As Venezuelans go to the polls in state elections, I’m reminded of an article that I wrote a decade ago called “Have a Rest, Sr. Presidente Chávez.” Ten years on, Venezuela’s economy has deteriorated considerably, and the country has grown politically unstable with the ruling Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV) and opposition political parties fighting for control of the Venezuelan government.
My thoughts go out to those caught in the middle of a devastating impasse that has left millions of Venezuelans without sustenance and livelihoods, whose lives have been marred by escalating violence.
I pray that the outcome of this election will not trigger a new round of crackdowns and violence. Whether Venezuela has more crises in store or can find a peaceful resolution to its problems, one cannot tell. No matter what the outcome, may it bring the people of Venezuela much-needed relief.
Royalty-free image courtesy of GraphicStock.
[table id=21 /]
[table id=8 /]
Down Under? Not at all, mate! The Land of Oz is on top of the world. You see, it’s all a matter of perspective. When you’re in a place that looks like the bottom of the world, and you look up, it’s downhill from there. ‘Up Over’ may be a more apt moniker for Australia because any place that stretches from the Great Barrier Reef to the Outback seems to go on forever. A country sometimes confused for a continent, it’s certainly much bigger than the Mercator map gives it credit. One measures distance here in hundreds, even thousands of kilometers. In between well-known landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and Uluru, the fabled Ayer’s Rock, are scores of places to visit and things to see. It might be tempting to catch a flight from place to place and make a brief stop in a city with an airport like an electron orbiting an atom, but it’s easy to miss the molecule. Better to take the time to enjoy the incredible landmass that is Australia. Move beyond Crocodile Dundee and Vegemite to savor all that this fabulous place has to offer.
Sydney, New South Wales
Sydney Opera House
Cape Tribulation, Queensland
[table id=19 /]
[table id=8 /]
This is an updated version of an earlier article.
Zambia is beautiful this time of year. The jacarandas and other flowering trees have started to bloom in vivid colors around the country. Most of their flowers are a soft lavender, while a few are brilliant red or yellow. The latter spring from other species of tree.
The jacarandas are similar to the ones we saw when we lived in Paraguay. Known as lapachos in Spanish, the jacarandas in South Africa bloom with lavender, orange, and yellow flowers. Their flowers’ lifespan is mere weeks, after which the petals fall and blanket the ground like a royal carpet. Even one who is not fond of flowers can’t help but admire its beauty.
The flowering trees bloom at the end of the dry season when the weather heats up just before the monsoon-like rains set in as if God were commanding the trees to bear fruit before the rains wash it all away. Once pollinated, the flowers produce seeds that fall to the ground and wait for water from the rains to spark new life. Whatever the biological reasons behind this phenomenon, the cacophony of colors that spring forth from the trees is a wonder to behold.
[table id=13 /]
[table id=8 /]