It was said in the place of all sayings,
mp_en_viaje: i fucking hate this town
mp_en_viaje: utter fucking shithole omfg
but I can today, with the wisdom Saturday brings through distilling the experiences of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday atop the early annoyance of Tuesday, that Bogota is rather more complicated than simply a shithole. It is, if you will, a shithole with corn kernels admixed in, and mothercurds, and all manner of delicacies, which we'll be exploring in all their festive glory at great length. This article contains over a hundred images (and some wool!), not to mention words, palpitations, quashed feelings, elated hopes, great altitudes as well as dismal directions, so prepare yourselves thoroughly afore ingurgitation!
The five stari Bogota Plaza Summit Hotelii located at 100 with 18 @ 92 (but we will come back to the idiocyiii of their addressing system) is proud to offer Today condoms, should you need them. Elaine Benes is hereby notified that conceivably the best thing after the Today sponge might be the Today condom ?
As a side note -- how many 30 and 40 something pisis ladyspeedstick themselves, would you say ? Isn't this the true socialist greatness, that Trump and his deplorably peniless detractors alike rely on the same five bux' worth of deodorant ?
This is a random shot from the Candelaria, the old district of Bogota. There's a lot of pedestrian-only spaces there, and it's a favourite destination of tourism.
You are invited to locate the image above, for a one bitcent prize ; you are also invited to explain what the fuck is happening according to the artist, and how the fuck did anyone imagine psychotic depiction of live birth may somehow sell more jam -- but this, for free.
To be perfectly fair : I couldn't believe it either, the first time I saw it. But biology is fulla surprises, and they do indeedy stretch down there beyond imaginable limit.
This is a different random shot in the same Candeleria, this time at night. There's relatively little I can tell you about the famous neighbourhood, mostly on account of having spent about one hour in it, once Monday night and once Thursday evening. The notion of having a few square miles of pedestrian only spaces is great, until you implement it in the manner of Argentina (huge roadworker colonies occupying the main street, leaving two narrow spaces for pedestrians in between walls and ad-hoc metal fencing).
Nevertheless, "it's not that way everywhere". Unlike Costa Rica there's actual Casinos, where people play actual pokeriv, various shops selling various shit that wasn't evidently just unloaded from the chinaboat (such as this cute Nepalese couple that sold me a half-dozen hand made colored glass cigarette holders), the occasional interesting bar/cafe/restaurant and so following. In short, it has a soul, which is a lot more than Portland, for instance, could say for itself.
A guy was breakdancing for no apparent reason in the (very dangerous, mind you!) distance for no apparent reason, but there were too many people milling about to manage to get a good shot. Next time.
Speaking of interesting cafes, this place sold me panela tea a lemon, which was quite delicious, and a very Latino (and cilantro-heavy) sopa azteca which for some inconceivable reason they were calling "Hungarian goulash". It is out of the question, and I say possessed of all the heavy authority of one coming from the very place where Hungarian goulash was invented and to this day best made -- Transylvania, that the broth before me there was goulash ; but I do declare it'd be a great way to bother any Hungarian friends you might somehow still have.
The decor in the place was... at the very worst bizarre. I'm unsure what the item is held to represent, or what is the link between that semantic content and the white enamel teapot placed upon it, but then again not everything is made to be understood.
The bartender was this affable gay guy, who rather evidently spent the entire evening trying to decypher the encyphered signals I was sending his way (while I myself was doing no such thing, but can you argue with the lovestruck ?). The seat of his labours was chiefly that square meter of colorful trainwreck.
And now, ladies, gents and whores, we arrive at the enchanted moment of our show where we discuss the Bogota taxi system indirection layer. You see, in most places taxis count time and distance, and then spit out a price. Not so here! Here, they calculate points, which are displayed as such (for instance in the instant case -- 60 up there on the right side of the mirror) and then converted into meaning by the use of a table, printed out and hung on the back of the front seat. It is thus that we find 50 equates to 4`100 while 202 and 203 are equal to 16`600.
