We visited Caracas during the Christmas Season of 2005 headed into the new year of 2006. We had high expectations of this place since there seemed to be a lot hot men from Venezuela. I know its a shallow reason and very carnal in nature but it's better to use desires of the flesh as spring board for a broader understaing of culture.
That being said, our adventure started when we got to Simon Bolivar airport. Like our other trips, we preferred to drive in our rental cars to take in the city's culture. Our hotel was the Caracas Cumberland, sort of a chain hotel in Venezuela. Off the bat,there were cab drivers who were willing to be our guides if we followed them. But because of our pride and budget, we said no. We got directions from the car rental agency who said that the hotel was only half an hour away. Cut to 2 1/2 hours later, after being misdirected to the different Cumberland and non Cumberland hotels, we were stuck in the middle of the city, not knowing where we were. Finally, we chanced upon a French bakery where the owner spoke english. He was kind enough to leave his business, get into his car and drive us to our hotel. We were very appreciative and if we ever find our way back there we would dine in his bakery.
Once in Cumberland Hotel, the very friendly (and there's more to this) concierge saw us to our room. By this time around, we only had time for a nap, a bath, and a quick dinner before it was time to head into the bars. During the night, we preferred not drive, so we took a cab instead. The drivers are very honest and knew where to take you if you tell them what you were looking for. La Cotorra is the main bar there but it escapes me what it looks like. I do remember spending New Year's eve in a bar Centro Commercial Tamanaco or San Lorenzo (Their malls or shopping centers are known by acronyms like CCT or Centro Commercial Tamanaco. etc. There's another notable bar call ZZ or doble Zeta a bar that showcases some of the best drag performances we've seen so far ( some are actually, more interpretative)
So here's where the Kristen Bjorn quip comes in, although the men in Venezuela are very friendly and good looking, I was wrong to assume that, unlike Brazil, the real Caracas men are not buffed and oozing with sensuality. One experience we had at the Termas or the Saunas confirmed that the best looking men we saw were not even from Venezuela but were from Colombia (check out my other Latin America blogs, you'll see that some Colombian men get around). Nevertheless, the men were easy on the eyes and very artiiculate. There was one sauna were you could choose your masseur and all of them offered everything from regular massage to a little something something. A massage cost $20 during the time and the men give it their all.
One down side to Caracas is that the beach is like 45 minutes away and you have to drive all the way back to the airport, through this one highway (that during rainstorms could be closed due to land slides). So it wasnt as accessible as we thought. FYI get a hotel with a pool.
Caracas is full of historical and cultural treasures. They have great churches and have a busy metropolitan area. Food is great as well and anyone who visits Venezuela should try their arepas.
The most memorable good experience we had during that time, was the conversation we had with some of the cab drivers. They don't waste time assuming we're from the US and we dive straight into political talk. Chavez was the president during our visit and the people were divided when it came to him. All over the city, you can see that there was an effort to revitalize the country with gung slogans in the highways to the anti Bush vandalisms all over the city. It was clear that the people were happy that Chavez was one of the first to verbalize his disgust for GWB.
As for the concierge, note to self and to you..be weary of hotel employees that bring up liquor and porn mags to your room right before before you spend a night out to town. They're up to no good. Believe, its no Kristen Bjorn video