The cruising adventures of Sid and Manuela

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Christmas and New Year

It took no time to settle in and in no time we were busier then heck. Sid helped Jim fixing his jet engine of his dinghy which took many days and many hours, but I know the guys had fun, they always do.

I taught Jenny and Rocio how to make Swiss Christmas Cookies and we had a blast. Here in Venezuela the Christmas Tradition is making Hallacas which is a family affair and takes two days. I had to laugh as Rocio after 6 hours of making cookies stated that cookies are harder to make than Hallacas and take way too much time, but she did like to eat them. It was a really great day to hang out with the girls


In Switzerland and in Venezuela Christmas is celebrated on the 24th as well so I invited Rocio to come over for dinner since Darren was still in India

working. We had a very quite and nice dinner. Lobster baked over with B├ęchamel Sauce topped with Parmesan appetizer followed by Chateau Briand and for Desert we met all the other cruisers around the pool and exchanged cookies. We had a lot of fun.

The 25th we were at Jim and Jenny’s and enjoyed the traditional turkey dinner with loads of deserts. New Year was a bit quite, who ever was left in the marina met in front of Ann’s Mini Mart at Bahia Redonda. Everybody brought an appetizer and whatever they drank. Around 9 most disappeared and so we were only Debby, Rob (Wind Shear), Sid and me left to toast the New Year in with 3 bottles of Bubbly. For that we went up to the potluck area which has an incredible view over Puerto La Cruz’s coast line and also to El Morro. We were a bit confused about when they really celebrated Midnight as Chavez set the time back about a year ago by half an hour, some started the fireworks our time the other’s at what we call Ego Time. In any case we couldn’t believe in how many fireworks we saw at one time for over one hour, there were hundreds of them it was unbelievable.

Jenny organized a New Years Brunch at their house on the first so there was more good food and drinks and we were going to look forward to starting a diet, yeah right.

One week later Ann asked me if I would cater her Birthday, but of course, I couldn’t say no she does so much for the cruising community. After a lot of planning shopping and two days of cooking we celebrated her Birthday with almost 40 people and all had lots of fun.

We are seriously thinking about dieting now especially since Sid broke the beach chair, he claims it was rusted out, but I’m not so sure, then he broke the second one too, still claming it was rusted out. Actually they were but a little fun is always good.

After all the partying we’re busy again with boat chores. Sid’s doing some varnishing plus lots of odds and ends including dropping things in the water like a Swiss Army knife. Frankly I think he got tired of watching the varnish dry so he made himself a little challenge catching Swiss Army knifes with a magnet LOL. I’m busy again with sewing projects, zipper on stack pack broke that will be a huge cumbersome repair and we probably need some extra help to get that big pack including sail across the sewing machine. Plan is to be out of Venezuela by the end of January, life is still good for us and we feel no dangers, we still feel as safe as we did as ever before being in Venezuela. Too many bad rumors are keeping the cruisers away. Although the Venezuelan President is taking over more and more and life for the locals is getting harder then ever. The cost of living has gone up so much, all the prices at the stores have tripled in the year we’ve been gone. We now pay US prices for most things and prices keep climbing. El Presidente just devaluated the Venezuelan Bolivares from 2.16 to 2.5 for food and 4.5 for anything else. All locals panicked and ran to the stores buying up all electrical household goods from TVs to stereos, microwaves, blow driers, you name it, these stores have empty shelves. They say the prices of these things will go up more. Chavez will also start rolling black outs of at least 4 hours per day in big cities, instead of fixing the problem he punishes his people. He also threatened to seize any store rising prices and has done so to over a dozen stores. We believe this is all happening in Caracas as we haven’t seen or heard anything here. He’s loosing his popularity and even his supporters are getting more and more angry with him. Actually we just had a knock on the boat and the marina employee brought us a schedule of rolling blackouts, it’s not just in Caracas anymore it’s starting here too. From tomorrow on every 48 hours the power for us will be off from 15:00 to 17:00 at the docks and the Marina and condo building from 9:00 until 11:30. Anna Merced who works at Kaiglas office just told me that during these ours she can’t open the office and therefore is not getting paid either. She also said that all the products have gone up already she will not be able to buy her shampoo anymore which by the way was the cheapest one. She also said that the speculation is that the BS will go up to 8 for our exchange, Kaiglas office is not changing anymore and she thinks that nobody will change at that rate. Guess we have to watch our BS now. Rob just bought two one gallon bottle of water which two days ago he paid 20 BS today he paid 24. I guess it’s time to think about leaving, the party is starting to come to and end. I feel so bad for the people here.