The whole excel spreadsheet provided would be readily approximated by a "points * 80" function, except not exactly. There exists no function that would exactly render the very strange content associated, and the implication is twofold. For one thing, you must be a very stupid fellow indeed to prefer an array representation of an underlying reality to a functional representation of the same, for the obvious reason : it takes up so much space! Humans only enjoy finite mental capacity, while reality is not similarily bound in its complexity ; and as a matter of consequence, the more cognitively heavy your representations are, the lower the absolute ceiling this places on your ability to interact with reality. Laugh at the "fits in head" criterion now, if you dare, but let it be plainly said : it is the only symptom of intelligence in live humans, now or ever.
For the other thing, you must be a very poor fellow indeed for the slight variation introduced by the index depicted over the proposed function to matter to you. The dollar in my hand was worth about 3`000 local pesos, who exactly cares that 202 * 80 = 16`160 and 203 * 80 = 16`240 (a 440 and 360 delta respectively from the "correct" 16`600 value) ? If you care about the dime specifically, and you care to the degree printing and maintaining those things is actually worth it... you've got very serious problems, let's put it that way.
Now tell me, what is the correlate between poverty and stupidity, and why exactly is "lack of opportunity" a cause of poverty ? Tell me, I'm curious, is it because I run my affairs well that idiot Cape Town subhumans managed to run themselves out of water and then believe when the wreckers tell them that "going about with greasy hair is a sign of social responsibility" instead of taking note it's yet another testament of their utterly subhuman nature ? How do I keep the happy Bogotans from making sense for themselves and towards their own prosperity ? "Lack of opportunities" indeed, because they were way too busy dicking about with taxi-point indirection layers while opportunity came, and then just as it came it also went.
In alta ordine de idei, as the Romanian expression goes, the Romanian Embassy in Bogota held an exhibition of various ancient, previously classified Romanian diplomatic material. The light wasn't very good, but I did manage to exfiltrate some bits.
Above, the local mission is informed telegraphically as to the official wordsalads to be used wrt Ceausescu's visit in Colombia. This happened in 1972, towards the tail end of Romania's prosperity and technological superiority (ie, when Ceausescu finally ended up here). If his flight pattern weren't insulting enough (Costa Rica then Venezuela first, then Colombia), he literally uses as his captatio "I came to your country like all the others". This is a wonder that the written record does little to resolve : what did 1972 Ceausescu imagine a liberal or a conservative party even were ? He met their leadership, what meaning did he extract out of the experience ?
Below, the very dismal results of the visit can actually be intuited : a lot of very elogious wood originating from the Romanian side, a keys to the city offered by the municipal council, Elena got to visit the Institute For Family Welfare or somesuch... altogether second rate an affair.
On the left, below, an item unsigned but attributed to Belisario Betancur, which includes, besides a lot of typically communist-Romanian formulae, "a world that fights tirelessly for cooperation in various fields", ostensibly starting with the wholly imagined field of fighting for cooperation and continuing imaginarily from there on. On the right, various economiasms by Lucella Ossman de Duque, at the time Colombian ambassador in Romania.
A remarkable note below from Gilberto Cruz Villegas, 1981, includes the following tidbit : "Romania has technology, our country has abundant natural resources which we must develop, and we do this with teachers and friends from your noble country". Fancy that wonder.
To a certain degre this is true, even though when I tell local cabbies that back in the 70s and 80s a lot of mining, oil and gas development was done with Romanian materiel and under Romanian technical supervision they seem altogether doubtful. There's even a few thousand families in the country produced through the union of one such engineer and a fetching young local lass half a century or so ago. But then again... Bogota is eight million, what possible impact could a thousand make.
