Venezuela: Life in Caracas – Day 2
I tend to wake up naturally with the sun rise over here and the days seem longer than in any other winter I’ve ever experienced. At 27 degrees celcius, I admired the view from my penthouse and watched the sporadic patterns of rainfall on the mountains. There is a certain calmness about being here. And something else I couldn’t quite explain.
As I stepped out of the heavy duty security doors, walking down the stairs, I could almost feel spirits present. An eerie aura surrounded me. I knew there had to be a story behind this place. I found a gym on the first floor. Empty. I walked all around the area, getting lost at every dead end until I finally reached the main gates, occupied by the guardians.
Spanish forced itself out of me as my brain cells adjusted to the language that would be my adopted tongue as long as I’m here. But I still need to practise. The guardian introduced himself as “Lui”. Lui accompanied me around the complex for a while. Exercise. Due to the altitude level, I was already exhausted by the time we reached the first sports ground – where the “ninos” spent their time playing football. A running track. That will see the best of me in the mornings.
Sun set as mosquitos clambered all over the place, I headed back in. But, I couldn’t get in. After failed attempts opening the door, I heard a man’s voice. Unfamiliar. I realised he was my house mate. That was when I discovered the true horror stories about where I’m living now.
Still today, criminals use this place to dump dead bodies. It is an ideal location for their purpose. Isolated. Hence why vultures are always seen flying over the buildings, in search of corpses. This penthouse used to belong to a drug trafficker. Once he was captured, all his belongings were taken. The government possessed this property and it was later given to a broadcaster. In the house, I am told that bad spirits can sometimes impact on the relationships between the occupants. Time to get out the Arabic verses and the Peruvian wood!
In most parts of the city, danger lurks in almost every other alley. Danger. Often creeps up to describe this place I’m living in. According to statistics and reports, Caracas has one of the highest crime and murder rates in the world. Not only notorious for its ruthless crimes and kidnappings but the division between the rich and the poor here is extreme. Some say poverty leads people into criminal activity and the domino effect begins, plaguing society.
Now I know why I have to be escorted by private transportation to get around. Safety. Not taken lightly. Heavy. Duty. Safety. Because I’m literally living in the haunted penthouse on top of the haunted hill with a violent past in one of the most dangerous cities in the world; Caracas.