Its been a while since I cracked the writing whip and I’m bored as H right now, so I’m going to do a little review of life in the USA vs Caracas.
Positives about living in the USA:
1) I don’t worry my pants off upon accidentally swallowing tap water or getting a mosquito bite.
2) I can be a vegetarian without withering into a shadow of a human being for lack of imitation meat and tofu.
3) Easier to be a shady McShadster (I can walk places alone at night).
4) I can have a conversation with anyone and not wonder what exactly we are discussing.
5) U.S. prices for most goods are half the Venezuelan prices, so I can easily convince myself that I am actually SAVING money instead of spending it with every hack of the credit card.
6) Extravagant and gorgeous free public libraries.
The positives about living in Caracas are a bit more difficult to pin down and have more to do with my general sense that Venezuelans are a happier bunch than gringos.
Granted, they know how to make themselves miserable just like the rest of us. I realized on a Miami-DC plane, though, that all the gringos were mired in a cloud of their own late-winter anguish and didn’t want anyone to bother them while sitting in it (hence the blackberry/Economist/headphones combo).
Venezuelans are much more sociable—on planes, on buses, in lines, on street corners, in tow-trucks (during Carnaval, for example, Giulio got to the heart of our truck driver’s recent near death experience within 15 minutes of meeting said gentleman).
Sometimes I think they have an unlimited capacity for social interaction, which probably has to do with the fact that they live with their families until marriage. Alone time doesn’t seem to be quite as valued.
I’ve finally adjusted to most of the Venezuelan value system and the only problem is that I now severely judge others in a way I never thought possible: beau-tay.
A woman sitting in front of me on the plane had slightly unbrushed hair and no makeup. In a most shocking and upsetting moment, the following serious judgement crossed my mind: Her hair is so...not shiny.