31 July 2006

un viaje

A journey well taken. A journey fulll of memories and experiences. A journey lived with vigor and excitment, but as with any journey this one too must come to an end.

This journey started over 5yrs ago when Mr Camp came home one day and says,
"honey pack your bags we're going to Venezuela".
I sey "whey??? what we going do down dey, we doan know nobodie down dey and don't dey speak another language".
But Mr Camp in his infinite ways, says "Campie doan worry, Venezuela gonna be good for us and we good for Venezuela."

So we packed our bags and off we came. Got to venezuela with all purity and innonence.
First week in the country Mr. Camp need to leave the mainland for a meeting andI stayed behind unpacking suitcases and getting settled. Got a call from Mr. Camp, saying Campie, they going to be a big march/protest tomorrow, so try to stay inside and close to the house. Well since Campie did new to the country, Mr Camp din need to worry cause I din going no whey anyhow. So Campie watch through the window all the marchers passing by, and thought Oh how cute. Little did I know that was going to be the first of many marches/protests to come.

And hence the journey started. Welcome to Caracas! Welcome to caserlasaros!! Welcome to political upheveal! Welcome to mass demonstrations and marches! Welcome to a culture so similar but also so different than your own! Welcome to life the Latin American way!!

The first six months in Caracas were the most interesting to say the least. There was political tension between the FEDECAMERAS (the labor union) PDVSA (the gas company) and the government. FEDECAMERAS & PDVSA consisted of the business leaders and the top leaders of the biggest income source of the country PDVSA. All of whom are disatisfied with the way the governemnt is operating. So they stage these massive stikes/protests all over the country. The momentum kiks in and a stike that is scheduled to last for two days ends up lasting for 4-5 days.

Well the boiling point came when a planned strike during December the height of the holiday season meant to break the gov't down ends up lasting 2 months. Imagine, the middle of chirstmas and all stores closed, supermarkets only open for 3 hrs each morning and some not at all. All malls and shopping centers closed. The country is at a stand still. But the gov't still not breaking and neither is FEDECAMERAS or PDVSA. The country in an uproar. Finally, after 2 mths, the business owners feeling the pressure, decide to break and open up the financial sector of the country...but all the same marches are being planned.

Then on a fatefull day in April of 2002, it all exploded. A planned march, rumors of a coup, the country and normally bustling city of Caracas is ireely still, people who are out and bout hurries to the safety of their homes. Busses, trains, taxies all fulled to capacity... something is stirring. something is going down, violence is brewing... around the early evening the country is at a standstill, noting is moving.. everyone are glued to the TV sets to see what's happening. Well it finally happened. Members of the opposition group and senior military officials (many says backed by the U.S CIA) stormed the Presidential Palace Miraflores and a full fledged coup was the order of the night.

For the next two days, Caracas and Venezuela was a literal battle field. militant members of both the President party and the opposition were in gun battles with each other at the various marches and protests. It was a dangerous place to be. Roads were blocked, tires burned in the street and anarchy was the way of life. The coup lasted all of 2 days and then by some miracalous feat, the President was reinstated.

Well for the next year or so, life was touch and go. The normally strong economy of the Bolivar dropped drastically from about Bs 765.00 to the US$$ to over Bs 1000.00 and it all went down hill from there. International companies were pulling their people out, cost of living was steadily rising, various business were closing, the marches continued, the burning of tires, street blockages and disorder became the norm. But through out it all we stayed and preserved.

As life began to return to a sence of normalcy, we settled in and tried to enjoy as much of it as we could. We travelled to many different states. The country has a lot to offer, it's vast and beautiful. It offers sand and beaches on the Carribean coast, desert in the west and Amazon jungles in the south. Caracas is flanked by the magestical Avial Mountain range to the North and on the other side of those mountains is totally different landscape. We tried our best to explore some of all that Venezuela had to offer and we were not disappointed. We saw some of the most amazing types of living and the contrasts had to be seen to believe. The rich are filthy rich, living in mini mansions while the poor are dirt poor literally living in mud huts. The interesting thing about this country is that is has a very small to non-existence middle class.

