Venezuela Day 1

Up before the sun. I'm so not this early of a morning person. Dash Transport arrived at 4:10am and we headed out in the darkness to the airport. Much of the trip follows the same route of my daily commute. Funny there isn't as much traffic on Saturday morning as on a weekday. I honestly think there is traffic all hours day and night on weekedays.

We meet up with the rest of our 17 member team for our day of air flight at the airport and fly to Miami then on to Caracas, Venezudeal and then finally to Barquisimeto. I am already tired just thinking about it.

I have packed books for reading, chips, nuts, and jerkey to stave off hunger with extras in my checked bag. In the event of emergency, your seat can act as a floatation device and my backpack can feed you for a week.

Weather guessers are predicting rain. I won't be outside again until 8pm so, ok.

9.29am landed in Miami, found a restaraunt across from the gate that serves pancakes. i'm in like flynn. the waitress saw our shirts and she told us that she was from Venezuela. So we got to tell her where we were going and what we will be doing. Halfway thru breakfast an airline employee walked in and came to our table. He said he saw our shirts walking by and he was from Barquisimeto. He was keenly interested in our trip and what we were going to be doing. He was quite encouraging and a wealth of tips.

When I finished stuffing my face like I might not ever see food again, we rejoined our group at the gate for our flight to Caracass, Venezuela. One of the guys in our group, Kyle, strung up his hammock between a rwo of chairs and a handrail. It was the talk of the gate area. As all the seating was occupied, I set on the floor and while mkaing conversation with our team, a small boy maybe 2 years old rolled a nerf football our direction. I retrieved it from under the seats for him and gave it back to him. He stopped and stared into my eyes for like 30 seconds and then broke into a huge smile. For the next 15 minutes, he would toss the ball my direction. It appeared I had made a friend.

Our flight departed Miami at 11:45am and much to my suprise, American Airlines fed us a hot meal for lunch. The last time I had a meal on an American flight, it was in the 1990s and it was their Bistro bag which tasted like tire rubber. The lunch the served on this trip was quite enjoyable, my hat is off to them.

We landed in Caracass around 3:45pm and was I in for a suprise. The mountains that frame the airport are breath taking. The airport itself is definately different compared to anything I have experienced in the past. It was like an American Flea Market and a regional airport combined. We spend 5 hours in the aiport before catching our final flight into Barquisimeto. We had dinner at the airport the team had an assortment of Arepas some were only cheese filled, some were chicken filled, some were filled with shredded beef. An Arepa is a corn flour tortilla that is puffy and soft unlike the tortilla that you would get in a burrito. The flavor is kind of bland and needs hot sauce in my opinion. There was also a couple bacon pizzas purchased and I have to give it to the Venezuelans, they can do a great number on pizza.

When our flight boarded for Barquisimeto, they did not board by sections like airlines in the U.S. It was just bascially, doors open, loaded 'em up. We arrived in Barquisimeto around 8:30pm, and we were beat. The airport in Barquisimeto reminded me a great deal of the aiport in Albany, Georgia. We were met by an excited and welcoming group from the church who had something I have never seen, 15 passenger KIA vans. They made quick work of loading up the mountain of luggage we had brought and scurried us on to the hotel. The ride was incredible. The roads from the airport to the hotel were 30 miles of twisting two-lanes in each direction. The drivers change lanes multiple times and at times seem like they are practicing for road racing or formula drift. We arrived at a gated and guarded hotel around 9pm and quickly dove into the bed. I am pretty sure I was asleep within 5 minutes of hitting the pillow.


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