Today was such a lonely day. It happens when I have many things to do and not enough time to “lose” (?) talking to people or hanging out with friends. I had to hire a translator to translate officially some letters that I need in order to get the governments authorization to buy legal dollars. One of the translators (a friend of the family) was charging me 90BsF per page, while a really good translator from the US Embassy in Venezuela charged me 60BsF per page (and she was not a family friend). While I was going to the other side of the city to meet the translator I remembered that I’d promised my little sister that I was going to buy a chocolate for her. I stopped in a kiosk next to the street and I asked for the chocolate that my sister likes. It was 5BsF. You don’t know it, but it is expensive. I keep on thinking that these prices are wrong, my head is still in 2009. I left without the chocolate and just for curiosity I asked for the same chocolate in the next kiosk that I saw. It was 4BsF. I bought it. I swear that the second kiosk was like 200mts far away from the first one. But my idea today wasn’t talking about the ridiculous change of prices in Venezuela; I will actually talk about something completely different.
I had to do other things like paying water and electricity (which are, from my point of view, really cheap), and I had to go to a job interview. Lonely day… I was walking around the crowded streets of Caracas, where everybody seems to be going somewhere, even if they’re just walking their dog. Caracas is a city in which people don’t look at you because you’re just another gear, another piece of the machine. After all, we’re almost 4 million people trying to share 1930 square Km. Without realizing it, you move and everything freezes. You walk really fast trying to be strong, to be seen as someone that knows where to go… you walk and you don’t look at anyone, you don’t listen to anyone… and suddenly everyone disappears. People are still walking around you, but you’re so automatic that they freeze to you. The sky… it vanishes in between so many buildings and so many cars… it stops existing to you. Moreover, you don’t want to fall or to be run over by a car. Existence freezes while you move. It almost seems that you’re the only one walking on the street. That’s what happened to me today, and I realized it because the translator made me wait for around half an hour in her office which is in a really tall building. Her office has a huge window that faces the city, and for half an hour I just stared at it.
The first ten minutes I was just looking at a typical city… buildings everywhere, some cars here and there, and a mountain in the background. It was nice to watch but boring. Then I realized that something was moving at the very top of the building next to mine, it was a man wearing white clothes that was trying to fix something, or maybe he was just playing around. Who knows? The important thing is that he was the one that opened my eyes. After I saw him I wondered for how long he had been there, in front of me; and I saw the windows of the buildings were people were looking at the street, hanging clothes… and the street was even better… I couldn’t wait to go downstairs and see what was going on there. It was like when you’re looking at the grass and you see an insect moving and, all of the sudden, you realize that there’re tens and then hundreds of insects next to your feet. I don’t know if it’s happened to you.
After my meeting with the translator I went out of the building and I sat in a Café. A kid was selling the newspapers and his mother argued with him while he was just looking at a girl that was waiting at the bus stop. A man was selling flowers in the other street and he had on his hands one of the biggest and most beautiful roses that I’ve seen. He was big and really masculine, but he touched the flower with delicacy and gentleness, I didn’t see that coming! A bus driver had a terrible fight with a driver that was talking on the phone. People were sitting, walking, talking, thinking, being… all over the place. Maybe they also thought they were alone. I had fun for a while trying to imagine their stories, their thoughts and concerns… Where were they coming from? Where were they going? Why are there so many Chinese people here? Haha… As you know, Venezuela’s getting closer and closer with China, and you can see it in the streets, most of Chinese people are businessman walking around with their colleagues.
Then it started raining… and tropical rain is really distinct. It comes out of nowhere, the raindrops fall heavily, without piety; and then it disappears as fast as it came. After the sudden rain, the sun rises again but it’s unable to cure the city’s wounds (that’s how one of my favorite singers describes the rain here). When it rains in a big city, things get confusing and messy, but people wake up. And I was there… trying to finish my cappuccino (which wasn’t a cappuccino, I don’t know why they put it that name), awake, and looking at all these people coming back from their sleep.
Maybe just when we stop is when we realize that nothing remains still… everything’s moving all the time.