Out of all the places I have traveled in Central and South America, I never set foot in Venezuela. Well, except a 20hour lay-over in Caracas back in 2009, during which I stayed in the airport because it was a dangerous city. Well, it still is not the safest.
Of course recent political events have made Venezuela a country where imbalances are part of the everyday. At the first hotel we stayed at in Margarita (Hesperia Playa El Agua), people talk about Chavez and politics in the pool, on the beach, and everywhere people make a quick joke or comment, talk about it in taxis or in restaurants. The division between the rich and the poor is one that is significant. Normally, the poor are those who are “chavistas”, and they get many benefits: a house, medical, benefits if you are pregnant etc. And the rich,
obviously do not like this and are not for socialism. However, I am not going further into this discussion.
Rather, let me tell you a bit about the few shocking this I have noticed during the trip that I believe are worth mentioning:
Let me tell you about the currency here, it is something like I have never heard of, and even Venezuelans say it is a nightmare. The black market for currency is un
believable. The tourist that travel to Venezuela, and decide to get “bolívares” before coming here, will get one exchange rate (1US=6.3 bolivar as of today, Oct 10th if you check XEconverter). However, when you get to Venezuela, you can get/buy different rates for your dollar. When my partner was here in February, he got a rate of 1US= 17 bolivar. Now, as we are here, the rates have been 1US=40-42 bolivar. If you do a quick math, it does not take you a long time to realize the inflati
on and the problems that this is bringing.
Another thing worth mentioning is the prices of gas. Now, this one here is hard to believe but let me tell you, it is true. Prices have been frozen for about 17years now. Well, it is the cheapest gas in the world: they pay US$0.09 PER GALLON!!!
Here is a reference for those who cannot believe it. And also a picture I took when we put 22.8 L. in the car.
This means you can fill up your toyota 4runner with about 1$US!!!!!
This also means that they do not really have good public transit in the city of Caracas, because it is so cheap to have a car, that everyone has one! Now, just imagine the traffic that there is in that city of 3 million something people.
Well, this is about all for now!