Internship @ Caracas (Venezuela)

ReemsterCARP

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Within a few weeks I'll move to the city of Caracas for a five month internship. Any tips and tricks or do's and don'ts?
 

elhombresinnombre

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I've never lived there but I spent some time travelling in Venezuela some months ago. Congratulations! It should be good fun if you can keep out from under the feet of the ruling party. On the other hand if your internship is _with_ the ruling party all doors will be opened to you anyway. I base that on my experience as an independent traveller when compared with that of my friend who went from the UK as part of a delegation from a left-of-centre political party.

Tips:

Don't eat the mondongo.

I'm sure I could think of some other things too, but the thing that really sticks in my mind is that there was an internal market for the US$ that bore no relation whatever to the international market. I would say take as much currency in US$ as you feel comfortable with and then don't let it out of your sight! While you are new there, people will offer what appear to be great currency exchange deals for US$ cash but you'll quickly discover that the dollar will go much, much further actually buying certain things in dollars because the internal market is in operation there.

If you get Venezuelan currency out of cash machines using a foreign card you will only get the international rate of exchange despite the rates of exchange you may read in the Venezuelan press. Try not to bring any Bolivar Fuertes out of the country if you can help it - the exchange rate for cash is useless everywhere else.
 

elhombresinnombre

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Moxon said:
Doesn't that apply to mondongo anywhere in the world?
It certainly does now. But whenever I tell my Venezuelan Mondogo story in Argentina, someone always says 'Ah but my sister/grandmother/aunt cooks this wonderful mondongo,' And as I am running away down the road I hear this faint voice in the distance calling out 'and I will ask her to make some especially for you...'
 

Moxon

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I happened upon a bargain all you can eat lunch buffet once in Asunción, the catch was there was only one dish... yes, mondongo. This was discovered after paying up front, it was the lightest lunch I've ever had.
 

dsc

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I was in a Brazilian restaurant in Panama City last July and didn't know many of the dishes. I tried this new funky dish I never head of called 'mondongo'.

I ate everything around the fatty chunks of tripe (or whatever the hell it is).

Gawd, never again.. :p


I find www.virtualtourist.com handy for tips of all sorts on any destination, so check them out for Caracas, as well.

I also stumbled onto this a few months ago on Caracas: http://www.dcbachelor.com/2006/venezuela-urban-hell
 

ReemsterCARP

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Thanks for all the replies so far. My internship will be with the Dutch embassy, so getting decent exchange rates won't be a problem. My government is at relatively good terms with the Chávez administration, so I'm not expecting any big problems because of my nationality.

What I do want to know, seen that the dresscode @ the embassy will be very formal, will I stand out of the crowd when wearing a suit when walking through the streets?
 

axisoflogic

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ReemsterCARP said:
Thanks for all the replies so far. My internship will be with the Dutch embassy, so getting decent exchange rates won't be a problem. My government is at relatively good terms with the Chávez administration, so I'm not expecting any big problems because of my nationality.

What I do want to know, seen that the dresscode @ the embassy will be very formal, will I stand out of the crowd when wearing a suit when walking through the streets?
You will fit in best if you dress informally. Jeans and a tee shirt or short-sleeved button shirt will do just fine. Note that most men do not wear shorts no matter how hot the sun might be on a given day. Of course, if you are going to a formal meeting of any kind, better to be overdressed than underdressed. Also, even in formal meetings, often men wear dress shirts without ties. Finally, a word about personal security - the US State Dept exaggerates the dangers massively, but in Caracas, like any big city one must be aware of where one is; that takes some experience and a friend who knows Caracas. In what part of Caracas will you be staying? FYI - East Caracas and Chacao are generally opposition strongholds. There are other parts of Caracas that are inhabited by a majority of Chavistas. - Best wishes for your sojourn!

Les (axisoflogic.com)
 

syngirl

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i thought i'd give anything a try... until i had mondongo... ugh ugh... and it was mondongo with an extra delicious serving of pig's feet on top. thank god i didn't eat those, made my boyfriend terribly sick. i ate the lentils, or whatever beans they were, nothing else.
 
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