VENEZUELA: ESCAPE FROM CARACAS

One of the must-sees is the teleferico, a cable car that goes to Mount Avila. As a person who is scared of heights, going up in a cable car in a relatively poor country isn’t very easy. I rode with a family who decided to walk around the car and take pictures from all four sides of the car, while the little boy kept saying “Please don’t let us fall.” I concealed my panic attack pretty well, giving the appearance of strength through weak smiles every five minutes to the little girl staring at me. The views were absolutely spectacular, and it pumped me up that this city may not be so bad. But 30 minutes after the ride I was back in hell choking on the air, wondering exactly when my fingers swelled up into thick sausages.

I made friends with the hotel receptionist who took me and her friend to the best that Caracas has to offer: malls. The luxury malls are frequented only by the middle and upper class. One must not miss the irony of me going to malls in the traffic nightmare that is Caracas, especially since one of the reasons I went there during Christmas was to avoid the commercialism and traffic associated with the holidays here. They have very fine malls, with American stores, food courts, and decorations. In Caracas a lot of bars and clubs are attached to the outsides of the malls, so it seems to serve a social as well as consumer function.

During a couple of Polar Ice beers, a drink I would see a lot more during the trip, my new friends informed me that I shouldn’t take public bus transportation to other cities. “It’s not safe, we’re Venezuelan and WE don’t even take it.” After much internal debate, I booked flights for the remainder of my trip, to Margarita Island and Merida in the Andes, increasing travel costs to unacceptable levels. I thought I remembered reading on the internet that the FAA does not endorse Venezuelan air safety, so instead of getting mugged at a bus station I was aiming for death in a fiery plane crash.

There was excitement in the air when it was time to leave Caracas, a city that I think is the more evil twin brother of Naples. The cab ride back to the airport was probably the highlight of my visit there. We hit the usual traffic while I sit with my shirt over my nose to filter out the exhaust. In gridlock we had to go through a tunnel, which unfortunately for me is doubling as a very effective suicide contraption for carbon monoxide poisoning. It was chaos: constant horn blowing, broken cars in every lane, drivers pushing jalopies through the tunnel, people on foot selling water and cookies – cookies! – in between lanes. As I slowly lost consciousness and fell “asleep”, I couldn’t help but think of the movie Escape from New York. Still in the tunnel of death (we were in there for an hour), I wake up to the jolt of an SUV smashing into us. With the SUV attached to the taxi for a good two minutes, I wondered if the taxi driver was going to get out of the car. He doesn’t, and neither does the SUV driver. He doesn’t speak a word either, and we drive on like nothing happened. We finally get to the airport a hour later after passing some construction that reduced eight lanes into one.

Margarita had such promise when flying over it. The beautiful turquoise water surrounded an island landscape filled with endless hills and mountains. It definitely felt like a make-believe place you can escape to and not have to worry about anything except maybe getting mugged and fending off elderly women offering you massages on the beach.

The drive from the airport to Porlamar, the largest city on the island, was a nervous ride through shantytowns that reminded me of Caracas. In my South American travel guide, I read about Hotel Imperial: safe, a/c/, hot water, parking, English spoken. So why was in the ghetto? Turns out that they didn’t mean safe as in “You’re in a safe area,” but safe as in the hotel HAS a safe. I drop off my stuff and go to the beach, expecting an awesome crowd of beautiful people. Instead there is only two families there, including a guy who started chatting me up and asking me what I thought of his Columbian wife. I’m all for threesomes, but the way things were going I’d probably be tied up with one of those red ball things that go in my mouth.

I was determined to make this vacation work.

“Is there a place with a lot of people?” I asked the hotel clerk.
“Hmmm, there is people in Sambil. You should go there.”

I get in a cab to head to Sambil, which turns out to be a huge mega-mall. This is my third mall in three days. Is God punishing me for rejecting Chrismas? Another cab ride later I go to Senor Frogs, a place my guidebook recommended as ‘popular’. I walk in and there are kids and adults dancing on chairs in a Venezuelan version of Chuck E’ Cheese. I burn my guidebook. I think Senor Frogs beats out the shantytown I walked through earlier as the absolute worst place in Venezuela. I walk around the area and fail to find a bar that had more than two people. I take a cab ride back to my place and complain to the hotel clerk that there are no people, no girls. “Oh you want a girl for the night? I can arrange that.” The way the trip was going, I should have let her make the call.

