Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Parks Which Might Have Been

Prohibido entrar: Pedestrians walk past an off-limits green space.
A few years ago, when the city built the TransMilenio line to the airport along Calle 26, they demolished houses and businesses on both sides along the blocks west of the Central Cemetery.

Since then, the areas have remained vacant, unused, abandoned, in a neighborhood in dire need of green space to walk dogs, play football or throw frisbees.

Now, to add insult to injury, the city has walled off the lots with barbed wire and hired security guards with vicious dogs to keep neighbors out of green space which they should be welcomed into. More than one passerby has observed the resemblance to a prison camp.

A dog doing his duty.
The barbed wire adds an ugly element to the colorful city-sponsored murals.

Nearby, during its last months, the Petro administration made a poorly-thought out effort to turn parts of the land into a seating area, by building wooden floors. But the few tables and chairs the city supplied quickly disappeared, apparently stolen. Today, skateboarders make use of the city investment, whose only other beneficiaries were likely Petro's business acquaintances.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

Monday, September 19, 2016

The New Septimazo

Looking for some style?
On Sunday afternoons, Carrera Septima transforms spontaneously into Bogotá's biggest variety store, with all the random and wonderful things you can imagine - clothing, electronics, art and food. Check it out. You'll find something you want.

Found what I needed.

Refreshment stand.

The world's literature, at your feet, for a few thousand pesos.
Need a charger for that old cellphone?
Want to fire up the old VCR?

Someone's got the time.
Nearby, rises the BD Bacatá tower, Colombia's tallest.

A battery for every (old) phone.

Just the thing for the kitchen.

South of Calle 19, the offerings move up an estrato in cost and sophistication.

A running exhibition about (government sponsored) human rights violations.
Sweaters from Ecuador.
Get your portrait painted.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

Friday, September 16, 2016

Cultural Cacophony in the Gabriel Garcia Marquez

On the main patio of the Gabriel Garcia Marquéz Cultural Center you'll find something startling - unless you consider big time wrestling high culture: There's a wrestling ring, surrounded by lurid and violent images of Mexican wrestling.

Sure, violent, obnoxious, glamorous wrestling is big in Mexico, but does it really rate center stage in an institution named after Colombia's Nobel Prize-winning novelist? (The center, bizarrely, has no exhibition about Marquéz himself.)

However, in the art gallery downstairs, one finds something more fitting: an exhibition about the legendary and tortured Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Frida fans will enjoy the different perspectives on the artist, who suffered physically from polio and a car accident (she underwent 32 reconstructive surgeries) and a tumultuous relationship with muralist Diego Rivera, a fellow communist. Both Rivera and Kahlo, who was bisexual, had numerous affairs, altho they managed to stick together.

Kahlo died in 1954 following several suicide attemps.

Perhaps fittingly, Frida painted herself, portraying her own physical and mental sufferings.

In the exhibition, 23 Mexican, one Chilean and one Mexican artists, portray Kahlo's suffering, sexuality and religiosity.

Frida, Prince, or both?

Frida having fun.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours