I usually start my blog night, sketching out some ideas and trying to find a way to not make it suck (aka find out ways to make lame attempts at humor) and to figure what would people care hearing about (without coming across as a social media narcissist, probably a fail). However, things in the Venezuelan infrastructure have been challenging.
For example, as many may have read throughout the last week or two up to 70% of the country have experienced power issues. Monday night, our school and many of the surrounding neighborhoods had no power. Imagine having a toddler to entertain and provide for like my friends Randi and Jon. On a less serious level, many classrooms did not have AC today due to that power outage (mine being one of them). She was a bit humid in the ole room today- kids were hurting.
Apparently, my neighborhood has been rationing water (I didn’t know we started, no announcement or anything) for the next two months (as I’ve been told, in Venezuela “two months” could be two times two months). I was never great at math, so that’s cool. I don’t need to do dishes (anyone that knows me understands that dishes are the bane of my existence. When I grow up I’ll have a dishwasher and kids to use that magical device), laundry or shower at specific times. It’s not a huge deal, but sometimes it’s frustrating.
Also, the internet has been out. No streaming football, watching concerts, iMessaging or reading websites. Again not a huge deal, but a slight annoyance. (it's obviously back now)
So it goes.
|Nice lake around the mountains eh?|
|Paper, scissor, rock. Luis and I lost and got stuck pushing us out into deep water.|
|Not a bad view, the water wasn't bad either.|
|Luckily, he did not eat the bones.|
We spent most of our time in the water playing a hybrid, David-created version of football, kayaking, canoeing, and general soaking. We hung out there for a good 6-8 hours before heading to our posada (think motel, but within a security fence that has open areas to eat, play Ping-Pong, and cook).
We got some pizzas, beverages, played dominoes, Ping-Pong, guitars, and just relaxed. It was a really chill evening. Due to the sun, water, and long week, most people bowed out early.
David and I led the league in early bed time (not together [not that there is anything wrong with that], for him and for yours truly). Diana and Luis kept things going with some great guitar and singing until about when everyone else called it a night.
the group split up, some heading home and some staying to go to a different beach just a few blocks away. I enjoy bodies of water with sun and waves, so I stuck around. The place was PACKED, but we bought a few morsels of shade for 250Bs and set up shop. Most of spend the two hours or so in the water, a few others read or laid out. We then packed up and hit the dusty trail. (There is more below, just make it through the pictures.)
|Main Street towards the beach.|
|Almost a Kwik Star.|
|No one on the beach.|
|The other side of Tent City.|
|My man living waiting to sell some floaties.|
|No swim suit, no problem.|
|This guy had crazy knife skills. He first swallowed the knife then cut up the coconut.|
The drive back is always crazy because people still try to go to the beach . Traffic is wild, and when you factor in the Venezuelan model of driving (do whatever and the hell you want, when you want) things can get interesting.
For example, we were heading up the mountain that contains lots of switchbacks when this giant bus painted with all the hues of hell comes barreling down at us. Not only does this thing look like it came to life out of a demented Cars move, but it also has giant hubcaps of death like it came from Mad Max. Needless to say, evasive actions were executed and Morris navigated us from danger.
Side note: this mountain roads are not like in the Rockies, their “safety rail” usually is a yellow concrete slab that is about eighteen inches high. To ease the fear of our car, I calmly explained that there is nothing to fear because if we got launched off the yellow ramp of doom, we’d never feel the impacted a few hundred feet later. It’d be quick.
Long story short, we made it back to civilization and Lorena took us to a BBQ joint that had some great steak and the best onion rings I’ve ever had in my life. Luis (Lorena’s bro) is giving me the recipe, so any of you that want to try some will have the chance if we grill out in December when I return to the West.
|The posada from the outside.|
|Motel style, but within the safety of the external wall.|
|"And I'm like baby, baby..." No ladies it's not Bieber, it's Morris.|
|One is men the other is women. I have no idea which one is which.|
Anthony Bourdain Travel Thoughts of the Week:1) Highways here are not even the same type of road as they are in the states. These things are littered with potholes, tires, and debris that would be better off if they were a Matchbox car ramp/track. The “highways” are full of drivers (probably on their phone) who will pull the Chicago exit (three lanes or more at high rates of speed), or stop whenever they feel it is necessary. Lining areas of the highway are people who are selling a variety of goods and food. Not like an oasis or at an off ramp, literally ON THE HIGHWAY shoulder. Oh, and the shoulder is actually a third lane, unless there is a car parked there then it is a one-sided game of chicken.
2) Shoulders/ditches are actually a very handy compost pile/garbage. They are very easily accessible even in the state parks. Once you are done with some food, have trash, or don’t want that empty beer can (yep saw it in front of us) just give it a heave and let mother nature take care of it. I also saw a nice ¼ chunk of thick cut python. It not only smelled horrible, but was scary. I hate snakes and to think that big SOB is out there just hanging around for me is not awesome.
3) Bartering here is awesome. I bought some beverages and bottle of rum and we managed to talk the guy into five free cigars and some chips. Go gringos!
4) I know Mr. Bourdain said it himself, but seriously, plastic chairs and tables are the dinning furniture of choice here. From the roadside coffee joints, to the sit down cafes in towns- they all use them.
5) Venezuelans are very innovative. While many do not have the means to acquire parts/items they need to complete a task, they can make it happen with a little thought and effort. I am constantly amazed to see how creative people can be without the resources. Makes me feel like I’m too pampered and need to do more for myself.
6) Beach communities are weird, it’s a hustle and bustle to get you to take their boat and they are focused on making sure you choice there. Guys met us at the edge of the town and literally ran barefoot beside our van to guide us to the place where we would take the park, take the boat, re-park, and get money.
7) Don’t get money at an ATM. Most don’t have any and others usually require a multi-step process (ask to use it, have someone call the owner, wait for the owner to get there, have the owner/manager clear it) just to get it your money out.
8) If you experience car trouble, pull off the road, or just want to leave your car in the road so you can talk with friends just do the following: put an empty yellow oil can in the road, put an orange triangle, or burn random garbage and you are good to go.
9) I saw some high level entreprenuership this past weekend. A middle aged guy decided he would make a few bucks by parking his car in front of a bridge to stop inbound traffic to the town, to limit traffic to one lane (it was safer), and collect cash for doing so. Ingenious idea. It's literally free money. Tip of the cap to you my friend.
10) The last few days we have have had 20-30 minute submersions of rain storms. What I mean is imagine as hard as you think it can rain add a tropical climate and multiple that times pour drainage. It looks like roads are canals and the mountain parts are mud slides with red stream running all over. I'm from Iowa and have seen some crazy rain, but man this stuff just falls differently.
HUMP DAY is over. Best of luck the rest of the week.