We lived in Caracas when I was a child. A different Caracas from what it is today. My childhood memories in this city are very different from the reality people live nowadays. One of the things I remember able to do and enjoy was to walk freely and stress free around certain parts of the city.
I lived in an apartment building in Colinas de los Ruices in the East of Caracas. The neighborhood was located on a hill. Everywhere you walked you either had to go up or down. My elementary school, the sports centre, and a mini shopping plaza were all walking distance from my building.
In the plaza there was a bakery-cafeteria where my friends and I used to eat anytime we would head down to the sports centre to play kickball. They had great choices to eat, especially on bake goods, sandwiches and lots of sweet treats. The best was always their Sanduchón, claimed to be the best in the city. Sanduchón is a ham and cheese sandwich with the bread being more on the sweet side. You would ask for it to be press-grilled so that the cheese would melt.
When it wasn’t kickball but volleyball we would play, the school cafeteria also offered delicious treats. One in particular was Tequeño. Tequeño is deep fried dough filled with melted white Venezuelan cheese. They were approximately a foot long, crispy on the outside and soft and creamy in the inside. I would always pair it with a glass of passion fruit juice.
Another popular choice at the school cafeteria was the ham and cheese sandwich. This was not your usual ham and cheese sandwich. It was made with regular white sandwich bread and filled with ham and cheese. The difference was it had golf sauce – a mix of ketchup and mayonnaise – and tomatoes, and it was grilled until the cheese completely melted.
If we had the afternoon off, we would go further to grab a bite. Approximately 30min walk up hill outside the neighborhood was a bigger shopping plaza. Just outside the plaza there was a hot dog cart. Hot dogs in Venezuela are different. They have the typical bun and wiener but what goes on top it is usually what makes it so deliciously good: Sauces – cheese sauce, garlic sauce, corn sauce, golf sauce, avocado sauce – crispy fried onions, crispy grated potatoes, coleslaw, Parmesan cheese, bacon bit.
I loved the neighborhood where I lived in Caracas. I still remember the day I learned how to bike. It was in the parking lot of the building. My dad took off the training wheels and grabbed my seat until I was able to let go. I would bike around the parking lot, making sure I wouldn’t smash against the parked cars. Learning how to bike.