Above, the sad end to the Romanian imperial ambitions in Colombia : the "a lot of your resources for a little of our products" deal was denounced unilaterally by Colombia, and the ambassador, while denying any involvement and naming namesv also asks for some administrative help that absolutely needs no asking in the first place (in this case, that the girl her son wants to marry be handed over for the purpose). The relationship between mafia and socialist state could scarcely be made more evident -- regimes in which one's stuck apologizing for things that need no apologies and asking for help in doing things that not only can't possibly need any helping, but utterly need no doing! What the fuck, since when is the state involved in what woman some man takes ?! And who the fuck asked Romania's politruks whether they like or don't like that nobody wants the fucking Tehnica Navigarii cu Vele ?
Below, some indistinct wank about a "friendship house" between the two countries. Somehow the Romanian services summoned up a few dozen (mostly obscure) local names supposedly interested in such a thing, though I've no idea anything ever came of it.
Here's how the inept addressing scheme of Bogota makes announcements look. You'd think these people ASM for a living or something.
And here's the responsible parties for the urban chaos in Bogota : they have some independent offices tasked with issuing building permits, and jesus christ is the result a hot mess.
Above : two pair lobster tails, one in garlic, one a la maison. Fucking delicious, I don't recall having had lobster this tender and wunderbar in Boston even, and that was on the wharf.
Below : the bill. Lobster, steaks, coffee, almost a hundred bucks. Yes ?
Bogota is very cheap if you buy the top shelf. Even if it's a gamble whether it will be over or under standardvi, nevertheless it'll be worth the pennies.
Above : they have some strange issues with religious figures, there's all sorts of baby jesus bars and whatnot.
Below : yes, I smoke in public places if I fucking feel like it, ley whatever the fuck notwithstanding. Problem ? Shove it!
At this point... let's see if we can brew up a diplomatic incindent, why the hell not.
So, foarte simpaticul Romanian consul in Bogota, Mr. Iulian Ivan picked up a local darling. Just like that, off the street.vii My first impression was that the lady's at work, on the flimsy basis of her very fashion mag-driven attire, her unyielding disponibility to walk on four inch heels through the post-war "sidewalks" of Bogotaviii and other considerations (such as employment as real estate agent, for instance, or that he doesn't look like he could pull it off -- no doubt an ellaborate disguise deliberately displayed!).
Nevertheless, upon insistent cocktails at Pravda (which, as the first page of the menu informs, "La Verdad Lo Que Sobrie Piensa Ebrio Dice"ix) it came out that she comes from a coffee planting family of some import, and for the past decade was the girlfriend of the Russian Military attache. Who taught her to fire various weapons, to drink properly by all means, as well as a number of other state secrets she duly communicated to the Romanian side. What now ?x
We finished the night in the wee hours of the morning at Armando Records over champagne batteries. The local kids were very impressed with the girls, taking turns to ask them whether they have children, whether I'm their sugar daddyxi and so forth. In the end as we were leaving a braver one asked me something -- he wanted to know where I'm from. I told him, and by the dazed expression I infer he now thinks "Romania" is how Martians call Mars itself.
Atragem si pe aceasta cale atentia tinarului vlastar al altfel respectabilului parinte ca e intr-un gust cam indoielnic sa vizitezi coclauri obscure fara sa dai un semn cit de-o cafea reprezentantei noastre acolo. Oameni sunt, pe tine, sau ma rog, pe mine ma servesc, ce asa apucaturi ciobanesti ? Pe urma stam si ne miram de ce se cred cinci pizdute obosite cumva importante sau mai stiu eu ce minuni. Am zis asa in italiana sa se inteleaga si fara mediatori ; revenim la programul normal in limba engleza.
Above, as well as a bunch below we're going down calle 100, to pick up Alejandra. Alejandra used to be Alexandra back when she lived in Romania, and perhaps one day will fiscalia at the Hague, but meanwhile she can't find a cab. She thinks people tend to not take her quite as seriously as they should on account of her great rack, you see, but the truth is they don't take her as seriously as she'd like on account of her not having money, a point directly evinced by the great grand abundance of cabs loitering about the affluent North-Western 1% of Bogotaxii. I for instance had no trouble whatsoever picking any of the fifty or so empty cabs within yelling range of my hotel, even if they told her that everything's reserved for the next hour down there. This is something playing the district attorney is very unlikely to ever change, which is why they say youth is wasted on the young, and also why I say self-direction is a terrible, terrible idea.
The girls, at the bottom of Montserrat. With a llama! Her fur is very pleasantly soft ; the thing by the fence there is a sack of cut up carrots.
This fellow wanted to charge us 5`000 pesos for to pet his llama while inconveniencing traffic attempting to get into the parking lot, or else 10`000 for to take our picture doing it. In no mood to deny a hardworking man three dollars I paid him 10`000 with no intention of taking any photograph he might produce. How wrong was I! See that little radio box up there ? That's his printer! He literally produced a physical photo on the spot, seen below.
Also, speaking of nothing in particular : I bought myself a book, depicted below. It was a very heavily advertised item, with all the important airs attempting to suggest that something was done here, that Elisa Estevez achieved some kind of something, that Atala y Elisa is some kind of breakthrough, a success, un exito.
No such thing. The item is a dismal affair, very much in the vein of Naggum's description of books by idiots for idiots (except it's no backbreaker, with all the fluffing it's still a shade under 200 pages). The endless and endlessly pompous "acknowledgements" at the beginning as well as the general spirit of the atrocity very much evoke an idle, useless cuntlet that'd benefit immensely from a good public flogging. The intolerable self-absorption, the precious cuntlet syndrome dripping off the pages make the sad production a shameful testament of the rampant style of child abuse these days fashionable.
Please stop telling the children that they're special. For one thing, they're not special, and for the other thing it prevents their maturation, resulting in obscene failures like this misfortunate Elisa Estevez.
So we climbed this hill on the side of Bogota, which is quite literally a larger version of where I live.
I have no idea why there's a cross potent above the altarxiii, seems an odd innovation to me.
This utter imbecile (no doubt produced through the inane process of telling dumb cunts they're talented, special etcetera) tortured a guitar most ineptly through a way overpowered amplifying system. Why the fuck do people permit idiots to breathe, let alone express themselves, is the principal question before contemporaneity.
Which reminds me -- I bought dried coca leaves, they're sold here packaged exactly like tea (which I suppose they actually are). Five bux or something.
Can you spot the little birdy ?
No ? How about now ?
Here starts the large Museo de Oro batch. Other than to say that it's evident this was El Dorado, considering they made all sorts of bearings, fishing hooks etcetera out of pure gold, I'll limit myself to pointing out that those hunks of rock actually are emeralds, yes.
Above as below, the central plaza in Candelaria, with whatever public buildings around it.
Some vaguely interesting steeples ; and with that...
