Saturday, June 30, 2007


We have made our way to the Carribbean coast - hurray! Yet another Ocean for me to dip my feet into. We havent yet, but we will tomorrow. The town is called Cumaná and it is the oldest town or settlement on the South American mainland, dating back to roughly 1500! And founded by the Spanish.

It has really colourful buildings, music blaring from every little corner and is fantastic for people watching. Which is what Lee and I did this afternoon. We sat in the sunshine, on a bench in yet another Plaza Bolivár - each town in Venezuela seems to have one, named after their freedom fighter Simón Bolivár, will explain later - with some sandwiches and watched all the people hang out, drink coffee, play music on their portable bombastic speakers and my favourite - watch the badass Chevy´s, Corvettes, Mustangs, Ford´s and other Duke´s of Hazard stunt double cars cruise by rumbling along. Man, these cars are cool. Plus, you get the most mis-shapen buses and trucks going by too, obvious results of welding torch crazed lunatics set free in a junkyard.

The other phenomenon about this country is the obvious presence of very, very cheap oil. Petrol is cheaper than water, and you get the smell of it everywhere - my theory is, its so cheap, people are bathing in it, cooking with it and even drinking it - definitely explains the fiesty stuff we get as coffee in the morning. Makes my head go off bang.

Money is an issue here. Only because there is the official rate of Bolivars that Chavez has pegged against the US dollar to 2150 Bolivars. But the black market rate is nearly double, so by bringing lots of US dollars you can make your time in Venezuela much cheaper. The issue is, you need to find someone who will exchange your TC´s and cash for you, and as we head to more remote towns along the coast, the chances get less.

And finally - the amusing live gameshow that I have recently become. Whenever I am out and about walking through cities or towns, I quite often get a call out by a random stranger on the street - shouting names of countries that they think I am from... for example - ´Good morning India!´is one such line. Or ´Colombia!´or ´Brasil!´or ´Mexicana!´and I have checked, there was no one else near me at the time. Except for Lee. Um. I wonder how many points I´m worth.

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