Video Of The Day: Venezuelan Skies Time-Lapse

This time-lapse video featuring Venezuelan skies and aptly named “Venezuelan Skies” just brightened my day. A recent addition to Vimeo with very few plays (5 total plays as I write this), this gem deserves to be seen. Upbeat music is paired with captivating images in this video. Swirling clouds in Venezuela and fog soar above beautifully colored scenery. Large rock formations are juxtaposed against vivid vegetation as the video continues. Once this video begins to near its end, the time-lapse transitions into the gorgeous nighttime sky, complete with the occasional blurred artificial light. Take the time to watch this video by monoelemento on Vimeo and you’ll be glad you did. Spoiler: there’s a helicopter!

Chavez Returns to Venezuelan TV Show

Abandoned Caracas skyscraper is home to 2,500 squatters

In downtown Caracas, thousands have found home in an unlikely structure. The “Tower of David,” a one time symbol for Venezuela‘s economic growth prospects, is an unfinished 45 story skyscraper filled with idle Venezuelans and enterprising small business start-ups. According to the New York Times, a housing shortage in Caracas has led many to make the most out of the housing opportunity provided by this massive abandoned structure.

A relic of the Venezuelan banking boom, the slum-scraper is one of the tallest buildings in Latin America and houses roughly 2500 squatters. The tenants have wired electricity, created makeshift shops, and installed DirecTV satellite dishes that cling precariously to the exterior of the re-purposed tower. Many residents have set up businesses, including a PlayStation home-brew arcade, a beauty salon, and a suspicious sounding dentistry operation.

The DIY housing solution is currently inhabited up to the 28th floor, though residents plan to push higher towards the incongruous Helipad that rests atop the tower. This video by the New York Times provides a candid glimpse into life within the dilapidated tower.

Venezuela’s Caracas airport shut down due to power outage

power outageSimón Bolívar International Airport in Venezuela just emerged from a rough night after it was forced to send inbound flights to other airports. Four main power sources for its runway lights were knocked out, effectively making the airport unusable.

The outage lasted eight hours, and planes heading to Caracas had to be rerouted to airports in Porlamar, Maracaibo, Curacao and San Juan.

According to a statement issued by the airport operator, 23 outbound flights, and 20 inbound flights were impacted. The fault was eventually located in part of the wiring for the landing lights on runway 10-28. At 3:45AM, engineers located the fault and power was restored. Because the fault was in the runway cables, it was not possible to restore power using backup systems.

By Wednesday morning, nine rerouted international flights were scheduled to arrive, most with a 12 hour delay.

Back in 2008, we reported on a large power outage in Stockholm that cut the power in parts of the city center after a rat entered a signal box, and more recently, passengers on the prestigious Queen Mary 2 lost power after a catastrophic explosion in the engine room.

Just goes to show how important it is to carry a flashlight and some backup power to keep your phone going – you never know when you’ll find yourself in total darkness stuck at the airport.

[Photo: Flickr/Slash_)

Venezuelan church back from watery grave

Potosi, Venezuela hasn’t been on anyone’s travel radar much since 1985. That was the year when the town was deliberately flooded by the Venezuelan government to build a hydroelectric dam. That left most of the worthwhile souvenirs from Potosi rather soggy. However, severe droughts in the region have resulted in an odd miracle, of sorts. The water levels in the man-made reservoir are so low that the town’s previously submerged church is now completely above water and resting on dry land.

National Geographic has some haunting photographs of the 82-foot-tall church that hasn’t been seen in its entirety in 25 years. The good news is that visitors can now witness this beautiful church and marvel at the effects of El Niño. The bad news is 68% of Venezuela’s power is hydroelectric. That means that the country is now experiencing an officially-declared energy emergency.

One could assume that the drought will eventually end and the reservoir will once again drown the town of Potosi. Until then, the church stands in the center of a ghost town that is seeing visitors for the first time in over two decades.

Photo by Flickr user JunCTionS.

Family Guy cartoon banned in Venezuela

I think we’d all agree that there are some bad TV re-runs out there that deserve to be taken off the air. But I’m not sure that Family Guy is one of them.

Venezuelan authorities have banned the cartoon from future broadcast. Any TV station that doesn’t drop the show will be fined.

What prompted this reaction? The recent episode in which Brian, the talking dog, started a campaign to legalize marijuana.

Watch out future cartoons, so you don’t offend the Venezuelan government! It has happened before, and it will surely happen again. The Simpsons was banned there last year because of its “messages that go against the whole education of boys, girl, and adolescents.”

Televen was one station threatened with a fine for showing The Simpsons in the morning hours. What did they do to avoid the fine? They were forced to show public service films as an apology. And they replaced The Simpsons with Baywatch.

Really, now. Baywatch is better?

It seems as though the government and TV in Venezuela are closely linked. President Hugo Chavez hosts his own talk show. And if new regulations go into effect, cable stations would be forced to broadcast all of Chavez’s speeches.

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