Immigration isn’t really that bad, honestly. I always imagined that there would be guards interrogating you about every aspect of your trip and tearing through your bags making sure you don’t have a secret mini-cow hidden in there. When I landed in Venezuela… it was honestly just what I would expect in the United States: a bored customs official making sure that the forms look somewhat correct, and then another bored-looking official making sure that you put your bag into an x-ray machine. Not sure what they were looking for, but I didn’t have any thankfully, and so I was through the entire gauntlet in less than 20minutes.
Outside the terminal I met up with a CouchSurfing friend named Ana, after many hilariously-sitcom-ish moments of confusion about where each of us was, and who we were looking for. Once we did actually find each other we comandeered a taxi and headed into the main city to meet up with two of her friends for some late-night cookies and Ice cream. Seriously, cookies and ice cream… like the little chips-ahoy cookies, and you use them like spoons to eat vanilla ice cream… it was awesome! But before heading out to get said snacks, Ana and I hung out with her friends neighbors for an hour or so, drinking and chatting (mostly through her as a translator, thankfully). I guess her friend was getting her hair straightened, and so it was taking her a bit longer than the usual “forever” that Venezuelan women take (Ana said it, not me), but after a bit Ana’s friend Savas showed up, and we all crammed into his car and went looking for a piece of beach to hang out at.
Savas is a pretty cool dude… reminds me a lot of a friend of mine back home actually. Really laid back, amazing guitar player, and general ladies man; he spent the night alternating between rocking out and bemoaning the fact that he hadn’t hooked up with this one Colombian woman, hehe. He also has some awesome connections it seems, since he was able to hook me up with a black-market money exchange: the official rate is just about 4 BsF per dollar, but he was able to get me 8 BsF. Not bad at all, and now I feel rich (even though Venezuelan money has the same “monopoly feel” that Euros do, its kinda nice rocking nearly a grand). After changing the cash we headed to the beach for a few hours, hanging out until nearly 01:00. I even learned the basics of fishing without a rod!
How do I know it was nearly 01:00 when we left? Well, turns out that the beach is only open until 12:00, and the Policia patrol the area regularly after it closes. But remember what everyone always tells you about the cops? That you should stay away from them, don’t trust them, etc? Yeah, I’d definitely stick with that when on my own, but with Ana and Co around, the cops were actually really cool. We all hung out, chatted for a while, and finally the Policia got a call to head out somewhere else, and we had to break up the impromptu beach-party.
I finally got to sleep around 02:00 that morning, when Sava, Ana and I all crashed in his living room; a rather comfy place, I have to admit, though I’m jealous of the set-up he has: two couches, and a pair of hooks on the wall to set up a hammock from! Seriously, when I get back to a static life, I am 120% setting up hammock-anchors in my apartment!