Monday, February 13, 2006

Last Stop: Venezuela

Left Sunday morning for Miami. Watched Georgetown lose on last night in the Hilton near the airport where I slept. Got on a plane at 7:30 this morning to Venezuela. On time. So far so good. Until we (Kim, Purina's head of research for Latin America, and I) arrived here. Were supposed to have a car waiting, but that's wasn't in the car(d)s. Finally got in touch with the driver and he was running a couple hours late. Yes, a couple hours. No, why would he call? Yes, we probably should have just taken a different taxi. No, it wasn't that simple. Because the major highway/bridge is not open, it takes anywhere from 1.5 to 5 hours to get into downtown Caracas. So, we waited it out... until of course we got a call from Nestle Venezuela saying the driver would not, in fact, be coming to get us. 12PM in meeting spot at airport. 2PM have another car set up. 215 on the road in a Ford SUV. 215-345 winding up and around the mountain, through haze, enclosed by steep mountain on our left and all types of vegetation on our right. 4PM first view of Caracas (the Western and poorer part according to our driver). 515PM arrive at the Embassy Suites. I would go into the drive, but I'll wait until I'm back in the U.S. to explain (and compare it to one movie in particular) so as not to freak my parents out any more than they should be. So the actual drive took about 3 hours - about average. At the hotel, went for a little run on the treadmill - was inspired by the other man in metallic light green spandex on the bike next to me. (Not metallic mint green like the convertible(s) that pulled up to the Sac O'Suds conveeenyence store. (Ralph Macchio went to my Middle School.)) Then went out to a restaurant in la castellana and ate some serious arepas and cachapas and drank melocoton juice. Now I'm back and feeling fat and tired and watching VH1 top 60 something video countdown - #56 is The Calling "Wherever You Will Go." And I know this was probably said thousands of times before but probably not in the last year: How does this kid who looks like Aaron Carter have a voice like Creed's lead singer? And speaking of Latin TV, why does every other channel have 1 of 2 shows on it: One is completely hectic with sirens going off, a live studio audience, 2 MCs - 1 short, pudgy old man in a suit and one 30 year old hot woman with fake boobs and minimal clothing and The Other is a soap opera with 2 characters with similar but less extreme features arguing about something very serious as the camera moves from close up of face to face. At least there's soccer. Time to sleep.

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