Caracas skyline and Sketchers sign.
CARACAS, Venezuela - My twitter
says it all: "Clear Night. Sharp city lights. The city opens up through the hills at dawn like its floating in space with stars.”
On my first day here, from its architecture to its people, Caracas strikes me as cinematic. And I wonder: to what extent are views of America here based on personal experience? And to what extent are they based on storytelling?
To get from the airport to the city center, I drive down a concrete overpass through hills that part like stage curtains. Barrios (slums) tumble down their slopes on one side, and on the other scores of concrete highrises block out the ocean view.
The buildings are angular and rather unimaginative. As I move closer, they grow more interesting as I see their peeling facades, their quirkily retro color yellowing and graying. At ground level, small stores sell wares without much order. They advertise baby clothes and Tupperware and ladders all under one roof.
I arrive at 5am, settle down to write, and watch the city wake up from the East where lots of little pieces of glass and trash litter the road, refracting morning light. Journalist Ibsen Martinez comes to meet me, and repeats a common quip: “How can [Venezuelan President Hugo] Chavez fight America if he can’t pick up the trash?”