Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Rest of time in Venezuela

On Friday night "LT" and I went to a club where we had a real good time doing stuff that guys do at clubs. It was fun.

Saturday we went to go see some of the stuff in the main capital square in Caracas. It was a busy square like many others. There were lots of obnoxious vendors. We saw this museum of really kitschy South-American Jesus stuff. We saw what must have been the Abu-Ghraib of the Venezuelan Church of a few hundred years ago. (Some torture chamber in the main Chapel.)

There were lots of book vendors selling these cheesy books on alternative medicine, sandwiched between Spanish translations of Mein Kampf and Michael Moore's Estúpidos hombres blancos.

There was a big truck in the square that the police kept filling up over the course of the day with what must have been drunks and political dissidents.

At night we went to see the movie Kung-fu Hustle. It is in Chinese and it was subtitled in to Spanish. So I understood nothing. But it was still quite a bit of fun. It was actually an enjoyable movie.

Then, we went to the only open bar in Venezuela. Sunday was election day, and so by law the bars could not be open the night before. Apparently they wanted everyone not to be hung-over when they voted. As if that is what keeps people from voting. So we found an illegally open bar and went with 10 of our newest friends and drank a lot and danced till about 3 in the morning. Needless to say I was not awake enough the next day to go vote. I understand they might not have let me anyway. So I am glad I broke that law.

Sunday, after the locals voted, "LT" our Hostess, her daughter, and I drove about 2 hours to their beach-place. We went to the beach and spent Sunday night there and came back on Monday. On the beach we ate fish that must have been caught about an hour beforehand. It was pretty good.

Monday we got home and then "LT" and I went to buy gifts for our hostess and her family. This morning, we took a plane to Miami, where we are now. We should be flying back to NY tomorrow evening.

The Caracas airport is very third world. There are a bunch of taxes they spring on you at the airport, and like 12 lines you have to stand on, only about 3 of which are actually necessary. It was like the airport was designed by a pre-literate people. (Actually, it might have been.)

On the airplane "LT" and I managed to score bulkhead seats with lots of legroom. On the seats next to us was this guy who made sure he didn't go 10 minutes without offering me some of the Jack Daniels from the bottle in his knapsack. There was also an anesthesiologist from Ecuador. Neither spoke English very well, but we managed just fine.

A few observations about Venezuela.

The Venezuelans are very proud of their women. If you are having a conversation with any local and they know you are a visitor it is inevitably less than three minutes before they rhetorically ask you what you think of the women. You are supposed to make a very approving gesture. They will next point out that they have had five Miss Universe winners.

Venezuelan women try very hard to look good. Many even succeed. You can really tell that many try really hard.

A good chunk of the country blame everything on Chavez. He is the current president. Apparently he has been squandering the countries oil wealth on crap. He started by publicly killing some of the opposition, and releasing a good chunk of prisoners and using them as thugs for his party - MVR. If you are poor and a member of his party, you will somehow find a job. If you have ever voiced any opposition, by say, signing a petition or something like that, you get blacklisted from lots of jobs, especially in medicine, academia and government. Under Chavez, according to the people I have spoken to, crime rose, the economy went bad, and the country is getting run to the ground.

Apparently Hugo Chavez fancies himself the reincarnation of Simon Bolivar, the famed liberator of most of South American from colonialism. Chavez renamed everything in the country after Bolivar, including the currency, the airports, etc. ALL the coins have the exact same face of Bolivar on them. It's a bit dull.

The socialist worker's dream has not yet been realized.

There is a good chunk of anti-American sentiment around, but I was pretty shielded from it. It was on TV, radio and other public media.

The country would benefit greatly if we airlifted some common sense in to the place.

They have some pretty good food here. The satandard arrepas and other stuff is pretty good. Though, some of the restaraunts would never pass a health inspection in the US.

It is amazing how poorly the water facilities and the sewage in the country work. Most toilets are not very good. Toilet paper has a rough time time. Water pressure in showers is not up to what your average American is used to.

Finally, I am now pretty certain that Spanish is not a real language. I understood about 30% of what was going on around me. I had exactly zero minutes of Spanish lessons in my life. How did I manage to get things? It is weird.


Anonymous said...

:) spanish sounds like french. What a great overview of your time there! ok, so you weren't abducted, whew! South American women are deadly hot. I was just thinking yesterday about how nice it is to see women who spend time on themselves-that combined with good genetics....wow. You went fishing?? In Venezuela??? Oh, I'm so envious!!!! Welcome back to the great satan, btw.

bec said...

about spanish not being a real language, i actually had the same feeling about hungarian, czech and polish. i don't speak any of those languages, and had no problem in any of those places. now i look back and have no idea how i managed it.
welcome back.

Joclyn said...

The things that guys do at clubs...

Dropping "E" and making women uncomfortable?


Karl said...

Your stereotypes of men are very unenlightened. I dropped no E and it was I who felt uncomfortable most of the time;)