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Ramblings from South America-Anaconda's trip home

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Gureghian
Hi Anaconda... did get your message and Donna just send me yout thread!!! My kind of food...
She is campin about 100 feet from us...tok a ride togethert San Antonio today.
She will be leaving the 7th of this month going west and myself somewhere around that time also going east...
Great report and pictures...
Be well... Ara & Spirit
 
Joined
Apr 9, 2007
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Katy
Hi Ara! Yeah, she mentioned that in the other forum. She's leaving the same day I get back. Tell her I said hi! Oh, and tell her this (she's gonna get a kick out of this) tell her that everyone here (Caracas) agree with me: that I don't have an accent!!!!! :rofl:
 
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
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Lufkin, tx
enjoyed reading your thread... my last trip to caracas was in the early 90's it was a beautiful city. i enjoy riding one of the cleanest subways in the world. the telefedico up the mountain was neat. i went to colonia tobar(tovar?) was an interesting visit..lots of good dancing and nightclubs.

i remember there were policemen on every street corner with machine guns back then but did not see any in your pics. i hope things have changed for the better.
 
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Happy New Year everyone!!

I finally got to ring in the new year with family after a 3 year absence. Christmas and New Year's celebrations are characterized by a fireworks display all over the city. Every year they try to ban the firework sales in the city, but every year it does nothing. I'm not sure there was a ban this year though. Anyways, at exactly 12:00 am you can see fireworks going off all over town. This goes for a good 45 min to an hour, and afterwards the city is left in a haze (for real!) from all the burnt gun powder. This year it wasn't as spectacular as years past, but it was a good show. The pictures just don't do much justice.

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I shot a little clip, but you can "hear" more than see...:doh: the little camera doesn't do too well in low light, and some resolution is lost when uploaded to photobucket. Still I hope you get an idea of the general ambience...

 
Joined
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Now, about New Years Eve dinner....:eat:

Remember the "Pan de Jamon"? Well, it's such a staple food during the holidays, that even the Cinnabon franchises in Venezuela make them!

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They use the same dough they use for the cinamon rolls, then add ham, raisins and bacon. It was quite good!

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The first dish was the Hallaca... It's kinda like a tamal, but not the same... It's preparation is very cumbersome, so it's usually only prepared in december. The final product looks like this:

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Before serving, you need to put them in boiling water to heat them up (it's already cooked). After 15 minutes, you take them out of the water, open the plantain leave wrap, and serve to a plate.

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For more detailes on how it's prepared, and what's in it, well, someone made a fine job posting an entry on wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallaca
 
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After the hallacas, we had ensalada de gallina, or hen salad. Hen meat is tastier, though a tad harder, than that of chicken. Plus you can save the hen broth (a LOT richer than chicken's) and have a hot cup next day to help with the hangover...:trust:

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The salad accompanies the roasted pork (the one I bought from the butcher), and is served with a slice of pan de jamon.

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By the time dinner is almost over, it's almost midnight. So out comes the bubbly, and the grapes... there is a spanish tradition to eat 12 grapes... one with each chime of the bell....not sure on the exact origin of it. Time to exchange hugs, kisses, laughter and tears as we also remember those no longer with us.
 
Joined
Apr 12, 2007
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196
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BsAs, ARG & Houston, TX
The half-hour thing is moronic, IMHO. Yeah, sun comes out earlier but also comes down sooner!! It gets dark a little before 6:00 pm.
The new president, Christina, just imposed daylight-savings time here in Argentina (for the next 90 days). Getting dark here now at 9:45! I can't imagine having to adjust to a half-hour time. CRAZEEE!
 
Joined
Apr 29, 2007
Messages
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Katy, Texas
Looks like you are having a great trip and enjoying some awesome food. It makes me hungry just looking at the pictures. Enjoy the rest of your visit and have a safe trip back.
 
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I am wondering how this is going to affect Ana's Monday morning weigh-in announcements :eat: but maybe there is a crash diet in the works when she returns to the USA... :lol2:
Or perhaps I'll be misteriously absent from that thread for several weeks... :roll:
 

Gilk51

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Or perhaps I'll be misteriously absent from that thread for several weeks... :roll:
Nah. I will probably get in trouble for saying this but you do look good in the photos, so I figure you will do alright, except for making the rest of us hungry... :eat:
 
Joined
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Nah. I will probably get in trouble for saying this but you do look good in the photos, so I figure you will do alright, except for making the rest of us hungry... :eat:
Why thank you Chuck! :oops: I hope you are right....there will be another food entry from yesterday, and another one coming from next sunday for sure...
 
