I recently went to the most luxurious kid’s birthday party I’ve ever been. Whisky, wine, waiters, appetizers for grown ups, snacks for kids, themed- oriented-furniture, fluorescent lights, imported candy, a cake “table” the seemed stolen from the scenario of a theater, a trampoline, zip lining (three meters high at least, and more or less thirty meters long), one mini soccer table, two Lego tables, one mini air hockey table, a Jedi, a Clone and Dart Vader himself. A few days before the party, the school were our kids go to (my own kid and the party’s kid) had a special parent’s meeting to approve an increase in tuition fees in order to pay for the new national (mandatory) employee’s food bonus, which ended up being “225 Bs. a day, for 30 days” (1 US dollar in the black market is more or less 800 Bs.). What can you eat with 225 Bs. a day? A Susy package (two wafer cookies, 50 Bs.) and a Flaquito (a chocolate candy that I didn’t know before that’s awesome! 180 Bs.) perhaps? No… that’s 230 Bs. Two empanadas at 100 Bs. each! And then you have 25 Bs. to splurge. It felt to me like the school was in one planet, and the party was in another one, in a galaxy far, far away.
The other day I was saying to someone: “In a normal country this wouldn’t happen” (“this” could have been so many things, I don’t remember what it was) and the person I was talking to immediately corrected me: “but this is a normal country. What is not normal is the government”. I timidly smiled and tried to explain that what I meant by “normal” was not the US or Europe, that it was more like Mexico or Panama. I don’t think he got it. For him, Venezuela is as normal as any other country. I wonder if it will end up being normal for me too.