Written Jan. 5th
Received – Jan. 17th
(The Bold notes written by Grandpa)
Well I am here in Venezuela and arrived here without mishap. If you ever plan to come here, don’t just bring money, bring a bank. It is practically impossible to buy a meal for less than $2.00 and the waiter expects at least $1.00 for a tip, which means that one pays $3.00 for a meal here that you could buy at home for a $.25 price. And even at that the meal you would get would at least not be overcooked and the food wouldn’t be more than a few days weeks old at the most.
Another thing, this Hotel (?), at which I am staying, is the best in all Caracas. It is The Hotel here. Now for a description. In your rural training you probably saw a number of cases where the children, thinking it smart, wrote on the “Johnny” walls and although the phone numbers and learned writing here may be of a higher type, the preceding description very nicely shows what I think of the Hotel Palace. The floors are dirty, scum and mock in the corners, fingerprints and dirty spots shoulder high all over the places where one is apt to touch with his hands and shoulders, and writing, as I said, here and there around the place. Doorknobs missing, locks broken, doors won’t close because of warping, lights hung here and there in terrible locations on wire held in place by nails or staples, and the glass shelf in our bathroom was at one time fastened to the wall by screws but the plaster broke so now it is held by nails with the heads bent over so that they won’t go through the holes in the brackets.
Yes, they do have a tub and shower of some B.C. origin, perhaps from Caesar’s time, and it looks as if the plumber had been out on a two-week bender, just before he made the installation, and when you take a shower, even if there were a curtain, the water would spray on the floor so perhaps that’s why they don’t have one. There are no windows in the room but in front of the door there is an 8 or 10 ft. balcony so I can at least see what I am writing here, since I have the door wide open and the sun is shining. The bathroom has one window in the ceiling that serves for two bathrooms. They are next to each other, with a 12 or 15 foot wall between them. The window is about 20 ft. from the floor. The lower walls and floors are tile so that instead of sweeping, they come and dumped the water on the floor, swish it around with a mop and then diverted it out onto the balcony. From there it flows through holes down to the Center Court, around which are the dining tables and from there it seeps into the ground. This, however, is not a daily procedure. I could continue on and on but since I haven’t a great deal of money left, I don’t want to spend too much on stamps so that will have to suffice for a description of this room No. 29 and the rest of the “Dump”. Here are a few items of comparison as to living conditions. Rooms $7.00 per day, Amer. Cigs. $.60 and up, shoes $15.00 and up. Everything here is about 3 times as expensive as in the States. This location is right in the high-class business district of Caracas. Do you recall what Greenwich Village looks like? Well, all of Caracas is just like that except the streets are narrower, dirtier, “hillier”, “noisier” and not room for more than two people abreast on the sidewalk (where there are sidewalks!). However, there is one redeeming fact, Caracas, although only about 20 miles from the shore, is about 300 feet above sea level and, at that, is surrounded, by not merely hills, but real mountains going up 3, 4, 5, and 6,000 feet. By standing about 300 feet from a 2-story building, you can see the tops of them over the buildings. They are really very close and very high. Well, so much for Caracas.
Tomorrow, I will post the rest of this letter by Lad from Caracas. On Friday, another short note from Lad, also from Caracas.