Last Day in Barinas, Venezuela

Harp here is nothing strange, so many fine harpists! I´ll post some video
in days and weeks ahead.

Living here evokes a sense of how things might have been in Scotland or
Ireland, in earlier times. This country is divided by class. The slick
Sunday papers are all about style, conspicuous consumption, with countless
ads for plastic surgery to enhance feminine ideal beauty. On the other
hand there is a vaste class of workers and the under-employed, ranging from merchant and service enterprises down to day laborers and beggars (limosneros).

People here are somewhat distrustful, but also courteous and
generous, they do not ignore the beggars.

In this setting, it is instructive to read Romulo Gallegos, who wrote
about this land almost 100 years ago. More on this maybe later.

For two weeks I have been playing my harp in the Plaza Bolivar, early
morning and throughout the day. Folks sometimes talk to me. Some are
highly educated, like to share their views with me. Others are the simple
street people. Their question is most often "How much does a harp like
that cost?" Sometimes I answer, but more often I avoid the question.

Bottom line, the harp is expensive. For the poor, learning to play the
harp well is an avenue to social advancement. For the well-off, the harp
is likely to be regarded as a hobby, more a risk than an enhancement of
social status.

With mixed feelings, I´m leaving Barinas in a couple of hours, will be
back in the US tomorrow.

Regards from Venezuela.