Welcome to VENEZUELA
" The land of small beers and big cars "
And above all, home to the amazing BOLIVAR cult !
[Simon Bolivar was the hero who liberated 5 South American countries from Spanish rule, among them Venezuela.
Thence all subsequent rulers of this land have felt compelled to erect a likeness of the man in every town square in
no exceptions ! (no matter how small or remote the town) as well as in any other conceivable place of any significance
such as the tallest peak in the Andes etc.etc.]
Some would argue that Venezuela is a culture less country with crap food and crap music ,
ruled by crazy commie dictator Hugo Chaves. This however is NOT true !
- Venezuela has one of the 3rd world´s great garbage cultures !!!
Trash everywhere ! Nobody in V has heard of recycling, or trash bins. This is a result of a complete lack of
environmental consciousness in V. The current government being especially disinterested in environmental issues
as it is too busy spewing anti-imperialist hot air and political propaganda in order to stay in power ,
while this gasoline soaked country (of 15 cent/gallon-4cents/liter state subsidized gasoline) is proudly
leading this planet to it´s fossil fuel induced greenhouse grave. My freediving skills were in fact put to
great use in V as holding your breath is a very necessary exercise throughout the country due to the population being
stuck (& in love) with their beat-up US made V-8 gas guzzlers from the 1970s, oblivious to the noxious clouds of exhaust
fumes which are your constant companion even in the remotest villages "where the buses don´t run".
But every cloud has a silver lining. At least in V one can fart at will !!! No one will notice !
So while in V, Let it RIP !
- The music ; Reggaeton (nothing to do with reggae) sweeping the Caribbean.....
what can I say.....
Want more ? el Caballote , Don Omar Y Mario IV
, Mercenarios , Daddy Yankee (gasolina) , Daddy
Daddy Yankee (al galope) , Alexis & Fido ,
Wisin & Yandel , M&M imitation
- The food ; I guess I´d have to agree. Shit food, as is the norm in South America. Greasy, unimaginative, flavor-
less and void of greens. I´m talking about street level food of course, as anywhere in the world big $ buys
you anything. As one local food they´ll serve you "arepas" (mainly for breakfast). These are dense oily flat corn
breads filled with something heavy....pretty un-appetizing, except in Merida (high Andes) where they have delicious
wheat arepas. The main regional food is called "comida criolla" which is basically your average euro-nosh with a fried
plantain thrown in. Rick insight ; The food in any given place on earth usually reflects the culture (or
lack of it). Places with substantial old cultures usually have substantial unique cuisines. South America has no
cultures, except for remnants of native stone age cultures and recently introduced colonial European ones.
Colonists often have more pressing business than food (i.e. genocide etc.). The state of S.A. food reflects this.
As S.A is a gastronomically challenged continent Vegetarians and other special interest diners be forewarned.
So, bottom line: Venezuela is a primitive country. Mentally archaic. Catholic.
And yes, it is ruled by an arrogant asshole very familiar with "dictatorship 101":
- Keep the propaganda - brainwashing machine in full swing.
- Control the movement of everyone (One cannot go anywhere without registering. Can´t even take a bus.)
- Rig elections. Intimidate. (I heard many anecdotes).
In other words V has entered a Cuban-like communist death spiral into misery,
so far saved only by her immense oil wealth.
All this then begs an obvious question, why go there ?
Well for the same reason you go to other 3rd world shitholes. NATURE !
Once one manages to escape the man made "shitholes" one often finds oneself in a most worthwhile place.
Venezuela is loaded with some of the most worthwhile and fascinating places on earth ! , and would have great
tourism potential if they got rid of their hostile government, and $50 exit tax !?!
So for now hordes of gringo tourists are at a minimum, which I guess is a good thing.
Let´s have a look......
La Gran Sabana (the great savannah)
the lost world
Ciudad Bolivar is the northern gateway to the great savanna.
It sits on the famed Orinoco river.
That bridge, "puente de Angostura", is the only place one can cross this 2000 km river !
Plaza BOLIVAR !
The charming posada "Don Carlos".
You'd be well advised to not try to save $$$
going to Angel falls by using an outfit called "Adrenalin expeditions"
due to very poorly organized tours (as we found out the hard way). Using tours offered at this posada may be a better bet.
The highest waterfall on earth ! ( 980m )
Plunges off the "Devil's mountain" or "Auyan Tepuy"
Discovered by the great American bush pilot Jimmy Angel
Roraima tepui (2800m)
The Gran Sabana proper
(North of Santa Elena de Uairen)
Santa Elena de Uairén is a relaxed place with lots of these ultra cool
Toyota landcruiser 4.2 cruising around. My dream car.
We sent home a package,
mainly to avoid having more stuff stolen by Venezuelan military at the numerous road controls in this region.
It required 82 hand glued postage stamps !
I was pretty sure it would never arrive...
4 months later, by Venezuelan airmail.......Oh lucky man !
From Santa Elena the vast expanse of the Gran Sabana is within easy reach.
Modern Indian villages and waterfalls.
Here's the fantastic "Quebrada de Jaspe" , a stream bed of pure Jasper rock.
A horrible city in a polluted valley, that appears to sleep like a baby by 22:00
Although tropical there are no restaurants & cafe´s spilling onto the sidewalks. It has a very shut and
Orwellian feel to it, probably a legacy of the heavy U.S. influence during the pre-Chaves decades.
This makes it feel somewhat abandoned and not exactly safe, on top of being surrounded by as many enormous
hillside slums as any city in south America.
Shopping malls !
Sabana Grande, the main shopping promenade in Caracas.
The teleferico takes you up the mountain that separates Caracas
from the sea to pico El Avila at 2175 m.
El Hatillo is a popular 500 yr old colonial town in Caracas.
Don't waste your time, nothing special.
Very funny, to a Brazilian.
Even though Caracas admittedly does host a few hot numbers,
this here is your
average Venezuelan body type.
In V even the clothing shops have chic names.
The costs are roughly 50 - 100 % higher (may 2006) than the latest LP.
Black market exchange rate = 2350 -
That's almost 10 gallons for a buck !
Enough to fill up my rental for a dollar !
Venezuela serves you up a hardcore time warp experience.
The cars are the ones I used to buy
old & used in LA 20 years ago,
and the gas prices are what Elvis paid driving home after his first gig !!!
Only Cuba is cooler, pushing the time warp all the way back beyond the 50s !