Trip To Venezuela. Political Hijinks By Way Of Dr. Seuss.
“A thousand Bolivars on it being pinned on the yanks,”
a riveting phrase if ever there was one. The setting, a cross between a gothic Byronesque romance and a cheap Ron Jeremy porn production. The aromatic reek of lavender, desperation. and alcohol, so profoundly warm, that even cat piss seemed glacial refreshing by comparison. In other words, yet another of the many dilapidated locations pockmarked across the Venezuelan capital, Caracas. A mundane fixture on a sprawling panorama of calamitous gloom.
“At least, the water’s working.” The faucet making a squeak akin to modems from the 90’s. “So, you game?”
“Not taking that action. That’s like saying the sun comes up after dawn. Nothing short than an axiomatic certainty.”
“First of all, you dullard, the heavenly star pokes its head out by dawn. Not after. It’s his very awakening that supersedes and brings forth the rooster’s call…”
“My, aren’t we poetic this day. The candles tweak the Yeats from your loins. Still, you knave, I’m not in the mood to be bamboozled.”
“Fine,” the barkeep said. “Iguana, condor, eagle, possum or El Niño? Who’s to blame for the power taking a powder?”
The Vegas wages sprung up like whack-a-moles from depleted wallets.
In Venezuela, that skit is not only common but an unnerving and all too natural rite of passage. After a while, faulty logic seems to rule the day, while abortive passes at sanity are just that; stillborn examples of acumen and intelligence giving up the ghost. Packing their bags and fleeing in absolute fright.
This nation has developed into Mother Earth’s madhouse. A lone loon shriek out in the night, “my dog told me to pull the trigger,” drooling and mucus clad wing of a particular mental hospital. You know, that you’re a true blue Venezuelan, when a Syrian refugees spills out his woes and your only response is, “that’s nothing, pal…” This once proud, magnificent country has crafted a population of Mel Gibson wannabees, pulling up their shirts and flaunting their battle earned scars. Daring the civilized nancies to show them better.
Seven reason, why nibbling on dog biscuits and howling at the moon are native traits in this disguised oil based banana republic.
- The Blame Game: Everybody and their grandma is the culprit for 15 years of increasingly asinine governmental decisions. A political, social and economic jigsaw puzzle spearheaded by a gaggle of dimwitted muttonheads who fancied sucking on lead soldiers instead of their mother’s teats when they were toddlers. Whenever the outhouse collides with the windmill and the excrement does its aerial maneuver, the muckety mucks go-to procedure is to cover their incredibly corrupt and highly inefficient derrieres. “Today, the hydroelectric station went offline and caused a massive nationwide blackout. The culprit has been identified as an indigenous Iguana masticating on a cable… We have not discarded enemy action by the North. Viva la Revolucion!” The party line usually falls under that bewildering umbrella. The Chambers of Power in apparent constant fear of a rather incessant invasion of hostile livestock. CIA taught local fauna, perfectly trained for capitalistic promoted insurgency.
- Come sundown, the boogie man owns the night: throughout the day, no matter where you’re at, your seized by an unnerving presence. Everyone tensed, jumping at their own shadow, slowly edging towards their wit’s end as the clock winds down; a countdown to the freaking rapture. “Mommy, mommy, are they coming? “Hush child. Less questions more trotting…” At seven o’clock, Caracas becomes a 17th-century Romanian village; gypsies spelling doom, wild waving of crucifies and enough silver nitrate spray to give Blade a hard-on. A mad stampede towards parapets and homes protected by barb wires and electric fences. Civil law, unity and the very nature of a street sign or traffic light a bygone diplomacy in a kaleidoscopic dog-eat-dog world. A battle to reach your stronghold and beat back the mob of marauders and hooligans. At sundown, you glare out from your window and only specters and dust devils roam the streets.
