Tuesday March 5th 2013 -17:25

“What a glorious day” thought young Fray as he wiped the gushing sweat from his brow and rubbed lotion into his festering sores. “I wonder what unusual delights today will bestow on me”….. (Oh Fray, if only you knew).

The first of these delights appeared in the form of a gargantuan empanada, stuffed to its fried brim with beans, chicken and banana… es muy rico! His hunger satisfied (for the next 3 days) he headed out to The West Side {insert twisted finger gang shapes here} and the UPL, a beautiful University on the outskirts of town. There he met the University Subdirector, who just happened to be Paul’s dad. 69 {insert Bill & Ted air guitar here} yet with the character of a spritely 30 year old, he exuded life and energy.

Fast forward 20 minutes and a cute little Columbian restaurant where our hero was exuding food… out of his earholes. As previously mentioned, the empanada was greedily occupying 80% of Fray’s body mass, so when they nipped out for a ‘light lunch’ he was cautious yet optimistic that he could squeeze in a salad… Oh silly Fray, Columbians don’t eat salad… they eat f##kin huge slabs of meat and chicken!

If there was room inside to move, Fray’s heart would have sunk.

“Man up you sissy!” shouted nobody. They didn’t need to. Tricksy Bacchus had seen to it that our adventurer was backed into a corner… and so he did the only thing he knew how to do! He came out swinging… with a fork!

“No mere chicken fillet can stop you Fray… you’re a machine… you’re an animal… you’re… FOOLED AGAIN!” Cackled the devious God of excess (before no doubt teleporting off somewhere to defile a young virgin with a nice bottle of Blossom Hill). Before departing he’d evidently fiddled with the order and added a round of thick, filling soup… very tricksy!

Fast forward 20 minutes and our hero was in a sorry state, pieces of chicken stuffed into every last extremity. They retired to the subdirector’s house and Fray’s chicken soaked breath was taken away. In the heart of a run down, dilapidated area was a haven of tranquility and beauty:


Back at base camp the digestion process was still going strong and eyelids were drooping when the cry came that would forever change a nation… “Chávez está muerto!”

“Chávez está muerto”….. 3 words that had been whispered for the last 3 months, but which had been vigorously denied by all officials and Chávista. With those 3 words the mood changed. The usually vibrant and lively energy that permeates the land (albeit to a subtle background of violence and danger) dissipated.

A trip down to the local park left Fray a little uneasy. Gone were the families, gone was the banter, gone was the energy. In its place: whispers, no eye contact and a feeling of potential violence. A 5 mile run through the streets of Barquisimeto brought a much needed release, where his thoughts could focus purely on the heat and the hills.

The cry went up for a few post-run beers to devour whilst watching the news, so they headed to the local shop… and madness.


What should have been a 2 minute in-and-out trip turned into a 35 minute snapshot of a nation in turmoil. Panic buying had gripped the populace, so they fled to the shops in such numbers that a police escort was needed on the doors:


Rumours were rife of looting in the local malls and violence downtown.

How could the death of one man affect a nation so completely? How had he managed to ingrain himself so deeply into the Venezuelan psyche that his passing could cause such upheaval? These were the questions Fray wanted, nay needed, answered. He set himself to the task of documenting the events that were to follow. He’d managed to land himself slap bang in the middle of history, and he wasn’t about to miss it.

The election of the new Venezuelan Presidential on 14/04/2013 would turn out to be a huge turning point for the country

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.