Since I had become a US citizen when I was very young, it was easy for my wife and I to move to the United States and establish ourselves in one of the cities of Dade County, Florida. We had thought about moving to California, but so many of the people we knew had relocated in Dade County, so it became our obvious choice. We bought an apartment and settled down. We then made plans to visit countries we thought were exciting and where we could inquire into the ways that they approached my health problem. I thought I should include Israel in my search, since they were so incredibly advanced in medicine and high technology. The decision to move from Venezuela was mainly due to the terrible insecurity that was present. Since Hugo Chavez was elected president, the country became a shambles. Most of the foreign corporations had to close and move to a safer country. Kidnappings became an everyday thing. It was literally dangerous to be out in the street after sundown. Caracas had become an empty city after 7:00 p.m. Many of our friends started to develop their plan B, which was something we discussed on a daily basis. The devaluation of the country’s currency was dismal. In 1966, when I moved to Venezuela, the exchange rate was 3.50 bolivars per US dollar. Today, it is over 40,000 bolivars per US dollar. The inflation has made people extremely poor, and the middle class stopped existing. It was very difficult to live there. That is why whoever had a plan B started to implement it and leave the country.
Our first trip was to Brazil. I had a list of Brazilian patients who had left me their contact information, so I decided to head to Sao Paulo first. We got a great off-season deal and arrived at Guarulhos International Airport. The flight had been a little over eight hours. We decided to leave the return flight open, because we didn’t know how long we wanted to stay. It would depend on whether we really liked this city and if I decided to receive alternative medical treatment here. I had reserved a free room in the Sao Paulo Hilton that I had earned from the thousands of Hilton Honors points from many previous Hilton stays. We finally had a good moment to make use of this free stay.