Saturday, September 1, 2007

A little bit of downtown and some words

This is downtown Merida, at least little bits of it. It takes so god-damn long to get all these pictures ready and then come down here to upload them. I'm very selective. I'll try t put more on Flickr. It's also a trek to go downtown. I have to really want to go. I can't remember what this is. It's a statue
One of the many modes of transportation. This is not for tall people. These are busetas or camioneticas. They range from vans like this one to bigger buses like the ones that they use for free shuttles back home, like the Presidio, UCSF, etc. They´re about 30 US cents. The cool thing is you get on and a lot of the times everyone says hi. You don´t pay until you get off. You have to yell out "PARADA." The drivers are so chill. They"ll wait for someone who's across the street, unlike Muni, as most of you probably know. They"ll also stop and talk to people they know, while people honk like crazy behind them. Lot's of motorcycles in Venezuela
One of those guys that stay completely still. These guys beet them all, not because they stay really still, but because it´s fucking hot and they have all that make-up.

I love busy streets. Most of them are like this.

Cops. Here they don't have as much power. I've never seen them mess with anyone or heard of it happening. There are like 5 different types of cops, what they all do I don´t know. It's the same deal with the military. You see soldiers a lot, but Chavez has made them a community entity, meaning they work with and are here for the community. The restructuring of the country is amazing. It's going to be very similar to Cuba, I think. All the political power is in the community. There are groups in every Pedregal, which is something between a city and a neighborhood whithin a city. These groups have meetings and decide on things that need to be done and then they're done. Eventually they will replace mayors. I'm not sure of all the detils, but as I learn, I'll try to explain it better.
I'm amazed at the difference in information between here and back home. I knew we didn´t hear much, but it's insane how much we don't know. The opposition here for example. There are quite a few of them. They are made up of the upper and some of the middle class. They are puny compared to the Chavistas. Not only that, they are dirty. Every couple of days I see the stuff they do. They spew the most negative, fear-inducing garbage on their TV channels (who says there's no freedome of expression here). They got caught bringing in two busloads of paramilitary troops from Colombia to try to kill Chavez. A US lawyer came here with a bunch of legal documents that show the U.S. government sent money and helped subversive operations that were sooooooooo illegal. More than a thousand people in a bank, a big company, and in the government who are in the opposition just got caught in a huge subversive conspiracy. All the stuff that goes wrong is usually sabotage.
From what I've seen and heard, this is the truth. Whether or not Chavez is going to help the country is another story, although I've never seen so much money, work, effort go into a country solely for the public good. I could list all the things, but it would take me days. Chavez has proved himself about 19 times in different elections and referendums. He is the most democratic leader in the world, he is hardly a dictator. On top of that, I've heard that this constitution is the only one in the world to specifically and with priority ensure everyones human rights. We have the bill of rights, but not only is it vague, it is incomplete and easily manipulated.
I don't know all the facts and I can't say I'm 100% sure about everything I've said, but it's hard to hide all the good you see around you here. The only bad things I´ve seen are from greedy people who truely don't care and actually despise the poor.
As Edgar Torres always says, I jugde a society by the way it treats it's poor, it's elderly, children and infirm. I'm sure I missquoted him, but you get the gist.

Melva's Birthday

On my aunt's birthday we took a short trip to Tabay. A small town about 7 km from Merida. This place was so tiny. It was a town square surrounded by three or four blocks then green mountains spotted with farmhouses. We found this really good Colombian restaurant run by a guy from Tolima, where they make the best tamales in the world. He just moved here a couple months ago. Sadly I got sick. I think it was the tamales or the hot sauce. I've been sick for the past two days. Oh well.

Some chicks that were in the pet shop

Some hardcore looking guy. I think he works on leather. I'm not sure, but this town is full of tough looking guys.

There'll be more photos to come. I used a lot of the Tabay photos to make my own postcards. If you're lucky I'll send you one. Send me your address in case I like you. Send it to my Myspace, email, or leave a messege here.

Lazy Ass

Poor dogs, it's so warm that all you see is dogs just lying around. Another strange thing is that in the small towns the dogs do what they want. People play with them and pet them, but they roam around on their own. Merida is bigger, so nobody aproaches dogs on the street, but they don' t mess with anyone. They sleep outside the shops and find scraps to eat.

A sign in Tabay for free puppies.
After an espresso shot. It's really nasty that they serve coffee to go in plastic cups

I've come across so many dogs that apear dead. It freaks me out.

He's spying on the situation. Maybe he just wants to pounce.

He's alway at the city square, La Plaza Bolívar. There's a square like this in every city and town with a statue of Simon Bolívar in the center. In bigger cities there are more than one.