Bogota Street Shots #02 – Santa Fe, La Candelaria and Teusaquillo

Political demonstrations in Latin America are loud. The volume goes beyond the chanting and occasional drum beats that accompany marches and rallies that I’ve attended and covered in North America and Europe. There are horns, whistles, banging on pots and pans. Underpasses amplify the decibels to death metal concert levels.

There’s lots of commerce, too, of the practical sort. Vendors sell fruit, juice, empanadas and snacks. They make sure that rain ponchos, umbrellas and hats are available when necessary. And yes, whistles and horns.

Here’s a quick collection of shots of some of what could be seen on the fringes of a yesterday’s “March of Dignity” demonstration here in Bogota, organized by former President Alvaro Uribe and his right-wing Democratic Center party to protest the government’s ongoing peace negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels.

It was a relatively small gathering, but it was loud.

Like my last photo walk post, these were all taken in Bogota’s Santa Fe, La Candelaria and Teusaquillo barrios.

Policeman and a hat peddler at a demonstration in BogotaHat vendor. It’s not the first time I’ve captured police and hat vendors in the same frame.

 

Street children below a mural by Stinkfish in BogotaThree sisters sitting in front of a large mural by Colombian street artist Stinkfish on Carrera 7. I walk by this beautiful piece nearly every day and have noticed that it’s a magnet for street people.

 

Homeless men sleeping on the street in BogotaA midday snooze on Carrera 7, or Seventh Avenue.

 

Street vendor below a large mural in BogotaA street vendor below The Invisible Kiss, which is at ten stories high, the city’s tallest mural.

 

Cyclist Ramon Marin in Bogota
Cyclist Ramon Marin

Ramon Marin, a cyclist pedaling around the city for 50 consecutive hours to honor all the victims of Colombia’s 51-year-old conflict. When this was taken he still had 22 hours to go.

 

Watermelon vendor BogotaWatermelon vendor.

 

Street performance in BogotaA street performer, Carrera 7.

 

Sidewalk book sale

Sidewalk book sale. 2000 pesos, or 68 cents, apiece, or three for 5000.

 

Pigeons surround a sleeping homeless man in BogotaPigeons surround a man sleeping on Carrera 7.

 

Guanabana juice vendor in BogotaGuanabana (soursop) juice vendor

 

El Tiempo offices BogotaThe offices of the national daily El Tiempo. I don’t know when or why their building front was paint-bombed.

~~

And for the record, the lead photo serves as today’s Pic du Jour, the blog’s 583rd straight, All were taken on 07 August 2015 in Bogota, Colombia.

 

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  1. Gone Wild says

    It’s sobering (for one who lives sans noise, people, and wall murals) to see urban concentration (camps) in which people are trying to carve out a pocket of existence in a dehumanizing concrete environment.

    1. Bob R says

      With a very brief exception, I’ve been in large urban centers –Quito, Madrid, Bogota and Cali– almost non-stop since February. I’m ready for a change.

      1. Gone Wild says

        Before coming to Wyoming I lived in a 12′ travel trailer for 3 years, traveling several western states, winter & summer; I wrote every day and ended up with a decent book. It was the happiest time of my life. I’d love to do it again, but $$ is scarce. Do you earn a living with your blog or other publishing, if I may ask?

        1. Bob R says

          Sounds like an excellent way to spend three years. I’d love to hear/see more about your book. Still available? If so, links please.

          Besides a few links to places where my photos are available for purchase and some Amazon affiliate links, I haven’t monetized this blog at all and don’t plan to in the foreseeable future. Most of my work gigs over the past year —editing, some reporting, photography and translation— didn’t require me to be in any certain place, so I decided to base myself in South America for six months. Living expenses are considerably lower than anywhere in the US and just about anywhere in Europe and I like it here. I studied the history, culture and politics in college and have always been fascinated with the region. That said, I’m looking forward to returning to Slovenia and staying put, more or less, for at least a bit. I have also been gathering material for a couple smaller publishing projects that I’ll be trying —mainly as an experiment with self-publishing and promotion.

