It has only happened a handful of times during the five years I’ve been living in Venezuela, but right now in Valencia, we are in the middle of a gas shortage. It seems outrageous to think about since Venezuela has huge oil reserves and basically gives away gasoline (I pay only $0.16 to fill the gas tank of my Toyota Corolla and more than half of that is a tip for the attendant) but yet many people are scrambling to find it right now.
Earlier this week there was an email that went out to the teachers to not mark students absent/tardy because so many parents had called to say that they were waiting in line to get gasoline. Several of my students wrote slices about the gas shortages that day because they came late to school and were not happy to spend so much time waiting in the car. Also one of my students mentioned that parents were saying that it was dangerous to wait in long lines because people were getting robbed as they waited in line for gas. Scary!
My friend used her prep/lunch time to try to get gas in the middle of the day and after waiting in line for 45 minutes the gas attendants announced that they had run out of gasoline. She and the long line of people behind her were not happy. Thankfully she said she was able to pay one of the locals to siphon some gas out of their car because she was running on empty at this point.
I had tried to go to two gas stations near my apartment throughout the week but they were closed at the time and didn’t want to waste my gas driving around looking for another station that was open. I decided that filling my gas tank would be my goal for Saturday. I knew that I needed a plan of action. Waiting in lines in Venezuela is common for everything and you need to come prepared.
Despite having a late night with friends the night before, I woke up at 7AM yesterday so that I could hopefully beat all of the hung-over people to the gas station. My plan worked! I only had to wait behind six cars and I had brought my kindle (I try not to leave home without it) and Contigo travel mug full of coffee to make the time pass quickly.
I’m looking forward to living in a place where I don’t fear waiting in long lines and where there aren’t so many shortages for basic necessities. Still trying to be thankful for what I have because there are many people who can’t afford to have a car, nor afford to meet their most basic needs.
Have you ever lived somewhere where you can’t find gasoline, toilet paper, flour, shampoo, etc.? Post in the comments below!
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