On 10 March 2013 at 08:03 | updated 12 March 2013 at 07:36

Yann Guyader: tribute to Hugo Chavez (Venezuela)

Yann Guyader: tribute to Hugo Chavez (Venezuela)

The French World Champion Yann Guyader still tells us about his life in Venezuela. Mingle work, training and current political news...

Working and training

As you probably have noticed, I am a little late in writing my daily report. Yesterday, I did not really have enough time to write in the evening. Crazy! Yesterday started, as usual, at 5am for a work. As I often get tired pretty quickly with all the logistical stuff, I took a sport break at 10am. Weird! But true. What used to be a chore, lately has became my a breath of fresh air. Pretty cool.


Yann Guyader au Vénézuela à l'AvilaAfter an hour of painful skating positions at 35°C, together with Fabian and fly, I decided to go see  Mount Avila in the national park overlooking the city of Caracas. The weather was great and the view was amazing. Unfortunately, halfway up the hill, the national guard did not allow us to go any further. The site was closed for the national mourning. We still decided to take a break and enjoy the panorama.

We got down the mount and headed into town to have lunch in a nice restaurant. But the national mourning  continued. The city looked dead and the restaurants were all closed, to avoid fines.
We headed back to "Las Mercedes" to try our luck there and we came across a "rogue" restaurant that was opened. It came time to eat a good Italian meal, while watching a live religious ceremony. I realize that beyond political divisions, Chavez knew how to create fervor around him. Crowds of foreign politicians who would not ordinarily attend such an event next to one another, gathered in the name of Chavez. Putting their differences aside, they mourned sincerely.

The pain machine

After a rather relaxed afternoon at work, I decided to train again on an elliptical machine (like skiing) which I previously laughed at women doing. Quit quickly, I thought I was going to die, but i was forced to make it to 45mins.

Visiting uptown Caracas

In the evening, Fabian, who is always keen for me to discover the city and realize the situation out here, brought me to another place, " El Mirador". We went with the motorbike to "Valle Arriba" the most exclusive area of Caracas perched on a hill in the middle of Caracas. Then, it became night time and the view was beautiful. I must admit that the atmosphere seemed almost surreal. It was really quiet and people were running around, taking shots on tables surrounded by palm trees, etc. I rarely see such chic neighbourhood . I loved it and I literally fell in love with this place. It reminds me some parts of Bogota but even more luxurious. Here the inequalities are even more pronounced.

Tribute to Hugo Chavez

Yann Guyader au VénézuelaAfter this short stop in peace, we went home and decided that tonight would be the right night to go see the remains of "el comandante". At 9pm we drive towards the military university where the body is displayed for crowds. As usual, full tilt music in da car almost blows our eardrums. But it's so good!!!.  ;) viva Latino america!  .. . When we arrived at the military university, we realized that we wouldn't see Chavez's remains for days if we remained stuck behind the crowds.

The atmosphere was surreal. More than 500,000 people were crammed waiting to see the remains of their national hero for only a few seconds. Thanks to Fabian's status, we spend less than an hour getting to the last checkpoint near the entrance of the room where the body was displayed. After an hour waiting unsure as to why, a bodyguard came to inform us that we had to wait another 5 hours as the Chavez's body would be removed from the coffin for a change of clothes and to be freshened. Given he died over 4 days ago and was not in a refrigerated room, the body was wearing out. This gave us enough time to take the atmosphere in. People were there for hours, some, even for days and yet nothing in the world could make them leave without a final tribute to their hero. People shouting, "Queremos ver a Chavez" (we want to see Chavez). The infrastructure built in record time impressed me.

After more than 5 hours of waiting, we finally reached the mausoleum. We were given only a few seconds to see Chavez's remains in order to keep the crowds movinh.  Even though I don't know much about Chavez, the moment was quite emotional and very solemn.  At the end of the viewing, it was 5.30am and I was completely exhausted. We decided to consume a typical breakfast. We got "Arepas rellenas" with chicken, avocado and cheese and a good natural Meloon juice. After then it wa time to go to bed as it was 6:30 am and the sun was already rising ... I realize that only a few get the to live through a historic moment, like this. Life is endlessly interesting and I consider myself lucky to have had this opportunity.

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