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 the Venezuelan….have a bad custom we are not punctual……..
For example if you are invited to a party at 8:00 pm that mean that that people will start to arrive at 10:00 pm….yes believe it . Even if you arrive at 8:00 pm the people of the house will be not ready, and we have a expression “I arrive to fried the tequenos” that means that you were early ja ja ja ja
And if you have appointment you can expect that the person arrive 30 min late, it is very usual but is not with all the Venezuelan………..
I have a lot international friend and they have get used to it ….and when we are going to meet they ask if it is Venezuelan time Ja ja ja ja ja ja ja ja
The night club starts people arriving at 11:00 pm and the good time it is at 12:00 pm
That made me think about "Limbo Rock": "how looooow can you gooooo?"...
Once, a doctor from the U.S. told me that appropiate distance in order to talk with someone you just met, was an arm leingh. Closer than an arm leingh could intimidate the other person. Further away could also bother the other one because you are too far away for some unknown reason. So, according to this doctor, an arm leingh was the distance to keep in a conversation.
Not in Venezuela!!! Here people get closer than that in other to talk to you. It doesnt matter if they just met you. We venezuelans approach. Others even touch your arm or your shoulder while talking. Dont be shy, dont feel unconfortable. There is no harrasment. That's the way we are.
In the picture I was talking to a guy I just had met on the bus at the airport.
Yes we are. Or, at least, we like sweet stuff. For example, we preffer Pepsi than Coke. Pepsi is sweeter. We like a wine called Liebefraumich, just because is really sweet. Almost everbody adds sugar to their coffees or teas. And we have a local drink (a soda, like a pepsi, a seven up, etc) that is called Kolita. Is very pink, and bubbluly and sweeeeet. We joke about it. We say that when some one drinks Kolita (or Colita) has a lack of love. But that drink sure has something... once I was very sick and the only thing I wished to drink was a "Frescolita" (that is the whole brand name).
About a year ago, at the airport, I saw some puertorican travellers taking back home cans and more cans of Frescolita. They said to me: "we dont know what we are going to do when we run out of it".
But most venezuelans like sweets, candies, chocolates, icecreams, etc. My mom says that a meal, with out dessert is like a garden with out flowers. She usually has dessert after breakfast and after lunch. At dinner time she only eats icecream. But she is way too much exagerated.
Also, venezuelan women like the smell of sweet perfums, and colognes and creams...
UPDATE: Manuel Brito, venezuelan VT member in Japan, corrected me. He said he doesnt likes sweet wine. So, here is the way I should have written this: "most venezuelans, a big percentage of us, like sweet everythingsss. Not Manuel Brito who certanly is special and one of a kind".
Thank you note for Manuel:
Cuando te hicieron rompieron el molde. Y mataron al que hizo el molde in the first place. Gracias, papito. CB
Listen to me: in Venezuela you are not supposed to wear sandals with socks. Period. People will stare at your feet, they will make funny faces, roll their eyes, giggle and dont aprove it from a fashion-glamour point of view.
You know what? I DONT CARE. Five years ago I discovered how confortable were sandals with socks: the confort of a shoe, the freshness of a sandal. Aaannnddd since I have a colorfull socks colletion (with dinosaurs, firemen trucks, fat fish, sleepy lambs, reindeers and wicked witch of the west stripes) I do wear them with sandals.
My friends have heart attacks. They keep telling me how awfull I look. And screaming and rolling their eyes. Big melodrama...
That's o.k. I can handle that.
Now... if you come to Venezuela and want to look low profile, dont wear this. Everybody will be staring at you.
The venezuelan most important newspapers -in spanish- are El Nacional, El Universal, Ultimas Noticias, 2001, Panorama, and the evening papers: El Mundo and TalCual.
In Venezuela they publish a newpaper in English: The Daily Jounal.
In ***** (five stars) hotels, you can find newspapers from USA, Spain ("El Pais", which is an awesome newpaper), France, Italy, etc... Also Time magazine and Newsweek.
In the italian book store, at Solano Avenue, you can find the italian newspaper: Il Corriere de la Sera.
But... if you are in vacation... why would you like to read the news?
A telenovela is like a soap opera, but is much more than a soap opera (and for a foreiner could be really fun). This is something you will have to see at 9:00 p.m. (prime time) either in channel 2 Radio Caracas Television or in channel 4 Venevision. Televen channel 10 shows brasilian soaps, but those are not the ones I'm suggesting. Venezuelan ones are funnier and crazier and unpredictable.
