OF COURSE!!! WE MUST DO IT!!! Come to Venezuela and be prepared for dancing "salsa", caribbean music, a bunch of different rythms: merengue, guaracha, guaguancó, danzón, danzonete, perico ripiao, bachata, bugalú, etc...
English speaking dancers have a particular problem dancing one of these caribbean rythms: the chachachá.Why? because they call it "Chacha"... and they are missing one step.
It is one two cha cha chá
one two cha cha chá
one two... one two three
one two... one two three
But then comes an English speaking dancer and tries
one two cha cha
one two one two
WRONG!!! You are missing the third step!!! Come and dance, we venezuelans are great dancers and we will be happy to teach you.
Uno dos... cha-cha-chá!!!
If you are a woman, and you come to Venezuela, be prepared, men will see, watch, stare at and coment your rear end. Sexual harrasment... hmmm, no... is a traditional cultural stuff. Some women like it. Some others dont. But we all learn to live with this constant and daily "exposure". At least no one touches nor pinches us (as they do in Italy and in some regions of France).
That is the way it is...
My neighbour is from the U.S. and he was having problems calling a cat at the basement. I herd him saying: "come kitty kitty kitty, come kitty...". And I said to him: that cat will never come up to you, you have to call him in Spanish: "misu-misu-misu-misu" (mee-su)... and the cat -el gato- inmediately came when he was called in Spanish.
Is awfully funny what animals talk in Spanish.
Dogs: guau-guau (always two guaus)
roosters: kiquiriqui (kee-kee-ree-kee)
donkeys: jij? (hee-ho)
baby chickens: pio-pio-pio (pee-oh, always 3 in a row)
Many animals are willing to undestand English and other languages. Dogs, for example. Cats no. They are difficult in every language. Everywhere.
Then get a taxi and ask the driver to take you to "El Urologico" (that is a private modern clinic, with excelent doctors, and where my mother and a bunch of my friends have been hospitalized). "El Urologico" is located in the San Roman Area. A nice place.
Say: "EL UROLOGICO", (El Uh-ro-lo-hee-coh). "EMERGENCIA" (eh-mer-hen-cee-ah).
Once you are in the E.R., in "EMERGENCIA", you will be in good hands, but if you want to speak to a doctor that gives you more confidence, ask them to call: Doctora Lila Vega.
(Doc-to-rah Lee-lah Veh-gah). She is my "Comadre" (I'm the Godmother of her 2 daughters) and she is one of the finest pediatricians in this country. Her dad was one of the finest pediatricians at his time. Her mother -Dr. Lila Scott Handford- was an extremely succesfull psiquiatrist and one of the best persons I know. Dr.Vega speaks English fluently, because she is half canadian. She got straits A's since kindergarten up to her pediatrician specialization. I would put my life in her hands. Eyes closed. My life, but not any of my belongins (pen, keys, cell phone, sweater 'cause she always looses everything). Dr. Vega will certanly recomend you the best doctor for whatever you are feeling sick of. If you need surgery, that will be Dr. David de Lima (who is extremely good looking). If is an gastroenterologist, that will be my favorite one: Dr. Alberto Delgado (who is also good looking and very sweet). But Dr.Vega is the one who knows.
But buy a Multiphone Multicard international and national long distance call card (you can also call celular phones). It is 35% less expensive than if you make a call from a regular phone.
You can get these cards at any BIG newspaper stand in the street.
The instructions, on the back of the card, are in Spanish, but dont panic. First scratch the silver rectangle and discover your secret calling number. Then dial the phone number shown in the card and an a female answering machine will talk to you in Spanish and will tell you to press one, uno para español. Then a male voice in English will tell you to press 2 for English. Then... just follow the instructions.
You can get cards of 5000 bolivares (right now, July 2004 the official exchange is 1 US$ = 1920 bolivares... but people will be more than happy to buy your dollars for 2500, 3000, 3500 if you are really lucky). But there are 10000 ones and 20000.
Is very easy to call home.
If you are planning to make local calls, the best thing is to buy a pay-phone card. You must ask for a "TARJETA (tar-he-tah) TELEFONICA (te-le-pho-nee-cah). You can get it in most newspapers stands and the have diferent prices: 1.000 bolivares (one US$ = 1600 bolivares right now in Jan 2004); 2.000 bolivares and 5.000 bolivares. I always buy the 5.000 one because Im always "at the street" and have to make a bunch of phone calls. (And is much much cheaper than using my cell phone).
The TARJETA TELEFONICA is the size of a credit card and, everynow an then, they change the color, the design, the picture on one of it sides. Right now Im still using one with
FUTBOL (soccer) images. I bought it during the last World Championship. But I already bought the next one, it has a Sagitarious (horoscope) drawing. I wanted to buy a Virgo one, but they ran out of virgins.
When you buy it, turn it around and be sure to read CANTV on the back. (In the picture see if you can find quicky the CANTV sign). That is the main telephone company in Venezuela and pay-phones belong to this enterprise.
Hmmm... time... that is very uncertain and relative in Venezuela. If you are invited to a party, to a birthday celebration, to a baby shower, to a book presentation, whatever, NEVER arrive on time. If you are invited at 7:30 p.m. they expect you to arrive one hour later. And then, there is no oficial time to leave. It could be forever...
I'm including a picture taken last saturday. It was an "hamburguesada" (hamburguers bar.b.q.) with my class mates from kindergarten and grammar school.
We were supposed to arrive at 2:30pm. I got there at 3:00pm (just to help arround before everyone came, but was the second one to arrive). I left at 6:00pm hamburguer-less. Friends kept comming and comming. They ate before midnight, but partied until 2:00 a.m...
B.T.W, is really nice to bring something to a venezuelan that invites you to his home for dinner or a party. Flowers, a bottle of wine... I always bring a dessert.
WE DONT DO NO SIESTAS.
How about my English today?
Seriosly. In Caracas and other big cities we do no take naps. Never. We are to bussy working.
Not even my mom, who will soon be 82 takes nap. In the big cities we dont have a nap tradition. We dont have time for that.
So have a coffee and keep on the run!!!
In Venezuela we have good cigarettes brands. Belmont and Astor, for example. Our tobacco has a superb quality. These cigarettes are milder if compared to Malboro (which you can also get in Venezuela).
Smoking is allowed in certain places, in certain areas, but, to tell you the truth, this XXI century is comming rather smoke free.
If you are visiting a venezuelan in his/her home, and you have been there for 2, 3 or 4 hours chating, and it seems to be that you dont want to go and this will be an endless visit... the venezuelan probably will place a broom behind a door.
You are not supposed to see this. Many venezuelans believe that, by doing this, the visitor will soon leave. This doesnt have anything to do about beeing a foreiner, it has to do with a looooooong visit.
I find it much easier to tell the visitor something like: "well, if you want to stay here do so, but I have to take a shower and go to spleep", but that is something that a normal venezuelan will never -ever- do. (Very unpolite).
So... there is the broom. I've never used this method. Many venezuelans do...
Believes, traditions, customs...
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