My Travels…

December 7, 2008

Venezuela

Filed under: South America — Tags: , , , , — Glenn @ 3:43 am

Well, I have returned to Venezuela and things are still the same.

Just a little background…

I’m in Punto Fijo, Falcon, Venezuela which is on the Paraguana peninsula. Look it up on Google maps. It sticks out like a sore thumb. I’m working at the Josefa Camejo thermal power station. The plant is a big deal here. There are some small plants that don’t generate enough power for the area so they have a lot of blackouts. This plant is being built to solve that problem. It’s so important that we were shut down to fix some minor problems when the government told the owners to get the plant running again for the elections. They  wanted to be able to use the plant as an example of the good things they are doing for the people (remember, it’s a socialist government here). I guess it worked as Hugo’s girl Stella is now Gubenedora for this state. He did lose Caracas, though. Here’s a recent documentary on Hugo Chavez from pbs.org.

Air travel in Venezuela is a bitch. The flights are always late if they go at all. When I first came here I was told my flight tin country was canceled due to bad weather. I was also told I was late for it even though I was 1 1/2 hours early. I was at the airport the required 2 hours early (4 AM) and the flight was still 1 hour late taking off. Same story today. I was at the airport at 4 AM and the flight didn’t leave until almost 7 AM.

The hotels here can be hit or miss. I stayed at a four star in Punto Fijo when I was here the first time. It looked nice but there were problems with mold and people getting sick from either the kitchen or the water (they have water coolers on each floor). The three star some of the people stayed at was decent looking but had an excellent restaurant. Plus the big mall in town is just down the road so there’s something nearby to do if you want.

We use a limousine service when we travel through Caracas to take us to the hotels and the airport. We usually have to stay overnight and fly to Punto Fijo the next morning. Last night the limo driver took me to the wrong hotel. I had  to hire a taxi to get me to the right one. This caused me to not get checked in until around 1AM this morning. I had to be up at 2:45 AM to make sure I was ready for the limo that was going to pick me up at 3:30 AM to take me to the airport. The limo never showed up. At least the hotel was nice.

This time we’re not staying in Punto Fijo. We’re staying at a very nice resort. It’s named Eurobuilding Villa Caribe and it right on the ocean about 15 minutes from work. It’s pretty new and very luxurious. They just opened a brand new building and we’re staying there. It’s basically a suite with many amenities including a fridge. We wanted to stay there the last time but we were told it was a security risk as the drive is through a remote desert. Now apparently, that’s not an issue. We’re all staying there. Anyways, It has a semi-private beach, Very nice pool, restaurants, and bars including a swim up bar at the pool. The scenery at the pool and beach is also top notch if you know what I mean ;-). There are several beach stand restaurants along the public beach on either side of the resort that are supposed to be very good. Walk up, pick you fish, and enjoy.

The people are really pretty nice here. Some of them are kind of cold but generally they’re fine. The ones that speak English are very curious about Americans. They’re also pretty open about their feelings about the government here which was a bit of a surprise to me. Many aren’t happy with Hugo’s policies. It makes sense when you see the level of poverty here. There are a few haves and a mess of have-nots with some middle class thrown in. The area isn’t much to look at. It’s an industrial area so most of the people work in industry. There’s also a lot of marine work here as well since it’s right on the ocean. There’s a huge oil refinery right next to us. I’ve heard it’s the largest oil refinery in the world (wiki link). That’s where a lot of the jobs come from.

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