Tuesday, February 9, 2010

First view of La Candelaria

The day after I moved into my apartment, I headed out on a stroll through my new neighborhood, La Candelaria.


I came upon this lovely intersection, which had a pretty yellow church, and art museum, and a large library.  I went into the library to get a card, and was disappointed to discover that in Colombia, libraries have membership fees!  The cheapest membership allows you to take out three books at a time for a five-day period.  For more money, you can take out videos and other materials as well, with increasing numbers and increasingly long time limits.  Libraries should be free, dammit!  For shame, Colombia, for shame! 

In any case, I moved on to the main square, called Plaza Bolivar, where people of all ages were out enjoying the Sunday afternoon. 

In this last picture, you can see the Biciclovia.  Every Sunday, the city of Bogota closes the main street to traffic, and Seventh Ave becomes a lane for bicycles, rollerbladers, pedestrians, dog-walkers, and little kids being pulled in fake plastic cars.  Vendors with brightly colored umbrellas sell their wares- fruit, candy, jewelry- along the way.  I mostly managed to get pictures of the slower-moving or stationary sights along the Biciclovia; there were some really delightful faster-moving sights as well-- like the guy carrying his dog on his bicycle.  The dog had her back paws resting on the man's lap, and her front paws on the handlebars, just inside of where the man was holing them.  Adorable!  Also, an old, frail-looking man in royal blue sweats and a baseball cap, cruising along on a rusty old bike.  Anyway, here's what I did manage to take pictures of:

At one point, a military guy asked to search my bag (I assume in an effort to prevent terrorism), so in return I took his picture.  I enjoy taking photos of police/military; there are more to come of the men in riot gear near the march I saw this past Saturday.  My perception of military culture is that it's very impersonal: you are the uniform, you do what you're told without questioning, etc.  Taking a photograph seems very personal- it is a record of the individual, not the role.  So here he is:

I walked along the Biciclovia for maybe a half mile before turning back.  At one point, I stopped into an old church and sat in a pew for some moments, thinking.  On my way back out the door, two girls ran by laughing and chasing each other, and I thought to myself, God is out there more than in here. 

As I headed back up the hill toward my apartment, the sky darkened and filled with clouds. 

On my way back home, I stopped in at a hostel to ask for a job, and chatted with some people who were staying there.  I left my contact information with the boss, and I told me to check back in a month.

It started to drizzle.  

 When the drizzle turned into a full-blown rain storm, I was in a cute little plaza which I've since realized is actually a bit of a social center in my neighborhood.  I ducked into the nearest cafe  to stay dry, and sipped on a hot chocolate while I read my current book, Hija de la Fortuna (Isabel Allende's Daughter of Fortune, in Spanish).  When the rain had subsided, I snapped a quick photo of the plaza and headed home- an afternoon well spent!

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