After the conversation with the hotel people this morning, I weighed my options and decided I didn`t want to venture out onto the streets of Caracas at 5 in the morning when it was still dark and dangerous. And so, instead, I went back to the hotel, rushed around packing my bags in time for check-out, then later took a taxi to the bus stop, then the bus to the airport, and arrived here at about 6pm. I had dinner at Subway (being able to eat something familiar like that made me more comfortable in a less-than-ideal situation), wandered around the building to get my bearings, and am now wasting time in the internet cafe. When it gets a bit later and less busy, I`ll go back up to the food area, which seems safe and where there are always people, to find a bench to sleep on. I`ve got my cable lock so I can just lock my bags to a bench or something and not worry too much. I`m sure I`ll be sleeping light anyway.
But I have a story to tell. A strange thing happened to me when I was still at the hotel, let me tell you.
The one good thing about the place was that there were other travellers there with whom I could chat. So both evenings I`d go out to the open (concrete) terrace, the only common area, and socialize with whoever was out there.
Eric, a 28yearold Argentinian who travels around giving long tours to groups, is a loud, opinionated, really awesome guy. We got along well and had conversations about politics, technology and how it affects society, video games, everything. He was very intelligent and though he was acutely aware of the world he had a laughing, light manner that I liked.
Lucy is a 33yearold Brit, travelling around Central and South America for months, was very nice though she tended to ramble, and good company for those two evenings.
Joa (I think that was his name...), 24, is a really cool guy who looks Chinese, was born in Puerto Rico and grew up speaking Spanish, but went to a private American school so he also has a perfect American accent. We also had a lot to talk about as he was in the American army for 5 years and went to Iraq, has travelled a lot, does martial arts, draws, dances, breaks. A very cool guy.
I had a really good time hanging out with these three.
But the strange phenomenon came with my acquaintance with Rod Junior, a 24yearold black guy from the Congo. He is also very nice and I learned some things about him, too: he studied international commerce in Morocco for 5 years, he lived in Senagal for a while, he played basketball for some international team in Germany, and now lives in Venezuela working a shitty job at the hotel. His English isn`t that great so in the group he was pretty quiet, but when it was just the two of us talking (and we really only talked for maybe 20 minutes or 1/2hr) he suddenly decided that he was in love with me and told me so.
This didn`t come out the first evening, but the second evening before the others showed up, he suddenly was asking about whether I had someone at home, whether I was married, and when he learned I wasn`t married he said: ¨I will wait for you, 4 years, 5 years, it doesn`t matter,¨ like he was certain in 4 years I would want to marry him. At first I laughed it off, I said I`m sure he`d find some nice girl in Senegal or the Congo, or wherever he happened to live, that he didn`t understand I wasn`t interested, that I didn`t know him. The look on his face though - his whole manner changed from the first evening, and the sort of desperation and almost pathetic look when he found out I had to go sleep in the airport, the trouble he took trying to make sure I was ok... He said ¨Trust me, I love you, I will wait for you. I don`t know why, it`s like a sign from God,¨ I just said I was flattered and thank you. And maybe he isn´t in love with me, but he really thinks he is, and it`s such a strange thing to happen to me that I just had to write about it. Today was a bit tiring, actually, cuz he sort of followed me around, unthreatening, but again with that sort of annoying desperation, a painful eagerness to serve me or something - I don`t know to describe it. Anyway, the whole thing fascinates me but moves me not in the least so I`m happy to be on my way.
And now, here I am back to the reality of the airport. It is a nice airport. But I don`t have much to say about it. In the morning I`ll pay my departure tax, go through customs, the whole deal, and breathe a sigh of relief when I can get on that plane and have a proper rest.
See you in Canada!!!