When you step out of the Western World everything suddenly changes. And Venezuela more so. Walking out of Caracas Airport, it really hit me that I was back in Latin America - the blast of heat, the palm trees, everyone shouting at you ´amigo amigo´or ´my fren, my fren´, people hissing at you or clicking their fingers at you to get attention. And later on, the fact that using the break is the last option for a driver, regardless of the vehicle, from an articulated truck to a scooter, they just honk their horns at anyone thinking of crossing in front of them, basically saying that if you get in my way i WILL smash you to pieces.
I arrived at the airport at half twelve at night, fucking great, to realise that the price id been told a taxi would cost (buses had stopped running at this stage) was the equivalent of 75 fucking dollars. Screw that. I also met a German guy who had been followed and robbed at knife point losing his wallet and 1200 Euro from his credit card. Also everyone told me that around the airport was well dodge so a night of kipping in the airport awaited me. Got the bus the next morning for $5.
Originally I had only planned to couch surf in North America but after the success I had there I reckoned that I´d give it a lash occasionally in South America too. In Caracas I was forced to out of necessity as there are zero hostels to stay in. So I couch surfed with Frane for two nights. Really sound lad and quite a different experience to my previous ventures as he lived with his family. This turned out to be a great change. His family were dead-on and good fun but it was his mum that really made it! She was like a good ole ´Irish Mammy´in that she insisted on feeding me to the gills from the moment I arrived to when I left. Heaven ! And they say that you should never trust a restaurant with a skinny chef, she was a big plump woman who was a serious operator in the kitchen. Half thinking of only couchsurfing with people who live with their parents from now on !
Frane was bang on and showed me around a fair bit but I reckon he was really stretching himself as Caracas´s charms dont exactly jump up and bite you in the face. To be pretty blunt about it, its a bit of a dump and its very difficult to get about due to atrocious traffic. On the second night, we went to Belles Artes area to meet up with a few of his friends which was a good laugh.
Nothing negative happened to me in my two days there but I had been extensively warned about the place so I was doggy wide the whole time. Many of the stories I´d heard were involving the cops which is pretty unnerving as they are the ones who are meant to be protecting you. Its practically impossible to talk to anyone in Venezuela without the subject of Chavez rearing its head. He´s either adored or detested. I´ll go into more later. Frane, being middle class, absolutely fucking hated him !