Thursday, March 26, 2009

Caracas: Work, work, work

After Sunday's exploration of Caracas it was time to get down to work. The client's office was six stops of the metro to the East and that was how I got there and back.

The metro was packed - I mean really packed, more a crush than anything else. While the guide books and my client were united in advising to hide even a watch or a ring that didn't seem to be something that the Caraquenos worried much about, as most people were glued to phones texting away, listening to iPods, or even playing on the DS2.

The view above is from my hotel room and gives a feel for the city. The central areas seem relatively prosperous and my client's offices were brand new with all mod cons. So there I was, receiving and sending email from my iPhone in the middle of Caracas - not the usual image of this city.

Attached to the hotel was a huge shopping mall, with a lot of the same shops as I've seen in malls in the UK or the US, a food court and videos of Kylie live in concert somewhere. Though I don't think there's a mall in the UK with a gun shop!

Again and again I've been staggered by the cost of things here. The problem is rampant inflation and a fixed exchange rate. The difference between official rate and black market is about 3, and I'd say the black market rates are right, as everything feels like it costs three times what it should do.

But the work is done, three days of 8am to 6pm meetings, and so am now packing for the next part of the trip.

The real adventure is yet to come.....

No comments: