Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Bogota, Colombia, It's like New York on Crack-Cocaine

This time, it is the turn of one of my other foreign correspondents from Colombia: Manuel Camacho.

Enjoy the ride through Bogota, Colombia with Manuel:

The city of Bogota itself is a pretty awesome place to live in. Chaotic, super urban, fast-paced. It's like New York on crack-cocaine, with BMW's riding alongside horse-drawn carriages, graffiti art on the city walls waging war on fascism, very polite pedestrians (road-raged killers behind the wheel), and vallenato and salsa music everywhere.

In between the cracks of the concrete jungle, I've had the pleasure of infusing the increasingly present bass pounding of a growing hip hop movement, not to mention the quality of Colombian home-grown trip-hop, downbeat, tropi-pop, punk rock and reggae.

Public transport here is quite the experience. Imagine an army of bumper cars from the 1950's, racing all over the city. No bus-stops. You basically tell the guy where you want to get off, given he actually slows down enough for you to successfully ninja jump out of the bus onto a clear patch of sidewalk.

This is because there is always a bus or two behind you trying to get ahead, if they get ahead, they take more fares because they are first in line; the more fares the more the drivers get paid at the end of the day, even if it’s at the cost of mass transit casualties.

Occasionally though, you get storytellers and poets on these buses looking for some change in exchange for their artistic services. They liven up the ride for just 5 American cents.

Apart from this, the characters and personalities I've met along the way are just too far out: Psychics, rouge nuns, clandestine magazine editors, kung-fu fighting rehab crack heads (literally), former guerilla and paramilitary members, a scientist probing for life outside the earth, and an Amazonian witch doctor. Yeah, it's been interesting.

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