ATLAS: vol.1 Bogotá, CO– Getting lost in the Centro Comerciál

The rock band passing by, on the way to practice it looks, causes me to sit and write.  The singer, obviously, wears black pants and a tight black T-shirt, his glossy, black hair down past his shoulders.  The others, significantly taller than the singer, and walking with far less swagger, carry guitars in black cases.  One is small– and probably acoustic– another very flat– an electric guitar.  The last– whose bearer walks slightly behind the rest– is longer and also flat, a bass guitar.

Getting lost is not the best idea in this town.  But, I am told, el Centro Commerciál, just southwest of the expensive shopping district of the Zona Rosa, is tame enough during the day.

A man in all blue– sky blue, a light fabric, long sleeved– sits and leans effeminately against another man, both looking at the same cellular.  I fear I stare too long, as he looks up at me with a slightly concerned look on his long and thin face, so I nod my head swiftly and go about my business.  My business of getting lost.

Perhaps I am slightly too lost, so I soon regress back north from whence I came.  I recognize the Bogotá Beer Company, and order a sandwich and a Cerveza Roja.  The beer comes first.  Then, arrives a meatball sub.  It is about 11:50 in the morning.  

I apply sunblock, and head back into the busy, now sunny street.  Folks walk swiftly, here, without too much regard for personal space, but with never a jostling.  It is permitted to make eye-contact with these strangers on the street, but saying pardon me does not seem to occur.

Andres gives me some sealed in wrapper Fruticas sweets– which I do not eat– and I donate 4 million Colombian pesos for his son, Santiago.  It amounts to just over a dollar.  He offers to sell me cocaine– which I also do not want.  His poem is all I care for.

Men in suits, youths in sweatshirts and leather jackets, women in pants, often long sweaters, a security policeman with dog: a blind man scrapes his cane, by far the least swift walker among us.  Even the man hauling a pushcart pilled high with produce walks swifter than he.

more from Bogotá, CO
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