Tuesday, June 29, 2010

First City-Bogotá

I’m sitting outside the airport in Bogotá, waiting for “Wilson”, some guy who is supposed to drop off cell phones for the tour. Of course, he’s 
late…things around here tend to run a little late. Not really a surprise.
We’re heading to Villa Valerio, a resort in Villavicencio where the musicians will rehearse for two weeks in preparation for the tour. This 2 week period is called the “Residence”. I’m excited to see this place, to look out on the Colombian countryside and be in the tropical weather. A four hour bus ride awaits…but still no Wilson.

I just heard Chile lost 3-0 against Brazil….SURPRISE!!!! ☹

So maybe I should tell you about my 2.5 days in Bogotá. It’s a really interesting city. Usually when I go somewhere in Latin America I say “oh this looks just like such and such city or xyz neighborhood”. But I couldn’t really say that about Bogotá, not at first glance. It just looks really different. It’s really packed buildings and houses and more buildings and more houses, almost no sidewalk left. They are really into the exposed brick look, and they use it for fancy buldings in the wealthy uptown neighborhoods, but also for the housing projects in the city center/lower end of Bogotá.

The city is divided into north and south. The higher the street number (ie 87th street), the wealthier the neighborhood. So if you’re on 16th street you are in the HOOD. Interestingly, you see low-income housing scattered throughout the entire city, even the north side of town. I noticed this mixing of income levels as soon as I got to Bogotá.

I stayed on the north side in a boring but clean neighborhood. Santiago’s equivalent of Vitacura, Santo Domingo’s Piantini, DC’s Van Ness. Not really a defined place though, just buildings, pharmacies and churches. And brick buildings.

Last night. Emma and I decided we were tired of the hotel and wanted to go out for a little while to see Bogotá at night. We went to “Zona T”, a chic restaurant and bar district in the also chic “Zona Rosa”. It was fun—we had one drink and that was enough…7 types of liquor! We could barely get back to the hotel!

I’m driving through Ciudad Bolívar, one of the slums in Bogotá…makes me so sad and angry at the same time. The living conditions are horrible. It’s not like the poverty of the Caribbean that is festive in the midst of the misery…this is just ugly, and HIGHLY disproportionate to the wealthy neighborhood I just came from. Welcome to Latin America, round one. More reflections to come.

Love and miss you guys!!!!


No comments:

Post a Comment