Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Couchsurfing + Venezuela = Disaster?

Okay so I bet you're wondering what is couch-surfing and what does it have to do with Venezuela? Well imagine a non-Spanish speaking travel writer hitchhiking across the country and sleeping in other peoples' homes. Sounds like grand ol' time unless you have no clue what the country is about. But sure enough there are people across the world that love traveling and care enough to share with us what they experienced. And now we have Jamie Maslin.

In Maslin's new memoir, Socialist Dreams and Beauty Queens, our couchsurfing travel writer offers an irreverent, informative, and entertaining account of a young adventurer's journey through a breathtakingly beautiful country that tourists rarely get to see. Did you know the murder rate in Venezuela is higher than Iraq's? Well that's where Maslin spent days upon days traveling.

And now the question of what he experienced? Sure there were corrupt cops but there was also the following:
  • Recognizing the Venezuelan body-complex epidemic that fuels the country’s love for beauty pageants that transform young girls into grown women through surge
  • Meeting a poverty-stricken populace looking to exploit na├»ve travelers
  • Witnessing natural beauty in flat-topped jungle plateaus, waterfalls, rolling deserts, and the famous lightning that appears suddenly in the sky with no rain or thunder
Don't worry. There's a lot more. Will this bring bad publicity to Venezuelan tourism? I'm sure it will. But sometimes there are those people that love the "raw and uncut" stories. Let's hope Maslin didn't end up in NatGeo's "Locked Up Abroad."
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