Five subway lines, the only way to traverse traffic-choked Caracas quickly, are covered in shampoo ads and political reminders.
At the Los Roques airport departure lounge, even a stream of turboprops arriving from the mainland isn't enough to distract fishermen from their task of netting bait.
The Caracas airport is a world unto itself, a sealed colony of hotels and restaurants where baggage handlers offer the best black-market exchange rate in the country.
Windsurfers, divers, anglers, and just plain loafers enjoy sunset drinks amid beached fishing boats on Los Roques.
Venezuelans rate themselves among the happiest people on earth. A contagious smile and an arepa, or corncake, griddle-fried and stuffed any number of ways, is enough to spread the cheer.
Caracas empties out at night. The murder rate is at least 26 times that of New York City.
After 26 years as a painter working on the same street-corner in the Sabana Grande neighborhood, this former boxer has tough hands and plenty of memories.
Young men in an Caracas auto repair shop are focused on the "Bolivarian Revolution" of Hugo Chavezand the ever-watchful Che Guevara.
In western Venezuela, opposition to Chavez runs deep amid Biblical fears of hunger, plauges, kidnapping, death, lies, and trickery.
Venezuela is where the Andes meet the Caribbean amid fog and tropical foliage. Jeeps serve as public buses on the steep roads.
Slums belt much of Caracas, but Mt. Avila's designation as a parkand the sheerness of its slopesmean untouched forest lies next to urban density.
Even the skyscrapers built during the oil boom years of the 1960s and '70s shrink against the foreground of Mt. Avila in downtown Caracas.