We meet some good friends, we adjusted our ways and thinking. We accepted that they would be somethings we just would do without. We understod the politics and how things worked or didn't work around here. We immersed ourselved in the culture and the language and just do our thang until our time to leave came.

Well guess what??? Our time to leave is here. We have just about 20 days or menos left. It was quite a viaje indeed. We lived through the best and the worst of times in this country. In a few days the packers will be here to pack away all our memories and cart them off to our next destination where we will begin a viaje nuevo. I don't know if that journey will be as exciting or interesting as this one has been, but we'll see when we get there. It will be sad to say goodbye or hasta luego to many of our friends. We've made some lasting and impressionable friendships. We've had some experiences that can only be lived here in Caracas. We lived a life that was beyond our expectations. We can leave saying Gracías a Díos we made it through and It's All Good.

That also goes for this blog. It's been a good journey. Little did I know that when I started this 2yrs ago accidently in trying to post a comment on Jdid's blog that I'd stayed for so long. I'm by no means the most gifted writer out there in blog land. Actually, I might be amongst the least gifted, but it was fun anyway. I don't know if I'll continue to blog after I reach my new destination, but we see how things flow when I get there. I know that I'll continue reading yours. So until our paths meet again, I'll say that It's been All Good.


Scratchie said...

Camp, All the very best in your new location. I can only hope that you will continue to update your site as you take on a new life journey. Your blog has been exciting to read and even though you say you are tech challenged it is not evident at all. Please correct something in your post, you ARE a gifted writer. In your own way you reach out to persons and people accept you for what you are and what you impart. I do hope that where ever life leads you that you will find the happiness and joy of family, friends and your Creator. I hope that we will hear from you soon and that this is not good bye but see you soon.

Jdid said...

nun a we aint pulitzer prize winners hayso, ya duz write wha come ta ya mind ta write so doan be dissing yaself.

I wish you and mr camp a safe journey and hope that you have a great time at your new locale.

I enjoy/enjoyed this blog and you gave us a nice little look into caracas from a politically unbiased viewpoint or at least a viewpoint not as biased as the western press.

if you choose to stop blogging i understand but hope you remain with us.

ps: i didnt realize that the blog was started cause ya was trying to post on mine, thats hilarious.

ps2: ya cant leff blogging cause all the bajans leffin, i feel like all wunnah deserting muh :-)

all the best

Dr. D. said...

Hey Campie, todo bueno en la viaje nuevo. But, even though I feel my blogging is in a stage of faltering and I post irregularly now, I would love to still hear from you occasionally in the new destination...wherever that may be. Please do not stop completely.

BTW, I thought it was only in Ja. that roadblocking and tyre burning took place! :-)

Brotha Buck said...

Hope you'll be back once you get yourself resituated. Best!

Yamfoot said...

happy packing! We look forward to hearing about your nextjourney.

Stunner said...

We got a glipse of life in Venezuela through your blog. Now it's time to close another chapter in your life and open a brand new set of adventures. Yuh know we looking forward to hering from you in your new location.

smallislandgirl said...

Wow girl what an exciting five years you've had its amazing that you guys stuck it out and i have to say that i appreciate your writing i am sure you must have lots more amazing stories to tell...no pressure .:).... good luck and all the best in the future thanks for sharing your life and i truly hope to hear from you again

Campfyah said...

Thanks guys. I really appreciate all the positive comments. allyuh mekking me rethink about hanging up muh pen. but we'll see. I hope muh next journey will be as excited as Venezuela, but I doubt. Yuh see I gine cross de water tuh de mainland, but we'll seehow things work out down dey.

Mad Bull said...

Well Camp, let me say congrats, because I had a sense that you were past ready to leave Venezuela. I hope that you will continue writing, I definitely enjoyed reading what you had to say. All the best for the future, seen?