Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Random Thoughts From Of Caracas

A Stormy Caracas skyline

Just back from Venezuela. I forgot the interface cable to my camera so I wasn't able to post anything while I was there. Thoughts and observations on Venezuela:

  • The entire country has no concept of personal service. The Bolivarian revolution has bread a generation of workers that believe they're fully entitled and thus have no motivation to provide a quality product or service. They get paid one way or the other.
  • While Hugo Chavez rants about empowering the poor, the Presidential Palace is surrounded by his homeless countrymen (and women) sleeping in cardboard boxes on the streets.
  • While a complete loon, President Chavez is by far the most entertaining head of state there is. His multi-hour press conferences are just one long entertaining stream of consciousness that often delve into song, comedy and poetry.
  • The Caracas skyline is marked by tall concrete buildings that now provide housing for the poor; sort of sky-rise slums.
  • The Venezuelan military is probably the finest looking military I've ever seen. Soldiers, weapons, and equipment all maintained to a very high standard. As an ex-soldier I couldn't help but be impressed.
  • At pennies for a gallon of gas Venezuela has the largest collection of 1970's massive V8 sedans that I've ever seen. It's not uncommon to see a Buick Riviera taxi cab.
  • Motorbikes are everywhere, helmets are required. People wear bicycle helmets as they speed in and out of highway traffic at breakneck speeds. I have to imagine that motorcycle-related death is the leading cause of mortality in Venezuela.
  • Venezuela has contributed more Miss Universes than any other county. That's the national trivia question asked by every taxi cab driver.
  • The Latin diet will not get an endorsement from the American Heart Association.
  • The parks are full of runners, cyclists, and bladers. Something that was unheard of 10-15 years ago.
  • The Wonder Bra company must certainly be based in Venezuela.

No comments: