Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Venezuelan Political Rally.

Okay. Capriles is the opposition's candidate. He isn't socialist and he is young and educated. A lot of people around Mérida are rooting for him, which led me to his rally today to culturally experience a Venezuelan political rally.

15:30. I leave my house to catch the bus, to go to the rally, but I have no idea where to get off. I befriend some people that help me a bit, and then I run into an actual friend of mine who is heading to the same place. Everyone is wearing blue or yellow and the opposition's trademark hat and slogan. "Hay un camino." There is a way .

16:00. First, it was supposed to start at four. As true to Venezuelan life, it was packed and only continued filling up. I found my friends because they chose an easy place to meet and then we ventured into the masses. There were grilled kabobs for sale, there were people waiting in the trees and on tops of buildings, and there was an MC talking to the crowd to get them riled up.

17:00. An hour rolled by and they happened to open a pathway for him right by us! We were all excited and couldn't believe it! There were people chanting and waving flags, there were people on top of others' shoulders for a better view, there were children everywhere, and Capriles's campaign songs were being blasted over loud speakers. It was getting really hot and cramped and then the weather took a turn.

17:30. It starts to mist and a few people take out umbrellas. Chants are still going on and people get excited and start screaming every few moments believing Capriles is on his way.

17:45. Anyone with umbrellas has them out because it is a steady rain now. The chanting and screaming continue, only now it seems to have more followers. With my luck I happen to get stuck under any and all dripping point of umbrellas. Sometimes I was lucky though and had seven umbrellas protecting me from the rain.

18:30. Capriles is now 2.5 hours late. The rain has stopped and the umbrellas are put away. My friend and I befriend some guys next to us and we pass the time visiting and making jokes. I also spent some time signing one of the chants with a little boy sitting on his dad's shoulders.

18:45. People freak out, we are being stampeded back. There are so many people that there is nowhere to go. A car carrying Capriles had decided to make its way in front of us. We are literally packed into each other with no wiggle room. There are people screaming and terrified, I found myself laughing and didn't feel panicked or threatened. There are children on their parents shoulders and there are old people desperately trying to get out of the crowd. I couldn't even put my hands down if I had wanted to. Capriles comes out.

19:15. We dip out early, just as Capriles is finishing his speech. No taxis are available so we walk to a different avenue (the one I live off of).

19:30. I decide to get on a packed bus and I'm literally hanging out as the bus driver is shutting the door. I find myself packed like sardines once again.

20:00. I am home, I am wet, I am hungry, and I'm ready to get ready to go out and celebrate the dry law expiring.

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