Venezuela Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
February 10th, 2006 – by: b5ml
Crossing the Atlantic
Ten hours of tedium characterised much of the journey from Manchester via Paris Charles de Gaulle to Caracas Maiquet a International Airport but was nevertheless a worthwhile journey. Crossing over the Atlantic Ocean, on approaching the shores of Venezuela, I first caught the sight of Isle De Margarita, a vast Island second only to Cuba in size in the whole of South America. A spectacular beauty to the eye and if one thought that was stunning, the shores of Venezuela was a breathtaking experience from the air, far surpassing anything before it; totally astonishing!
The Rich and the Poor
The gap between rich and the poor is something occasionally talked about, but witnessing it in stark reality, all around me, truly had a profound effect. Seventy percent of the population lives on less those 70 pence a day. Although Venezuela is in the top 10 countries in terms of its oil resources, the country is trying to pick itself up from the legacy of corruption inflicted upon its people by previous Governments, commonly accused of a biased approach in favour of those with status or power.
Charvez The Revolutionary
Venezuela is still suffering the effects of former governance but the country is changing. Since Hugo Charvez has been elected for a second sitting as President, he has introduced reforms aimed at improving the social welfare of the population, lowering infant mortality rates, introducing land reform, implementing a cursory government-funded free healthcare system and education up to university level. His administration also reported an increase in primary school enrollment by one million students.
Laid back in Fortitude
Wherever you go whoever you see, you can't fail to notice the elements of generosity, friendliness, and conversation, and the humility through the faces of people. Personally, I would say this could be due to the hardship faced by the people of the country i.e. employment, economy, poverty. These people have suffered but have an underlying strength and moral will which helps them get on with life. One striking observation was there is seemingly no 'rat race', or the 'headless chicken' phenomenon we have here in Britain. People tend to be laid back and chilled; there is no specific timetable or structure to the day. It's a little like South Asia; when someone says '10'o clock? they tend to refer to some time in the morning like there is no rush! It might sound like the folk here are too laid back, but when it comes to life they are hard workers!
But don't be completely mislead by the horizontal nature of these people. A populace completely at ease with one another can easily be stirred up into complete fervour. Take Baseball the national sport for example, this could not only be described as another form of Religion it simply is! It runs through every aspect of Venezuelan culture 60,000 at Old Trafford watching Utd v City cannot compare to 25,000 watching Leones Caracas v Valencia Tigres! The effect on the eardrums of our descent into Maiquet a International Airport paled into insignificance a total contrast to the cacophony of noise still ringing in my ears. This and many things I will never forget; true testimony to a fact that may surprise some people yes fanaticism exists in South America but by it's very nature it's as positive as hitting any home run!
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