Down With the Sickness

Caracas, we met again. 

This past Monday marked the expiration of my Venezuelan ID. This means that I got to make my second trip into the sprawling city of Caracas. This had me a bit worried due to the protests that have been sprouting up around the country but I was informed that all would be fine.

So I headed to the airport in Maturin, I moved from Anaco,  Monday morning and had some time to kill before I could get to the departure gate. i.e. the only gate in the airport. So I decided to munch on an Arepa con pollo y queso at the small cafe for a late breakfast while I tried to figure out what to do with the rest of my free hour there. I pretty much just ended up people watching at my seat in the cafe until I could go through security.

Amazing view from Eurobuilding Hotel & Suites in Caracas.
Then I experienced a miracle of Venezuelan air traffic. For the first time ever my flight was on time. Lets just take a moment to reflect on this monumental achievement.....The only problem with an on time flight meant that I had a 30 min wait at Caracas airport until my taxi showed up. Go figure. Once my taxi did show up I was feeling good. The sun was out, there wasn't any traffic on my way into the city, and I was going to be staying a pretty snazzy hotel. The taxi driver even spoke a little English. Things were going pretty well and I was ready to do this thing.

Fast forward a few hours:

After I had explored the hotel and hung out by the pool I started to get a bit queasy. Not really taking notice I just went about my day and suddenly BAM! I was sick. It pretty much just slapped me across the face to say hello. Next thing I knew I am getting sick every 30 mins I am trying to just keep water down after awhile. Finally I make my way to the concierge to attempt to tell them in my broken Spanish I need to get some medicine. They tell me they are going to send a driver and pick them up for me and so I go back to my room. However, I decide about 10 mins later that meds aren't going to work if I can't keep them down. I return to the concierge with my best Spanish to date and say " Quiero un doctor," as my eyes are brimming with tears. The poor guys look at me grief stricken and hurry off to get help. At 11 pm I am escorted to a fancy car with two hotel personnel to take me to a medical center right  around the corner. I was so happy.

At the medical center there was a dog sleeping in the entry way  next to a man bundled up in blankets sleeping on a bench. The walls had paint chipping off and the doors had faded foam lettering indicating the different room. We were greeted by two tired looking nurses. I seemed to be the only patient that night. I sat down with one of the nurses to explain my symptoms in broken Spanish. As she asked me questions I realized that I was having more difficulty understanding her. Turns out my brain just didn't want to translate anymore, but in the end I got through her questions and they were able to understand what was wrong.

 Next I am whisked into a small room where a lady shuts a curtain and starts talking at me. I have no idea what she is saying. I just feel like I am going to be sick again and wish she would stop asking questions. Clearly getting the message I do not understand she gives up talking to me and just starts preparing a needle with some medicine. That is when I understood that she wasn't asking me questions she was going to give me a shot, awesome. After the shot I was whisked back into the room with the two nurses so they could poke my belly a bit to see where it hurt. Quickly they handed me one bottle of pills and a packet of some other pills. Told me the instructions and said bye. My whole time there took less than 10 mins.

Only after I get back to the hotel did I remember that I have medicinal  allergies. However, I was so tired at this point I just crossed my fingers and hope that I didn't get injected with anything that would have bad side effects. Good news, I didn't.

An example of the crosses set up all over the country for the dead.
Picture from gracicastillo on twitter.
I still didn't feel the best the next day and I ended up extending my trip to the next day. On Wednesday I was able to go get my picture taken for my new ID. On the way to the SAIME office for the picture we past three barricades. There was also a few places where pictures and crosses of all the people who have died in the protests had been set up.  Getting my picture didn't take long and by
Wednesday night, after a 7 hour delay at the airport, I was back home.

Selfie all healthy hanging out by the pool. 
 I had never been sick like and being sick while in a foreign country all alone is a bit overwhelming. I believe I got sick from the food in the morning at the airport. Out of all the food they tell you to watch out for while traveling airport food isn't usually on the list. I will have to be more selective of my food in the future. Thankfully I am back to my healthy self just waiting to get back to work.