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Katy
This how we spend winter around here...(more later) :nana:




Oh yes...I can feel the hate mail coming... :rofl:
 
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rick
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:eek2: It wasn't a Jicama meal, it was yuca. Sorry it took a few days to figure out. It was a stew like dish that was very tasty. My friends Mom made it when I was down helping work on her house. RH:rider: :eat:
 
M

Mike in Clear Lake

This how we spend winter around here...(more later) :nana:

...

Oh yes...I can feel the hate mail coming... :rofl:
Actually, the discerning gentlemen will be there at the beach revisando las piernas largas de las venezolanas. It's not my imagination, it's the first thing that men notice as soon as they get off of the airplane. It must be in the genes :rider:
 
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Actually, the discerning gentlemen will be there at the beach revisando las piernas largas de las venezolanas. It's not my imagination, it's the first thing that men notice as soon as they get off of the airplane. It must be in the genes :rider:
Too bad discerning men aren't discerning enough to NOT wear speedos!!! :puke:
 
Joined
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Katy
A little more on typical food.....

This report couldn't possibly be complete without mentioning the all-mighty arepa. The arepa is kinda like a tortilla for a mexican, or bread for an american. It's a corn patty that can be pretty much filled with anything your heart desires. It can be breakfast, it can be lunch, it can be dinner...it's the first thing hungry revelers eat when leaving a party in the wee hours of the morning. It can be served without filling to be used in lieu of bread or a dinner roll on a meal. Some arepa-filling combinations are quite traditional and have their own name. For instance this one is the "reina pepeada", it's filled with pulled chicken, avocado, eggs and mayo:

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This one, is filled with queso de mano, a fresh white cheese, with a consistency slighty similar to mozzarella, but much tastier:

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That night though, I went with the cachapa, a sort of corn cake. Although you can find many places that will serve it with a large variety of fillings, the more traditional ones are filled with your choice of queso de mano or queso guayanes, and different spreads: butter, cream (whey). I had the queso de mano one:

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No matter what neighborhood you're in

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...you'll always find an arepera nearby

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More on arepas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arepa
And cachapas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cachapa
 

Tourmeister

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It is always interesting to me what ingredients people will mix in different cultures. Often times I read stuff like you have here and I think, "Ewww... I would have NEVER thought to combine those things..." :lol2: Then I start to wonder about the things I combine and how people there might react :wary:
 
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Ok guys...don't hate me much (more) for this entry.... :sun:

I went to the beach a couple of mornings. The beach it's close enough to the city that you can drive in the morning and be back home for lunch if you want to save time/money. These aren't the best beaches we have, but they are conveniently close, especially if you're only looking to get a little bit of a tan and play a little on the waves.

This particular beach isn't big, but you pay a fee to enter, a bit more safer and includes some ammenities that you would have to pay for anyways at public beaches.

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It's enclosed by a couple of breakwaters, they take the blunt of the waves, but let in enough waves to make for a fun time in the water.

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My camera is supposed to be waterproof, so it was time to test it. I got LOTS of double takes from people when they saw me going in the water with it...

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We wen't back next morning, but although the day looked quite promising early in the morning...

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...but it got really overcast in a hurry. Not that it mattered much, the water wasn't too cold.

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The waves were much more fun though. And you can still get a bit of a tan even if it's a tad cloudy. At least the sand didn't get too hot...

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As you can see we had a lot of fun taking pictures in the water. I handed the camera to one of my friends and she got busy taking pictures.

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As you can see from the last picture, the waves were getting higher and higher. When they are coming at you, you have to options, you jump REALLY hard and let it carry you...



Or duck under it. Some people dive through it as well. If you're too close to where the wave breaks, or not paying attention, this is what happens:



But hey, I got my sinuses cleared up real nice, so it's all good!:rofl:

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Well I'm back in TX. The trip home was great, but I'm happy to be back. I still have a couple of entries to finish this report. I'll try to do that after I get back from work today.
 
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I know, I'm trying real hard to keep my eyes open. I don't want to leave the office today with "QWERTY" imprinted backwards on my forehead.
 

scar04

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I've actually had that in San Antonio, except they were steamed. My uncle had one of his nieces come up from Oaxaca and she brought a ton of stuff. I was really confused by it at first. The sweetness of the banana or plaintain leaf that is infused with the cornmeal is really different, especially for someone who is used to spicy stuff inside the corn husk. Great report Ana, Beautiful Country. My sister is trying to get me to take a vacation with her to South America, Im getting very tempted. Thanks for the pics and sharing with us.
 
Joined
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I was starving and couldn't wait for the omelette (the spanish omelette has potatoes, so it takes a while to prepare), so I quickly attacked the "pan the jamon", a traditional bread prepared for the holidays which is filled with ham, olives and raisins:
Ummmm. Had some pan de jamon" the other night at my neighbors house for Three Kings celebration.


