Tuesday, August 22, 2006

It's a gas

You may want to sit down as you read this: In Venezuela you can fill the tank of a medium sized car for $1.25 USD. This means that a bottle of mineral water is more expensive than a tank of gas. This also means that everybody can own a carcass of a car (no lights, no brakes, no doors) and drive around like a maniac. Which is what happens in this beautiful, incongruent country.

A well lit tunnel in downtown Caracas

A nicely furbished taxicab (to be fair, there are actually some nice ones too).

It's raining on the road. Do you know where your signage is? The white lanes? The maximum speed limit? Huh?

You may think that selling oil at 70 bucks a barrel, Venezuela should be as gleaming as Dubai. You would think that at least they would have plenty of money to build decent roads so all those people could enjoy their free gas without killing themselves in the process, but you would be wrong. For all those Mexicans who think the roads in Mexico are bad, you haven't been here, my friends. Even I, who was born to driving in Mexico, land of the reckless, was scared shitless at not only the terrible state of the roads here, but also at the unbelievable recklessness and idiotic, macho driving of the locals.
I'm told that the number one cause of death in this country are traffic accidents. To put it in perspective, the mother of a friend of mine lost her grandfather, her father and her husband to three different cars.
This did not prevent us intrepid travellers from renting a car (at about 100 bucks a day) to go to the beach. It was worth the risk.
I will tell you more about the beautiful beach in a different post, while you recover from the reverse sticker shock.

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