Wednesday, August 8, 2007
We are really looking forward to the calmness and sanity of europe. It will be quite odd to speak english again in London.
Yesterday was the worst day of the trip. We got away from a robbery, then driving our bikes to the airport in tshirts and jeans we got hit with a horrible thunderstorm (our riding gear packed away for the trip) and were soaked to the bone.
Caracas is horrible in many ways. The WORST traffic in the world. One hour to go 4 miles on motorcycles with us going on sidewalks and between cars whenever possible. Ten cent a gallon gas, and barely a public transportation system will do that. Every left over american V-8 is here....ford fairline 500's, LTD's, Continentals, etc. Taking up space and gas, often without taillights.
Pictures of Chavez are everywhere, as is the danger. 100 murders a week is the common figure. The police are corrupt, apparently they steal motorcycles when they need parts for theirs. (This from the dealer who sells and services their bikes). Many people are fans of Chavez, usually less educated and not business people. Many people speak of the brain drain in the country and how the situation here is making people crazy. We have had 4 people from different parts of the country say the exact same words "people will kill you for your shoes".
Still, the city is growing and new buildings are being built. There clearly is money here, we have seen ferrari's, porche's and an MV Augusta on the road. The bmw dealership has been fantistic to us, and we have met many nice people there. Many of whom have personal harrowing stories of attemted robberies and kidnappings.
We are supposed to do a photoshoot today for a colombian "people" magazine called "Caras". They are interested in Clara's travels around south america..
They have the most precipitous barrios we've seen in some time. Funny enough, some neighbors have painted their casas in multiple primary colors as opposed to the usual unfinished red block and concrete.
There is also a black market for american dollars which is almost twice the official rate! You can get 8 months in jail if caught exchanging them, but people still come up to you in the street and ask if you need to change money.
Did I mention the ten cent a gallon gas?
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