Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela

... to give the country its official title, post-Chavez.

We went downtown to the historic part of Caracas today. We started at the Contemporary Art Museum, which was mostly Venezuelan stuff, and, bizarrely, some David Hockney. Surrounded by street vendors and ancient concrete tower blocks it seems terribly out of place.

We also visited the Capitol Building - impregnable, surrounded by armed guards (and I mean armed: shotguns, rifles, bayonets and SMGs all on very obvious display) -, and the National Pantheon, which holds the remains of Simon Bolivar. Again, it's well-guarded, and visitors have to be smartly dressed (I was required to tuck my shirt in!). Venezuelans hold Bolivar in a huge amount of reverence - so we trod very carefully! We also visited the (reconstructed) house where he was born, then caught the Metro back to our hotel.

Oh, we had lunch in a nice restaurant on Plaza Bolivar, but we don't have time to tell you about that. Next time I'll try and remember to describe what we're eating and drinking (or better yet, get Katherine to do it)!


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