We were at a dinner party recently when Francesca and I announced that we'd be visiting Venezuela soon. A young woman said, "We just moved here from Caracas. Why would you want to go there?".
My wife's mother was Venezuelan and much of the family is still there. That's why we went...and, to search for what could be the world's greatest grilled cheese sandwich, the renown Venezuelan "arepa".
The government is not exactly tourist friendly, if they posters (they don't) they might say, "Don't Bother Coming Here. We're Okay Without You".
Geez, and we we're still heading that way? We did and it was a very strange experience. It wasn't third world but at least 2.5.
Going south I was the only gringo on the plane. Once there, I felt like the only one on the South American continent. I was somewhat prepared for this having visited Hialeah many times.
As we picked up our luggage the words of the U.S. State Department's website kept echoing in my mind, "Do not take a cab from the airport. The driver may kidnap you". A relative suggested that we carry our money in our shoes and the woman at the dinner said, "Bring two wallets. One for the robber and one for you".
That's how our adventure began