Arriving in a War Zone

Trip Start Jul 02, 2006
Trip End Mar 02, 2007

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Flag of Venezuela  ,
Saturday, November 4, 2006

I will start with another airline gripe.  Iberian Airlines is the worst airline in the world - initially they lost my bags for five hours on arrival to Madrid, then they realised my flight to Caracas was actually the next day and eventually the following day the flight was delayed another five hours.  The bonus of the whole situation was a free night in a four star hotel, all inclusive - not a bad way to spend your last day in Europe.

Caracas... Well commonly you read in guide books that a place is dangerous, that you should avoid certain areas ect.  This can definately be said for all my reading on Caracas.  Usually you can reassure yourself with a chat with a few locals who tell you if you avoid certain areas then you will be fine... not Caracas.  In the hours of delay at Madrid airport I managed to chat with four Caracas locals all of which had been held up, at gun point in the last two years!!! 

So with Iberians delay I arrived at 10pm to this crazy war zone of a place, no accomodation or plans as usual.  Bus from the airport to the centre of the town and then into a taxi.  Now the guide books talk about "pirate taxis" in Caracas - taxis that get you in drive you round the corner and stick a gun to you and take your stuff.  Well the bloke at the bus station looked ok, but when i got to his 1970s lowrider "taxi", simply a car with an elasticated taxi sign stuck on the top I was a little worried.  When the car got 10 minutes down the road and had "mechanical problems" and had to pull down a side street and drive at 5kmph I had my pockets empty and ready...  After several minutes of stress and a dash from the "taxi" to another I did eventually reach the street closest to my hotel, about 20 m away.  I think the taxi drivers final words to me as I dashed from his cab say alto about this town... "Theres the enterance to your hotel. Run. Good Luck"

Have arranged a quick exit from this place.  Off on an adventure tomorrow with buses, small aeroplanes, boat rides and trecks to Salto Angel, the worlds tallest waterfall.  Officially made millionaire status here in Venezualla, the adventure cost 1 100 000 Bolivianos, to be paid in cash... considering the biggest note is 20 000 the photos are priceless. 
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