Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Last days, planning a trip.

This post is part of a bigger compilation of thoughts and thus, it might have no sense or lead to miss information. If you want to fully read it, start from here, otherwise continue reading.

Something important of moving anywhere else is getting ready to the upcoming changes; weather is one of those big changes anyone would suffer. Thus Kathy and I were checking every now and then the weather forecast for a whole year and we already knew that august in Sydney is cold because of the winter, then for a moment or so I remembered the 2000 summer Olympics on Sydney (celebrated on September) when a sports reporter took a chance to review a Venezuelan and his only couple of words were “man, here is freezing!”.

I must confess, at that time I didn’t know or even thought about moving down under. But it got to my attention that a huge desert as Australia could have low temperatures, so I tried to check the Internet to find out more and was my first time to know that Australia has the four seasons, it has snow in some mountains and also has tropical monsoons at the very north.

The idea of arriving to Australian land, looking as ice cube didn’t like me too much, so we figured to buy some winter clothes, blankets, quilts and the list goes on and on. After a long listing of stuffs, we went to the only store in Caracas which could have anything alike just to find out it was extremely expensive; another solution must be found, maybe to somewhere colder than Venezuela, but where? The only nearest place to Venezuela with cold weather could be Bogota in Colombia.

I should say something here, you might be thinking “rod, are you out of your mind? How could be any cheaper to travel to another country to get stuff instead just trying harder in your own country?” and you might be right, it should be cheaper to take a deep look if you are talking about a regular basis economy. But in Venezuela things work different, every Venezuelan has a limited access to foreign currencies such as American dollars, these limitations also applies to companies, thus a parallel market to acquire dollars exist in which the American dollar is valued 2.5 to 3 times more than the government admits, plus 90% of the products consumed within the country for daily operations is based on imported merchandise. As consequence, every single good in a store / market / shop tags a price with is 400% inflated related to the same product bought in the US or other country. If you sum the expenses of traveling outside Venezuelan borders + the good price (if you buy big contents, not just two things) you will be having more things and you traveled somewhere else and get to know something.

So, back to the travel, the thing was getting to Bogota, make the arrangements for a cheap hotel or hostel, and acquire the knowledge of where to shop. At that very moment, an angel falls to my sight. Alex, a mate and moderator from my forum ‘aussie neighbour’ emerged from the nowhere giving some directions and offering me some stay for few days.

Once everything was set and ready to go, we went to an online travel agency named “despegar.com” (take-off.com in Spanish) and shopped two tickets headed to Bogota. With the tickets and everything ready, we went to CADIVI (the Venezuelan responsible for releasing dollars to the market) in order to get the approval in our credit cards so we can buy our clothes.

The train seemed to be unstoppable until an issue occurs.