In my room I decide to grab some reading material to use the facilities, an activity that brings me some joy back at home. But my toilet is broke. Plus, the seat was cracked, so when I sat on it, I partially fell in the toilet. Then I noticed that my sheets were completely soiled, and the only channel I got was showing Wild on E! with hot women dancing in clubs at exotic locations. If I was a girl I would have started crying.

I wanted to go home.

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. Venezuela: Sabana Grande

36 thoughts on “VENEZUELA: ESCAPE FROM CARACAS

  1. Anonymous

    Haven’t read good posts on your blog recently until the Venezuela entries, keep it up. Forget blogger spit wars, this kind of sarcastic humorous writing is what brought people to your site in the first place

  2. chicbutnotshady

    I don’t know if I can read more… so sad for you DCB. You should have stayed here in boring old DC and met me at starbucks. I cannot believe how evil this place sounds…

  3. Lonnie Bruner

    You’re a really good writer.

    Did you come across any showerheads like this? Basically a jolt of electricity hits the water to “heat” it right before it lands on your head. Sometimes you get a little shock. They’re all across South America.

  4. Matt

    If you are ever interested in understanding why Venezuela, Panama, Columbia, and Equador are in this state of horror, read “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” by John Perkins.

  5. Jesus Christ

    Sorry dude. I need to talk to Hugo about his country because its unacceptable to the standards I’ve set for everybody else to follow. Next time, hit San Juan or San Paulo if you wanna have a latin good time.

    P.S.– My dad is obviousily pissed at Ariel Sharon for dividing the land. Remember that Biatches!!!!!!!

  6. Whatever

    Good for you for toughing out a rough trip. I hope it got better! I had a similar experience going to a beach in Peru–not much of a beach and no bars to speak of.

  7. Meat

    What’s the big deal? Nothing bad really happened to you. Caracas is for sissies. Try a trip to deepest, darkest Africa and see how you hold up. I guarantee BAD things will happen to a candy-ass metrosexual frat boy like you in Abuja or Kinshasa. Stay in DC and suck your lattes.

  8. DCB Post author

    Jinxy aka “Meat” you must be really bored. Such sloppy trolling. Maybe use that time to work on your site to make it more readable?

  9. Sudamericana

    Hilarious! And I was expecting it to get better once outside Caracas… Oh, wait, it did get better, at least for us readers.

    “I?m all for threesomes, but the way things were going I?d probably be tied up with one of those red ball things that go in my mouth.” Now that would have made a good read!

  10. writing a marketing plan :-)

    this is too funny………..i am sitting here cracking up, visualizing what you are saying…..i love the misery you had to put up with…keep it up……pain often creates good writing…..

  11. anicegirlwhoreadsdcb

    jinxy has a scary blog. i just looked. what’s up with the awful red writing. too ugly to read.

  12. nabeel

    So… had a rough time in South America didn’t you, DCB? at least for the first two parts of your trip. be thankful you weren’t mugged… or worse.

    now that you’re back here, and you wanted to come back here some points of your trip… maybe you won’t knock America and fantasize of other parts around the world as paradise full of obedient women who are willing to be your maid when you marry them.

    As some guy who has been around some places in the world, I do say that America DOES have it’s flaws, but it’s still better than most places around the world.

  13. Liz

    If you want an adventure, go to Morocco. I had the opportunity to go there for a brief visit when I was in Spain this past March.

    That country is like none I’ve ever seen before. I want to go back sometime.

  14. Anonymous

    Maybe God wasn’t punishing you for having a negative reaction to American commercialism. Maybe he was forcing you to face the reality of it.

    American commercial influence = Hot chicks dancing around looking like exotic versions of American skanks

    Lack thereof = Shanty towns where people steal your kidneys

    God bless the American Dollar, and I hope this tail ends with something other than you crying yourself to sleep every day in your hotel room.

  15. Anonymous

    yo CDB,
    I bet you cried like a little bitch!
    grow some balls will you? you were around the hottest, sexiest and probably horniest women in the world and you “wanted to go home”

    you should have started in Brokeback Mountain.

    what a fag!