Try to see at least 15 minutes of one telenovela (they last an hour long). Even though their are in Spanish, within minutes you will be able to understand what is going on: this blind girl is the main character, this young and rich man is in love with her, but his mother is the villain and she doesnt approves this love relationship with the poor blind girl who is also poor. then is this beautiful and evil rich girl that wants to seduce the young guy. Her brother, who is a villain too, kidnaps the blind girl, who cries and prays to this little virgin she has in a necklace that belonged to her mother who desapeared 20 years ago under very misterious circumstances. Do yo get the idea? Well, you must see a bit of one telenovela. Major t.v. enterteinement in Venezuela. Major. It comes from the sentimental English novel from the XVIII century; passes and enriches with the roman-feuilleton in France (XIX, with the news papers "La Presse" and "Le siecle" in which Balzac and Dumas used to write their daily stories and charge 3 francs per line; then these and other stories where adapted for radio and finally, at the 50's, they make their way in television. Telenovela: important part of the venezuelan culture. And I know that you will be able to follow it and laugh.
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.
Today we celebrate the day of the arrival of the Three Holly Wisemen (Three Holly Kings?) following the Spanish christian tradition.
Baby Jesus was born on December 25th. These 3 Kings were looking for him and stopped at Herodes palace in other to ask where was Jesus, Christ the King, the Son of God... (terrible thing to do, because later, Herodes, sent his army to kill all the babies in his territory). Clue and informationless: Gaspar, Melchor and Baltazar left. Then they saw the Star of Belen (some people now say that is actually was comet Halley, seriously) and followed it. They found baby Jesus and have him the presents they have brought: gold, inciense and myrrh.
In Spain today is the day that children get their presents. In Venezuela not. They already got their presents on Dec. 25th. But since last night we are eating "Roscón de Reyes" and drinking hot chocolate. (Please check my restaurant page and I will tell you all about this "Roscón"). That is the Spanish tradition that we follow happily.
A cute detail: in Puerto Rico, where they celebrate this day with enormous enthusiam, they always place the black King (Baltazar) in between the two white kings. They seriously believe that if the black one is not placed in the middle, the Star of Belen will light-off. I love this. In Caracas we dont have this belief, but every time I see a Baltazar missplaced, inmediately I put him right in the middle.
Our "cacao" (cocoa?) is one of the finest in the world (if not the finest!!!)
This is said since the begining of times by french, swiss and italian chocolate especiallists. The "Cacao de Chuao" has a history of excelence and tradition and has been imported to the main chocolate factories around the world.
I suggest that you eat venezuelan chocolate. It can be found everywhere: candy stores, supermarkets, newspaper stands, coffee shops, almost anywhere. Try them all!!!
Now, my favorite to take to other countries as a present is Chocolate de El Rey. They have a collection that goes from a white bar of chocolate, to a milk chocolate, to a variety that has more and more and more % of cacao (cocoa) in it and it gets darker and darker. Less % more eatable. More % great for cooking or making hot chocolate to drink. Each type has the name of a venezuelan tree: Apamate, Saman, Burace, Caobo, Icoa, etc.
You can buy them separately, but there is a box of 6 (or is it 8?), containing the whole variety. That's the box I buy and take for presents. NOW BEWARE: you must buy them in Caracas, at the airport, at the duty free shop, they cost twice as much.
-WHY?!?!?!?! - I asked.
-Because this is a product for export...
(What a nonsense. I told them: In Caracas, the box of six (or 8) bars is about 8 US $, and here: 15 $. This is a robbery and I'm going to tell everyone about it!)
These chocolates are a bit more expensive than the rest. Try them all. Dont fogget to buy one called TORONTO that does not belongs to El Rey chocolate company.
You can get them in almost all of the big SUPERMERCADOS, groceries stores, such a Excelsior Gama. And also in a chain of pharmacies called LOCATEL. They make excelent presents to take back home.
GRAN MELIA CARACAS Caracas
5 Reviews and 69 Opinions This luxury hotel makes much of its inclusion in the 'Leading Hotels of the World' brochure. It's...
JW Marriott Hotel Caracas Caracas
4 Reviews and 93 Opinions The JW Marriott in Caracas is one of the more expensive, luxury hotels in Caracas. We stayed there...
1 Review and 44 Opinions This hotel is very nice, but perhaps not quite as luxurious as the Marriott, Gran Melia, or...