Thursday, August 24, 2006

Caracas II

It kinda says something about a city when the most recognizable manmade landmarks are a Pepsi ball and a Nescafe cup. For a city founded 400 years ago, Caracas is surprisingly devoid of historic buildings. I developed a theory. When the Spaniards arrived in the Great Tenochtitlan in 1521, they saw a magnificent city of pyramids and palaces, they then proceeded to destroy them and built a magnificent city of their own, with the very stones of the crumbled Aztec temples. When they arrived in Caracas, however, they only saw wild jungle, and they didn't bother. These are the historic buildings I saw:

That's pretty much it.

I don't know if you can see him, but that is Hugo Chavez's mug in the poster. As any wannabe dictator worth his salt, Chavez is busy creating a cult of personality. A friend drove me around Caracas and took me to this historic corner of surprisingly great significance, considering how pedestrian it seems. From this very corner which is at the end of a bridge, according to my Chavez-loathing friend, Chavez sympathizers shot on anti demonstrators below. Chavez's own endless propaganda, very much a la Fidel, is all over the city, where not a wall is spared the barrage of yucky socialistic lingo about the people and the revolution and the strength of the fatherland's youth and everybody is dressed in red.
I don't know how commies don't get tired of that old, shrivelled crap.

Like Mexico City, Caracas suffers from an appalling invasion of visual pollution, mainly created by huge outdoor ads like this one. Not only does one have to suffer endless traffic jams, you have to do it while seeing ads for Paris Hilton's perfume (if there is anything uglier than Caracas, it's Paris Hilton, and if there is anything even uglier than that, is Paris Hilton in Caracas). Most ads have busty women showing T&A galore. One of them, and I so regret not taking the picture, shows an amazonlike woman, naked from the waist up, showing a huge tit with a nipple photoshopped out of existence, as if that made the ad okay.

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