Thinking like a Venezolana

After a wonderful three day weekend, I was feeling quite refreshed getting ready for work this morning. Heck, I even put on lipstick! As the normal pick up time passed by over a half an hour, I decided to send my boss a quick email to make sure we were still going to Sika at the normal time. A few minutes later, he calls to tell me that it is Secretaries Day in Venezuela, and while people still had to go to work, none of my students would be going to class today. Brilliant, now I have a 4 day weekend!

That got me thinking about how much I don’t need to work here to still get paid my salary. Thus begins this list.

Things that happen in Venezuela that I’m pretty okay with:
1. Working on average 15 hours a week.
I could never get away with only working 15 hours weekly in the US. Here, its perfectly normal.
2. Having a driver.
Well, he isn’t actually my driver but rather the previously mentioned man named Angel, my boss. He drives me to and from work and anywhere else I need to go. I guess that’s a perk to having practically free gas in such an oil-rich country, you don’t mind driving everywhere. Also, something to note, I think I’ve seen two bikers total here. I do try to walk places in my neighborhood, and surprisingly being a pedestrian here isn’t as frightening as you might think.
3. Full fat yogurt.
Let’s be honest, I always bought nonfat yogurt in the US just because it sounded like the healthier option. Here, full fat is the only option, and its delicious. We’ll see what my waistline thinks about that in a couple of months.

So, onto the next list.

Things that happen in Venezuela that I’m still a little unsure of:

1. licores
I should have known! You can’t buy alcohol in Venezuela on Sundays. After my sweaty midday trek to the grocery store yesterday, this was a huge let down.

2. igana
Giant iguanas such as this one darting out onto the sidewalk right in front of me when I’m on a run. I’m glad I was able to capture this one, but the previous one was about double in size.

3. aguacate
Those avocados are larger than my entire hand. Probably 2-3 times the size of what I used to buy in Colorado. I saw all of the locals pass them up so I’m guessing they aren’t ripe (so green!) but wow – that would last a long time.

4. The black market money exchange.
This article very accurately describes what is happening with the country right now: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/24/us-venezuela-flights-idUSBRE98N0TW20130924
So, the legal exchange rate is BsF 6.3 = $1 USD but many people are illegally exchanging their money at BsF 40 = $1USD.
Because they do this abroad (or purchase plane tickets to make it appear like they are abroad), flights out of Venezuela are impossible to find! I purchased mine as soon as I read this article. Most flights to Quito (where I am headed next) average $1500, luckily I managed to find one for around $500, but only with a day long stop over in Curacao (woot!).

And now, on my fourth day of the weekend, I plan to go lounge by the pool that was pictured in a previous post and brainstorm a future weekend’s adventures. At the top of my list is Parque Nacional Henri Pittier:

pit

Chau!

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