Lee
 

scar04

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We did pan de rosca for the three kings at the office. fortunately I dont have to shell out for the party this year. :mrgreen:
 
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The next pics might help bring more context on the political situation down there.

After Chavez lost the referendum to ammend the consitution on last month's election, these ads started appearing all over the city (paid for with taxpayer's money off course...)

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Which means "For now." This is an obvious reference to the profetic words uttered by Chavez after he was arrested during the attempted coup-de-etat many years ago when he was in the army. The ads hint at the government looking for another way to push the socialist agenda and other changes that got rejected when they lost the referendum on the constitution ammendment.

If only they would really concentrate their efforts in solving more pressing issues like the widespread poverty:

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And the alarmingly climbing crime rate. Caracas has never been the safest of cities in Latin America, but when you see electric fences on some neighborhood you kinda know things are going downhill quickly...

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But hey, why not waste money in anti-yankee propaganda instead?? :doh:

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The ads above read "Corn is not fuel!" "Against the crop of death". The cartoon is self-explanatory. On the lower left hand sign, one of the stupidest oximorons I've read in a while: "Building the Bolivarian Socialism. The full democracy!".
And another non-sensical phrase: "We're free. WE're (made) of corn". Unless they were reffering to the Popol-vuh, but I digress... The ad was paid by the Ag and land ministry.
 
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And to end this report on a happier note...more food!!!! :eat:

Saturday night a couple of friends invited me for dinner on one of many spanish food restaurants in the city. With the high influx of immigrants from Spain (and Italy and Portugal), you'll find that many of these restaurants will have food as good as what you could get in Spain.

We decided to go with "tapas" or appetizers instead of a regular entree. We had fried spanish peppers (they aren't hot at all, in fact, their flavor is a little on the sweet side),

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"chistorras", a variety of sausages,

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...and "pulpo a la gallega": octopus with potatoes seasoned with paprika:

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The octopus was cooked to perfection, which is not an easy feat, too much or too little cooking time and you end up with a chewie mess with suckers. But this one was outstanding. We had a few brewskies to wash it all down. Salud!

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On sunday we were invited for lunch by some good friends of the family. As some of my posts may have hinted, my parents are spanish immigrants, and so are most of their friends. When I knew I was going over there for the holidays I kinda hinted (ok, I asked) I wanted this particular lady to cook me some particular spanish dish, since she makes a mean "cocido gallego".
When we got there she was finishing preparing "empanada gallega" with the most traditional filling, cod fish:

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The "cocido" is like a stew, in which you cook veggies and meats in a huge pot. On the veggie side: mustard or collard greens, cabagge, chickpeas and potatoes:

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The meats are usually beef, pork ribs, bacon and other pork bits....like snout, ears, tongue... The bacon and ribs on this dish are not the regular bacon and ribs you buy at any store. These are salted, cured pork ribs and bacon, that are de-salted before cooked. I imagine this goes back to the days when most people didn't have power, let alone a fridge, and had to figure other ways to preserve meat.

This dish is usally served with "filloas", or crepes,

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..and then eaten in the company of family and friends

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After this artery-clogging, yet delicious lunch (followed by some empanada by mid-afternoon) I went home, but not before stopping to get a pciture of the "Cruz del Avila", a huge cross on the side of the mountain that is lighted every year during the holiday season, and can be seen pretty much everywhere in the city

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This brings to conclusion my trip report. I got back to TX a couple of days ago. It was a great visit with the family and the old stomping grounds, but I'm also glad to be back in the USA. Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed it!
 
Last edited:

Tourmeister

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Great report! I love seeing stuff like this! I am a picky eater so the food looks like it would really challenge me :lol2: However,... I'd sure like the opportunity to face that challenge ;-)
 
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I have been very late in catching this thread, but I have enjoyed it immensely. Thank you Ana for sharing with us. I'll have to add this one to the "things to do" list. Of course it may take a few years.




Well I'm back in TX. The trip home was great, but I'm happy to be back. I still have a couple of entries to finish this report. I'll try to do that after I get back from work today.
 

george-1

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This brings to conclusion my trip report. I got back to TX a couple of days ago. It was a great visit with the family and the old stomping grounds, but I'm also glad to be back in the USA. Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed it!
:clap:
Thanks for posting this. It's really nice to see how others live.

Mostly shows me how we are all more alike than different.

Now, take another trip so you can write another report! :lol2:
 
Joined
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Great report! I love seeing stuff like this! I am a picky eater so the food looks like it would really challenge me :lol2: However,... I'd sure like the opportunity to face that challenge ;-)
I, on the other hand, am NOT a picky eater! I would try it ALL.

Great report. I loved it.


Lee
 
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Odessa!
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Outstanding! What a visual treat. Thanks so much for taking the time to put this great report together. Makes me want to book a flight!
 
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