I´m now a couple of days into my stay in Caracas, after a week relaxing on the beach. I´m staying (couchsurfing) with a couple of musicians who teach, sing and play in various bands around Caracas. This city is alive with street art, music and drama - in the last couple of days I have an incredible amount of artistic activities - a street festival for St John´s day with loads of different venezualan drumming and dancing groups, murals and graffiti everywhere, a street music festival with local bands playing in hundreds of locations across the city streets, and situational drama in the streets. I even got to add my contribution to the music this afternoon with a pair of shaky eggs.
It is worth noting that a lot of these happenings are part of Chavez's election year propaganda machine!
For all that you hear about Caracas, it seems really safe, attractive and friendly. There are big Barrios (shanty towns) covering most of the hills surrounding the city, and many of these are violent, with high powered weapons being common. However, there is so much more to the city, and it feels like one of the most alive and spirited cities I have had the pleasure to visit. It is also beautiful in it´s way, a messy combination of old colonial architecture, ugly concrete skyscrapers and tumble down Barrios surrounded by lush green mountains, with a perfect year-round climate.
Still to come in Caracas I will be visiting a special needs school, getting a drumming lesson, and I suspect much more. Can´t wait.
Here are few Caracas pictures - more on my Picasa Album