Monday, February 20, 2006

Weak Week Delay

Back in the U.S. for good now... actually since late Thurs night/early Fri morn. Venezuela was a wonderful place to end the viaje with its delicious local dishes, sunny days (which I experience through windows in the office and at outdoor lunches) and beautiful scenery on our two long rides from and to the airport (pictured above). At higher points in the drive through the mountains there was about 10 feet of visability with the fog that you can see at the top of this pic. And for the record, the ride back didn't feel nearly as Proof of Life-esque. The local team was extremely hospitable and outgoing and took us out for drinks - they're known for their rum, so I had to sample it - and talked frankly (Steven A. Smith style, except it was interesting, not annoying) about the country's current situation with Chavez. For someone who's pretty politically uninformed, I knew the basics of his reign, but stories of mandated folk music on the radio and pictures in restaurants coupled with the powerful images of ranchos (shacks built up on top of each other on the hills) and other obvious poverty really were quite moving. Overall, it's hard to ignore the hardships and condition of the lower class in the countries I visited (especially close to the airports), but while parts of Caracas were incredibly nice, the poorness was impossible to deny. I had a fantastic trip and memorable experience and will be back in the U.S. and Minneapolis now after spending the weekend in Akron, Ohio at my friend's wedding. More on this coming shortly...

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