          1. Gone Wild says

            What a great life! I’m not an “airplane” person, so I’m stuck in the U.S.A. and the West at that, and Wyoming has my heart, so I’ve missed out on the entire world. It’s great that people like you share your travels. I’ve self-published a bunch of photo books using Blurb, and my “trailer adventure” book. Photo books are easy to make with their software, but text is pretty excruciating. I had no editor; there are lots of errors, but I got to the point when I just had to call it “good enough.” I had a Kindle guy convert it to an ebook for Amazon. So far 2 people downloaded it. I’ve learned to have no expectations. I haven’t been to my blurb page in ages. I think I can set it to be read entirely online, if not I probably have a PDF. Will let you know. My only regret is not seeing the Pantheon: my time travel fantasy is that I could arrive the day construction began, pull up lawn chair (snacks and beer included) and watch the entire 10-year build.

  2. oopsjohn says

    I love the way art and graffiti, people and food mix so well in that culture – and all so colorful! Great compilation of images.

    1. Bob R says

      Thanks John. Many Bogotanos have described the city to me as a “soup”, with a very thick diverse mix of ingredients. It’s an apt metaphor. The city isn’t beautiful in a conventional sense; it’s not like stepping into Paris or Berlin. It’s gritty, the poverty and inequality of the society is very much on the surface, but it grows on you. In my case, pretty quickly.

  3. kirsten says

    Your pictures are fascinating to me. I live in my very small slice of the world and don’t get outside its boundaries very often. So when I see photographs like yours my heart is moved. It is a reminder of how blessed we are here in the US. Thank you for sharing these photographs with us.

    1. Bob R says

      Glad you enjoyed. And here’s to hoping that you can get outside of those boundaries just a little bit more often. 🙂

      1. kirsten says

        I’m working on getting out of the boundaries 🙂

        1. Bob R says

          Reading that is the proverbial music to my ears. 🙂

  4. Mabel Kwong says

    Beautiful set of Bogota street photos. There certainly seem to be many sitting on the streets…sadly, for quite a few of them I get the feeling the streets are their home. It is certainly very vivid street art on those buildings, which leads me to think that there are many artists around in the area. Or it’s an area that sparks creativity.

    1. Bob R says

      Hi Mabel — The street art scene is incredible in Bogota. I’m researching it at the moment for a few stories and projects. I’ve met with several local artists and hope to meet a few more before I leave this weekend.

      There is tremendous inequality in Colombia which as in most countries, becomes most noticeable in the cities. Here it’s a lethal combination of poverty, displacement from the 50-year-old civil conflict and drug abuse that’s kicking people to the streets.

      1. Mabel Kwong says

        That is sad to hear a number of reasons contribute to inequality in Colombia. People must have a hard time getting by and it sounds quite a number don’t have the basic necessities to turn their lives around. Sad.

        Good luck with your project. It sounds like artists there see the positive side of things amidst hard times.

  5. Gone Wild says

    I do have a very large PDF that will email through Adobe – all I need is an email address on your end.

    1. Bob R says

      Excellent, thanks, looking forward to seeing it. bob @ pirancafe.com

      1. Gone Wild says

        Better yet! I’m uploading the full text on a new blog: http://somepeoplearelost.wordpress.com
        The first half is already posted. Found a new template that puts text in columns just like a book.

        1. Bob R says

          Excellent!

  6. egbertstarr says

    I’ve come back to your shots of Colombia a bunch of times. Your on-the-spot style is great. I wonder what a folder of police and hat sellers shots would be like? Who knows, maybe the one is enough.

    1. Bob R says

      Thanks — I really enjoy looking for and recording scenes of ‘the everyday’. I’m starting to think though that to do it really well requires a camera smaller than a clunky DSLR. As for the police and hat sellers folder, my collection now numbers two. Increasing that is going to be a very slow process. 🙂

  7. strivetoengage says

    I enjoyed reading this post. It’s been a year since I was last in Bogotá and I have fond memories of the city. As you said, it’s not beautiful and I don’t feel particularly safe there but there is some great street art and friendly people. Do you think that change is coming and that things will improve as the middle class becomes more influential? The inequality seems almost insurmountable. My friends in Bogotá complain about the corruption and I’ve seen evidence of it myself. Hmmm now that Venezuela is in such a bad state there is more pressure on Colombia and I hope that they can move forward…

    1. Bob R says

      Things do change slowly on the surface, but I don’t see any person or party in power doing anything substantial to try to fix the levels of inequality. The civil war does appear to finally be waning — that can only be positive.

  8. GirlAstray says

    Love these photos. Many people say Bogotá is ugly and I don´t really recommend it for tourists when they ask but I do miss it. It has its own special charm not all people can feel. Perhaps I could call it beauty in ugliness.

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