Forget Hot Pants!!!
My newest VT-friend, Selene, just wrote this to me: "Hi Carola,I was just reading your Caracas pages and laughing... very nice, thanks for the tips. BTW I have one question for you: my guide says that shorts are still not considered very acceptable in Venezuela. Is that true? In case, you might want to add it to your local customs pages as well".
Well... this is kind of true. They are more acceptable now than what they used to be. I´m talking about women using shorts and bermudas. It is very rare to see a venezuelan, in Caracas, wearing them, on week days, on the streets.
If you see a lady with shorts she might probably be an athelete who was running in Parque del Este (our local, tropical, Central Park); or someone who just came down from hiking to El Avila mountain, or a foreiner, or a lost tourist.
I think I have never used shorts in Caracas. I wear them at the beach. I cant picture my she-friends wearing shorts in the city. I dont remember anyone of them. Only inside your house, when you wash your car in the garage or try to give a bath to a crazy doberman full of teeth.
But now, on the weekends, you can find men buying the newspaper, or at the bakery, or in the market, etc. using bermudas. I think they all look "beachy & sealess", dressed down and awfull. But they seem happy and confotable, so goodby glamour. Welcome hairy legs.
What is very shocking is to have a rather new Bike-Police. The bikers are all men. They dont wear shorts. Neither bermudas. They wear tiny and tight dark blue hot pants!!! (Ouch!)
Hahaha!!! They look so... so naked and silly!!! When they ride in front of me I have to restrain, contain myself, because I always feel the urge to shout to them (with gallant sexual harrasement): "Usssssu... papitoooo!!!" Translation: "Mmmmmmm daddyyyyy!!!"... Hahahaha.
But a lady will never do that. Or... who knows... maybe I´ll do it some day. I will tell you all about it. Promise.
That is something very private for a venezuelan, who will never talk about how much she/he makes a year, or a month, or a day or per hour. Or in a free-lance job.
Venezuelans are shocked by the way people from United States discuss -openly and sincerely- how much they make a year:
-I make about 30,000.oo...
-Oh, no, I make more than that... I make around 50,000.oo
We, venezuelans, do not reveal how much we earn. But, if we are payed very little we will be more than happy to complain and to tell everyone, but never, NEVER, reveal the amount of that little-money we are beeing paid.
Money earning and money saving and money investing is something very private that a venezuelan would not like to discuss.
Caracas in "the city of the eternal spring". Our temperature all year long is around 75-80 degrees farenheit. We have two seasons in Venezuela: dry season and rainy season. The rainy one usually starts in May and ends in October. But there is no big diference. The temperature always remains pretty much the same.
During rainy season we have HUGE showers. Half and hour of it. And then, the sun shines again. Thats it. Period.
Thats about it. Just wait five minutes...
People from 4-seasons countries are always discussing the weather conditions, they check the weather channel, the radio, the newspapers. We dont. We dont have weather forecast dayly in tv. We couldent care less about weather, because there in nothing much to say.
So, if you talk to a venezuelan, never bring up the weather issue in Venezuela. That is a very boring thing to talk about. Who wants to have a conversation about something that is sooo predictable?
Venezuelan are highly talkative people, so be prepared. If you are on a bus, in a line, on an elevator, at the bank, in a park, at a coffee shop, at a dentist, ANYWHERE, venezuelans will be ready and more than happy to talk to you. Dont be confused, this doesnt means that everybody wants to become your very best friend for ever and ever over the rainbow... No, venezuelans just love to talk. When we open our mouths, a waterfall of words pours out inmediatly. That is the way we are... (and I love it!) So, if you meet a venezuelan, be prepared for a conversation. And dont be shy to talk back even if you know little Spanish. We are friendly people and, in order to comunicate with foreiners we will speak some english, some french, some italian, some german, some whatever and we will also do mimics, gestures, some acting, etc. We just want to comunicate with you!
Once, working a t.v. show as a writter, I asked my boss Peter Norman (an australian adorable guy who has lived all over the world) what did he find most peculiar about us, venezuelans.
- You brush your teeth after each meal.
- Of couse we do! What is so peculiar about that?
- No, no, I mean, you carry allong your toothbrush and your paste and your dental floss, and no matter if your are at the office or in a restaurant, after you finish eating, you go and brush your teeth. And there is this shower thing...
- Which shower thing?
- That you rather not eat, not spleep, but you MUST take a shower a day no matter what!
- Oh yes we do!
Before Hugo Chavez (our "President", or should I say dictator?) the Venezuelan flag wasn't very popular. There was a lot of people who didn't even have one (including us).
Now, ever since the opposition took the streets to protest against the government of Chávez, Venezuelan flags have become very popular.
Now we own them, wear them and carry them with pride.
1. People don't split the bill when at a restaurant. The people you are dining with will always try to pay the bill. The best idea is to take turns paying the bill. In order to do this, you have to be very fast to put your money or credit card down.
2. For women, never put your purse on the floor. It is a superstition (symbolizing that you will lose money) and I don't think any Venezuelan women put their purse on the floor.
Caracas is a city with high income gaps between the lowest and the highest.
be sensitive to the people with whom you are engaging in either business or pleasure.
Try to learn some of the language before you arrive, it is just polite to be able to greet people correctly.
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