Original art by @modográfico

Earlier this month, I wanted to take my baby to Maracaibo for the first time. After getting in touch with several travel agencies, airlines and “plane-ticket bachaqueros” since early January, I found one-way tickets. Just one-way. Not being able to return home on time with a 7-month-old girl is particularly worrisome, because we know it’s almost impossible to find diapers and infant formula there, even with bachaqueros.

The day before the trip, one of my colleagues suggested that I should ask in a travel agency near our office, and so I found my return tickets, a peculiar process after which we were told we had to pay Bs. 475,630.90 for the tickets.

In other words, travelling from Caracas to Maracaibo, a flight of approximately 800 km, costs as much as a subway ticket in Madrid.

When we arrived the next day to Maiquetía, we bought two arepas, a cup of coffee and juice for breakfast: Bs. 640,000. 1.35 times the price of the return tickets.

When we took a cab from the airport to the hotel, a 15 km ride, the price was Bs. 600,000. 1.26 times the price of the return tickets.

It’s increasingly common to see marabinos walking under the scorching sun to reach their workplaces or their homes.

The situation with domestic flights is both a tragedy and a comedy. The cab driver who took us to the hotel told us that not so long ago, 15 national flights arrived to Maracaibo every day. Now the number dropped to three.

And, by the way, finding a taxi in Maracaibo is a daunting task, because taxi lines have no drivers. Many of them have left the country. One of them told us that he only works when he needs to find some cash, and he’s leaving to Madrid in a few months. In a taxi line with 200 registered drivers, now there are only 30.

There are no other alternatives either: public transport in Maracaibo is about to collapse. The Maracaibo Metro (commonly known as “el centímetro de Maracaibo”) only covers a few blocks and operational costs forced transport lines in Maracaibo to restrict their working days to Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (for real).

It’s increasingly common to see marabinos walking under the scorching sun to reach their workplaces or their homes. And walking in Maracaibo — famous for being the hottest city in the country — is not particularly comfortable.

Maracuchos are known for exaggerating, but this isn’t the case: when I tell you that in a few months, we’ll only be able to visit Maracaibo by car or by donkey, believe me. Soon there won’t be any taxis there and something tells me that it’s not going to be much different in the rest of the country.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. The entire country will be like that in a few months….. the Metro in Caracas is like entering a horror film… never know what you are going to find and the heat from lack of AC is just absurd… it’s just the socialist dream… everyone comiendo mierda no matter who you are…

  2. I’ve been telling readers here for some time that the business of the future in Venezuela is breeding, raising, and selling donkeys. Those who once drove Ford 350’s here in town, later downsized to pickups, later to motorbikes, and now most of them are walking and hitching rides.

    My woman once sold the entire range of motorbike supplies including inner tubes and tires but she shut that down eventually because prices were rising so fast that no one could afford them. Like the average garage here with a broken-down car inside, many also have motorbikes gathering dust.

    All these factors point to an overwhelming victory for Maduro in April.

  3. This article has activated memories. On my first trip to Punto Fijo / Amuary (in 1995 three three year stay) for we Flew out Aruba (it’s 20 minutes flight at most). But after hour flying in circles over Paraguana Peninsula, the flight captain announced that we were being delayed because there “little horses” (or burro’s / donkeys) on runways. After another hour, the workers finally chased the burro’s away. It a sign of the times, that donkeys (asses) are going be future, most reliable source of transportation in Venezuela (and apparently the best source of protean).. (plus I got to see the millions of plastics bags hanging on every bush, weed, shrub and tree in trade winds on the peninsula).

    • A reasonable sane and less corrupt government that at least understands monetary policy and does not kill its own citizens so it can steal more. Probably asking too much, though.

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