What defines the next “it” city? Is it dilapidated, pee-stained architecture just ripe enough for gentrification? An adventurous place that makes you feel like you are living on the fringe? Is it a wide array of curiously exotic, yet frugal cuisine that could be easily fusioned with donuts and ju-ju beans?
This is a heads up for all you hardcore foodie, trend-setting, traveling pants, intenso millennials. Why travel to Havana with your parents on a Carnival Cruise (ugh) when you can head south for a real non-mainstream life-changing experience? Pack your (body) bags, leave your seven figure Brooklyn loft behind, and take the next plane to Caracas. These are the definite reasons why Caracas is the place for true hipsters:
Nobody is shaving anymore. Last time I saw a Prestobarba in a store, Chávez was alive.
2) Fresh Bread!
There are hundreds of Pop-Up bakery queues with fresh bread all around the city. Stay alert! Small batches of 20 canillas (soft and slightly sweet baguettes) only last 5 to 10 minutes.
Sorry Dude, try to move faster next time!
3) Minimize your carbon footprint
Since there are no imports, and we have less cargo ships bringing spare parts for cars (or new cars for that matter), your carbon footprint will be notably reduced. Also, to buy a ticket to fly abroad, you would have to save 2 year’s worth of salary so… why bother?
4) Vintage. Everything is so vintage!
I’m using a Startac. Remember those?
Ok, this is mainly because someone stole my iPhone and I can’t afford a new one, but shit, that old brick still works and it looks so cool. Like a Macintosh! Same applies to clothes and cars (we drive around in Malibus, Mavericks, and LTDs). 70s Malibus are in, 50s Cadis are out.
5) Home goods personal shoppers
Think Blue Apron on steroids. These guys find the best pasta, rice, and organic beans you can find and deliver them at your door. Don’t worry about carbon footprint, most of them just carry the stuff on their backs.
6) Homegrown organic vegetables
We are all vegan. Forced by meat prices, sure. But that’s not all: we grow our own vegetables. In our balconies. In our bathrooms. In government-owned real estate. Any empty container will work.
7) Vegan friendly news-sites
No newspapers, less paper waste. We prefer our news delivered to us via web. But not just any webpage, no. We won’t read a news-site unless it has an organic name: caraotas, aguacates, patillas, cambures, semerucos, kales, lechositas, guayabas.
8) Wifi-less parties and electronic cleanse
Have you heard those stories of people who used to actually TALK at parties instead of texting on their phones? Enjoy an electronic cleanse, it’s the latest trend in cleanses since the tomato juice enema. Here the internet speed is so slow you won’t even think about wifi. So you’ll spend a lot of time speaking with your friends about how miserable your life is in this place.
9) Real life Call of Duty
Video games are for pussies. In Venezuela you can get the real thing any time of day. From random gang fights with the police, to police repression if you are in an opposition rally. You won’t be short of adrenaline.
10) Free Hugs!
You will finally know the meaning of “recostar el tostón” (laying the fried green plantain).
11) AirBnB at Misión Vivienda
Stay at the most unreal apartments in the middle of coke central. Fifteen bucks will get you a flat at the coveted Ciudad Tiuna housing complex. Each building comes with its own marketplace, bodega (yes bodegas!), casino, bar, disco, whorehouse, crackhouse, drug delivery service, H-café, kidnapper safe house, cemetery, satanic cult sacrifice ritual ground, Catholic Church, Evangelical Church, Latter Day Saints Church, Santero Church, Supreme Commander Church, and Santo Malandro Church. No elevators or dumpsters included.
12) Rad new #ruinporn selfie locations
Forget about Detroit. If you want to rattle up your Instagram and snapchat followers with some cool selfies at some awesome and abandoned locations, then you’re definitely in the right place. Downtown Caracas is chock-full of half built, graffitti-dressed behemoths. We even have a couple of abandoned cities. And if you’re lucky, you’ll even get a couple of starving children to decorate the background.
Editor’s note: Happy 8th Birthday Chigüi!Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.