  16. Anonymous

    in “the 40 year old virgin” movie, they forgot to put down my favorite line (originally part of the script, but simply too funny for the big screen):

    -you know how I know you are gay, CDB?

    -Because you went to Venezuela, did not get laid, bitch like a little princess girl, and just said at the end “I wanted to go home”

  17. Venezuelan citizen, living in the US since 2005

    Dude you are such a li’l girl!!! hahaha man did you stayed in a 2 star hotel? please dude come on, if you have the money you can do whatever you want in venezuela. I have a question for you: Where do you live?. I asked this question because it seems you have never been in traffic or been around people. By thw way the best time of the year to visit Margarita is during easter!!! haha for real the island becomes a 100% party island during easter. Lots of alcohol and latinas. so u better plan anew trip to margarita next year. hehehe

  18. Anonymous

    You are such a dumbfuck. That probably is because you are like most Americans…thank God in this wonderful country there’s still a decent amount of people that go to fucking awesome places like Venezuela and never wanna come back. Cry me a river and become a grown up man already…Venezuela is probably one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been to and I can’t get enough of. If money is your issue traveling, why don’t you go to Disney World, instead of complaining like a little girl.

  19. mp

    I’ve been to Venezuela several times and I think it’s an awesome place.. you obviously didn’t plan your trip well.. Caracas is like any major city there’s bad areas and boring places too.. and I’ve been to Margarita island and I remember that it was featured on Wild on E! once.. so there’s something wrong with your picture of it.. Also, Every big city has traffic so you complaining about traffic shows that you should be living in a small town instead.. Next time.. stop complaining and open your mind to new experiences and “get a better traveler’s guide” :-S Good luck

  20. mp

    HEY!.. here’s what E! online has to say about Venezuela and Margarita island…

    Venezuela
    Where It’s At
    Situated on the northern coast of South America, Venezuela is a country with rich landscape and history. Located northeast of Caracas (the nation’s capitol), Margarita Island is one of South America’s trendiest and most exotic beaches.

    Accommodations
    For a great experience, stay at the Margarita Hilton. For more info, email [email protected].

    Why It’s Cool
    Soak in the sun at the trendiest beach in Margarita, Playa El Agua, which is great for windsurfing…Visit the mangroves of Parque Nacional Laguan dela Restinga…Head to Coche Island on the Moondancer Party Boat. Ask for talented party coordinator Emilio (and tell him E! sent you)…Sample Brooke Burke’s favorite Venezuelan dish, arepas: white cornbread stuffed with various ingredients.

  21. Anonymous

    Next time Go to Aruba.. Its near Venenzuala by much safer (still you should stay out of main town at night) . While in Caracas I loved telefarico , meet the most beautiful women I have ever seen, thought the country was beautiful but… I was robbed at gun point by two guys outside my hotel of The Gran Melia. I also felt a little uncomfortable also that armed police were stationed inside the hotel. Also I never asked why the rooms all had a motion sensors in them, made me uncomfortable to see that light in the corner of the room come on each time I moved in the middle of the night.
    Oh and the cab ride back to the airport, driver pulled over to side of road for no reason behind a vehicle with a covered (army style ) back of the truck. After a minute the other vehicle pulled away and we then continued on as well. I have no idea what that was about but it didnt seem good. Nice country place to get a postcard from but way to dangerous for me!

  22. Russell

    Margarita island is very safe infact it is safer then aruba. I am an american that can not stand my taxes going to the slaughter of innocent woman, children and men. I am moving my whole family to margarita in june for good. I refuse to live in a giant terrorist base.

  23. web guy

    Same thing that i wrote on the other blog, it is ludicrous to go to Venezuela or to any other country with no one that knows the country, because no one will take you to the cool places. Margarita Island is amazing, that hotel clerk knew shit, Playa El Agua, Parguito, Caribe…there are so many beautiful beaches…and when it comes to nightlife, Kamy beach is the spot, not Sr Frogs, that’s for kids and their parents. And for our information, the FAA considers venezuelan aviation to be in Category # 1…so, it is not unsafe to fly here.

Comments are closed.