, Annewien's unfortunately developed a cold. We have breakfast at our Posada and then set off on an alternate trip by bus to Jaji. Jaji is a small, quaint little village near Merida, supposedly having local Andean architecture.
We first take a bus from Calle 25 to the Bus 'Terminal', from where all long-distance buses depart. We hang around for about half an hour till our bus to Jaji leaves. Well it isn't really a bus but rather a large van. At first there are hardly any people in it and I wonder how the driver could make a living transporting just so few passengers, since the fare's so cheap. But all along the way, the passengers kept changing at each stop. The driver himself was a man in his 50's, wearing a tie and playing good Salsa music on his car-stereo.
By the time we get to Jaji it's quite hot and bright in the noonday sun. I'd thrown away my sunglasses after one of the screws at the side had fallen off, and my makeshift fix using a wire to hold everything together didn't work anymore once a metal piece broke off.
Jaji is small and sufficiently cute and interesting, but not overly so: there isn't really that much to see. We wander through the streets, the neat houses with their colourful paintings on them are the the highlight of the town. Finding lunch isn't so easy, since there are hardly many restaurants in the first place and most of them are closed or serve only dinner. We decide for 'Posada Jaji', having a nice courtyard with a fountain in the middle. We decide on local food for a change, 'Bavillon', and Annewien takes 'Muchacho'. The food is so-so. The parts of Latin America we'd been to certainly weren't the place to savour major culinary delights (or else we just missed them?).
We catch the bus returning to Merida and we have the same driver as before. In Merida, we visit the "Coromoto Ice Parlour", offering the most ice-cream flavours in the world, and is listed in the Guinness Book of World records! We're amazed at the seemingly never-ending selection, containing has such delicacies as 'shrimp', 'spaghetti', 'caipirinha', and various types of meat. I take a simple ice-cream. Tastewise it's ok but not spectacular.
After returning to the Posada for a bit of sleep we look for another tourist office. We find one which has a Venezuelan called Luis who speaks very good German, offering some interesting options. One of them is a discount package to Los Roques islands. He also gives up the tip that we should visit Laguna La Fria when we take the Teleferico to Pico Espejo.
We have dinner at an interesting restaurant in the first floor of a building overlooking Plaza Bolivar. We take the 'Menu Ejecutivo' for 2000Bs each with a good soup, chicken mojito (?), rice, salad, mango juice, coffee and a great coconut/piña sweet dessert. Yummy, we were really full after that! We then try to find a place to dance, but no luck.
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