The Times had an article yesterday about how being a travel guide writer is not all that it’s cracked up to be. The introduction caught my interest:

In March, Thomas Kohnstamm, a 30-year-old Seattle native on assignment in Caracas, Venezuela, for Lonely Planet travel guides, walked out of a bar in a neighborhood called Sabana Grande and quickly found himself in trouble. A group of young men emerged from darkened doorways and set upon him. He was pistol-whipped and knocked to the ground, and the bandits began rifling through his pockets. Angered to learn that Mr. Kohnstamm had the equivalent of just $8, the thieves demanded his belt, his shoes, and eventually his pants.

…the police arrived. Armed with submachine guns, they ordered the bandits against a wall and retrieved Mr. Kohnstamm’s possessions ? including his ATM card. They then explained that for purposes of their investigation, they would need to know Mr. Kohnstamm’s PIN. In the end, Mr. Kohnstamm said, the police shook him down for just $25, but in the process, he gained a priceless bit of wisdom about the Sabana Grande neighborhood of Caracas, which he dutifully reported in the “Dangers & Annoyances” section of his Lonely Planet guide: “Caracas has some well-known issues with petty crime, robbery and armed assaults. These problems are not just hype and should be taken very seriously.”

I went to Sabana Grande on my second night in Venezuela. My guidebook must have been dated because it recommended I stay there because of the low prices. By the time I got off the Sabana Grande metro station, I already learned not to look at my map at night. I walked up the metro stairs and directly into the center of a huge flea market. It went on for many blocks.

The vendors were selling clothing, food, crafts, and useless junk from China. I guessed that a permit wasn’t needed to set up shop, and even though everything seemed to be chaotic, there was enough order for these people to run their business. I finally broke out of the vendor area and started walking down the sidewalk, taking note of specific landmarks so I could find my way back. I walked past shady food stands, trash, broken street lights. There was no sights, no bars, or decent restaurants. I don’t have any pictures of Sabana Grande for two reasons: 1) there was nothing to take pictures of, and 2) I would have gotten jacked. I was back on the metro in 30 minutes. Sabana Grande is not necessary for your Caracas experience. While I could argue that Caracas is not necessary for your Venezuela experience, there is humor to be found in its traffic, pollution, and crime.

Things looked up a couple days later on island. Less thugs, more women. Friendly women.

30 years old, bartender, excellent dancer

Venezuela Table of Contents

1. Venezuela: Urban Hell
2. Venezuela: Escape From Caracas
3. Venezuela: Water Beach
4. Venezuela: A Reggaeton Christmas
5. Venezuela: Russo Does Not Respect Me
6. Venezuela: Question and Answer
7. Venezeula: Sabana Grande

13 thoughts on “SABANA GRANDE

  1. saoco

    dumb mf. I hope Kohnstamm puts pictures of his broken nose and black eyes on the guide, maybe then some people will buy that crap.

  2. Lonnie Bruner

    That makes me wonder whether the Lonely Planet writers write warnings about particular neighborhoods based on where they got their asses kicked. For example, this would prove to the newcomer that Georgetown is the most dangerous neighborhood in DC.

  3. O-face

    West Side fool….Throw up your dubs…I guess it must of been the Armani and rolex that tipped them off. I’m glad they didn’t kill him….But the asswhipping is way to funny….The bartender, if you cut off her head with photoshop and put on say Shakira, well then she looks dam fine….

  4. aja

    Dcb: is it possible you were not approached bcus u may have blended easily? I personally thought you were Spaniard at first glance.

  5. Twoste

    I’d give anything to be mugged in Venezuela. Then it would be “I’ve been mugged in 10 countries.” Nine and counting…nine and counting.
    Venezuela sucks though. The food is really bad.

  6. Fake DCB

    Where did that feature go where posts by DCB/Sally/etc. which created a grey table around their comment?

    I liked that, that way people could not pose as DCB/Sally/etc.

  7. web guy

    Why did you even go to Sabana Grande? It is like one of Caracas’s worst spots…and one of the most dangerous as well…Tourists should visit places such as Las Mercedes, Valle Arriba, EL Hatillo, La Castellana, Altamira….

  8. Kelly

    Don’t advertise the hairiness of your body, little tip, women don’t like it, but if we already like you it’ something we can overlook.

  9. Ignus

    why did you go to Sabana Grande? Is not surpise that you were going to get robbed?hahahahahaa
    Twoste, where did you go to eat?if you were in a neighborhood like Sabana Grande, of course you ate crap!! Venezuela is not like mexico as turism spot, there are very nice places in Venezuela but is not turists friendly!!
    So, the best recommendations is to go with a person from Venezuela or unload big money to take you to places like Los roques, la blanquilla or something similar..then you will see the other face of venezuela

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