Thursday, December 29, 2005

Need to get somewhere? If you're in Caracas you're out of luck. 

Unlike some countries further to the north Venezuela almost entirely shuts down over the Christmas - New Years period. In fact most people have been off from work from a week before Christmas and don't have to return to work or school until January 9th. Venezuelan's certainly do have their problems but lack of free time with which to enjoy their lives is not one of them.

During these extended holidays a great many people travel either to go somewhere relaxing like a beach or to visit family in other parts of the country. This is very taxing on Venezuela's transportation system even in normal times. But with the economic boom the country is currently enjoying the transport system is completely overwhelmed.

Most Venezuelans travel by bus and the main bus station in Caracas is the Banderas station. So far this holiday period it has served 530,000 passengers which is an 11% increase over last year. They expect that just within the next two days an additional 200,000 people will travel from the Banderas bus station. But if you don't already have a ticket forget about it. All major destinations are completely sold out. To make matters worse prices for tickets have increased to speculative prices. Such are the pains of a growing economy I guess. In any event at least more people are able to take vacations or spend time with their loved ones this holiday season. I suppose that is why as hard as they try the opposition just can't get people riled up about Chavez.

And how are those upper class opposition supporters themselves making out you ask? According to Ultimas Noticias they are doing well. For example international flights, which pertain only to upper class Venezuelans, are up 25% this holiday period. Such popular overseas destinations as Aruba, Curazao, and Miami are completely sold out until well into January. There is also a ferry to Magarita Island from Caracas. It has no tickets available going to Magarita until early January and no tickets coming back from Magarita until after January 15th. Maybe that is another reason why well to do Venezuelans hate Chavez - they think that because of him their are too many commoners cluttering up their ferry.

Regardless, I think these can all go down as being exactly the kinds of problems you want to have.


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