- Out of the box strategies: you suddenly become a master on Looney Tunes like techniques to avoid the legendary stick-up, or worst an hour long tour of the Metropolis complement of the local gang; the refreshments and entertainment atrocious. The discourse spiced with the occasional “please don’t kill me.” And “yes, that’s a nice gun. I’m sure it’s not a symbol of phallic inferiority.” Everybody privy to their own cheat codes, their very own morsel of self-acquired wisdom. The constant look-out, eyes on the back of the head, cunning blueprints for hostile confrontations right at the periphery of your noggin. Two cell phones; your real one and a decoy. Enough cash at hand to fool a hungry piranha and not incur a bite. Latex gloves in case you’re slipped an epidermal narcotic agent. James Bond-like cars with remote control functions, bulletproof windshields and a myriad of under the table options just in case Specter makes a hit for your life.Out by the double doors of a bank, a lady jumping up and down, waving her deposit slip, shouting an occasional: “not a withdrawal!” All the while giving her best Meg Ryan impersonation. Her skivvies rocking about, her iPhone on silence; the poor man’s vibrator. A delightful display of another of Venezuela’s peculiar vistas…
- Imagination, the key component: In Venezuela, the deficit of household necessities, products of first aid vitality, is a national problem. Essential items have been swallowed up by the very ground. Years of Government expropriations and federal seizures of essential companies have gang raped the country and tossed it into a spiraling web of turmoil. Necessity, the mother of invention, shooting out crying babies faster than a waterpark on Fourth Of July weekend. Powder laundry soap out of the question? A cheese grater and a bar of Dove. Tricky spotting any TP paper on the shelves? Think school notebooks and imported lotions. Coffee being a problem? Get your caffeine pick me up with the fratboy way; Coca-Cola and Red Bull. Protein intake suffering a punch? Go native, and by that, I mean old school native; grasshoppers, beetles and the cast of “A Bug’s Life.” In Venezuela, the only thing that lies between you and starving to death is a plucky attitude, a can-do-spunk, and the creativity of Steve Jobs and Albert E. “Were you toast when you came up with that?”
- Regions look like backdrops to the Walking Dead: Venezuela seems like a war torn country that lost a series of harrowing engages in shadow boxing. Emaciated dogs, filthy with mange and standing on rickety legs. Cars propped up on cement blocks, with discarded flotsam on the windshield. Buildings that last received a paint job during the Reagan administration, fighting a losing battle against gravity. Paved roads by way of Baghdad and Mogadishu. Entire sections of a town devoured up in a public service black hole; electricity a thing of the past, potable water a pipedream, civic services akin to witnessing a unicorn making out with a minotaur. Somali pirates have actually come to the coasts of certain Venezuelan hamlets and concluded: “man, Larry, what a shithole!”
- Everybody is hopped up on crazy pills: the government, the opposition, the very public seems to have a rather friendly and lasting relationship with LSD. Legislative bitch slaps in the middle of a Congregational meeting, that seems perfectly at home in Jersey Shore reruns. Citizens frothing at the mouth for lack of Johnny Walker Black, while experimenting with exciting ways on wiping their asses. Maduro supervising a military rally, waving his pecker around and pontificating about the national glory of the armed forces. The man praying really hard no one notices that half the missiles are decommissioned 80’s Russian surplus. Rusty warheads held onto a flimsy cart by duct tape, manila rope and the magic of fairy dust; the equivalent of taking out your little general and displaying nothing more than a limp dick in need of microsurgery. Oh, by the way, did I mention that “El Presidente,” has stated on more than one occasion that he has chats with the worm food spirit of Hugo Chavez Frias? The “Eternal Commandant,” has a rather unique predilection of appearing in the form of a singing bird. Sagely advice given freely by way of tweets and calls.
- Certain things develop a “one ring to rule them all” quality: a barter system has developed in Venezuela. The Bolívar so crippled by massive, out of this world inflation that everyone would rather have a can of Pepsi instead of a steady wage. A prison like mentality quickly takes shape, “I’ll trade this for that. Keep your Monopoly money.” Constantly on the lookout for a tampon or a carton of milk. Willing to do unspeakable back alley “jobs” for a sack of sugar. Saving Private Ryan confrontations in the middle of the street over anorexic poultry. What you have, what you’ve managed to procure – car batteries, tires, shaving cream, shampoo – stock willing to kill for. Roundabout hacks and engineering feats created exclusively to protect goods that other country store in bulk on the corner two-bit market.
“Please, take my laptop… Take my kid… Anything put the cooking oil! Have you no heart?!
Venezuela has slowly turned into a boot-camp. The sort of paramilitary training facility used to harden Navy Seals in case a POW camp becomes their Club Med vacation grounds. A country mass-producing a fortified nuclear population that balks at being stranded in the Sahara Desert… “Drinking piss, makes you tough… Like bear!”
You truly know you’ve adapted to Venezuela’s absurd and daft way of life when you enter a Seven Eleven and are simply gobsmacked by the deranged, erratic, nature of foreigners:
“Nuts, this is demented. Mon, I tell you, they had a tower of diapers. Foolish, they were begging to be ripped-off.”