- And 2017 TripAdvisor pick of the year or somesuch, no less! [↩]
- Isn't it high time they start giving better names to hotels ? What the fuck is "plaza summit", no fucking plaza was ever on a summit, this is like calling it Subterranean Sundial. Wake up and smell the coffee, posers : there's no intrinsically suave words, there's not a quantum of cool that attaches to words as such and you can then squeeze into your commercial lemonade. It always helps if the misfortunate phonemes you string together mean something in the arrangement. Okay ? [↩]
- I remembered 100 with 92, and spent an hour going about in a cab trying to find it again. Eventually we managed, but in the interim I had to keep encouraging a poor driver, who intermitently was about to be taken (by an imaginary parade) to be solemnly handed the keys of Panic City. I can't imagine what they do to such a lowly local should he misplace a revered foreigner whiteman, but in any case he kept asking his peers, who produced deeply helpful commentary in the vein of "Oh, a hotel called Bogota something ? Well... that one over there is Bogota-something...", which of course it is, because they all are, which readily takes us back to the previous note : would you please give better names to your deeply indistinct and indistinguishable palaces of great good and righteous ideal prosperity and wonderful enjoyment ? For fucks sake! [↩]
- I asked my local friend whether he played the game, he looked at me like I was an alien. "What, with the machines ?" "No, dude, what fucking machines. With people." "They don't have that anymore ?" "Of course they do! What the fuck, I'm not about to play poker with the machines like an idiot ; I play poker with the idiots like a machine." He so much liked this turn of phrase it is here reproduced for his further enjoyment, and in living memory of Shelley The Machine Levene. [↩]
- It's remarkable how very uniformly similar the behavior of the Security State was throughout. One's at pains to distinguish the treatment applied to the retiring ambassador from the treatment that'd have been applied to the same physical woman, "enemy of the people" or "suspected individual" or whatever. They give her some papers to sign, right ? [↩]
- The hotel, for instance, was under, with various problems (for lolz : Thursday evening the LCD in the elevator had one Internet Exploder error page up ; early Friday morning -- a different one) of the irritating rather than substantial sort. They did do laundry, they did do wakeup calls, they did ship me off to the airport and all that ; but their breakfast was miserable, and the maids had this strange half-expectant half-terrified look on their face... actually, let's render an original Romanian story in English for your amusement :
Jimmy got out of the bar and pulled his hoodie down. It was cold and past 1 am, but fortunately he didn't live very far. He walked a brisk pace throgh the ad-hoc alleys criss-crossing the projects. He blew a burp into his palms for courage.
Out of one of the dismal tenements, some 50 meters ahead, some chick emerged and proceeded approximately in the same direction. She looked okay from behind. She probably came from some dood's bed. Or maybe she just hung out with some female friends over a bottle of wine, thought Jimmy. It's pointless to stereotype random bypassers. As he was mulling it over, the distance between them narrowed -- another 20 meters and he'd be next to her.
The chick turned and gave him a worried look. Then she started faster. Jimmy felt insulted. He was just going home like anyone. Why should she suspect him ? Jeez, women. You can't go about your business without some chickie figuring herself important. He could have slowed down, let her gain some distance and feel safe.
But it wasn't fucking fair. First of all, she was already safe, feelings or no feelings. Second of all, he went with the same speed since he started going, why should he change in this cold just to cater to some dumbass afraid of bombs ? Anyway, it made no difference, he was going to turn here and their ways will split up. Let the madwoman see the whole world's not about her.
She took the same turn. Before him. What a dumb coincidence. She's going the same way. Jimmy turned after her. He had briefly considered whether he shouldn't go around, but it wouldn't have been efficient.
On the other side, the chick stopped a moment and looked straight at him, watching him turn. She was obviously scared. She started trotting at her best clip on heels through the sidewalk craters, looking around for people. Jimmy imagined some burly dude could show up at any moment, or even a cop. The dumbass'd go over and say "this suspicious character's following me!" and he'd have an argument on his hands made out of sheer self-centered idiocy. What an idiot. No, the matter must be dealt with.
"Missy, this is to notify you that there's no danger!" croaked Andrei in her general direction, his voice ravaged by the cold. Then he realised he made a mistake. It'd have been exactly what some shady rapist'd have said. There literally was no sane way out of the situation.
She yelped, threw off her shoes and started running.
Now everything really looked dumb, pathetic and ridiculous. Jimmy understood that whoever'd have seen him, would have necessarily believed he's the sort of nut that follows women down the street. And the dumbass ran ineptly, legs apart and with strange jerks. She stepped on a stone and yelled out in pain, then fell on her knees, but picked herself up quickly and continued her chaotic run through the hypabyssal sidewalk, like she was in danger of life.
Jesus, what a dumbass. And with all of this, that run of hers was still slower than his brisk walk.
What idiotic misunderstanding. Just like that, he was hurrying home like anyone and some dumbass, out of sheer coincidence, happened to walk the same way.
Jimmy mumbled something and started after her. He closed the distance in a few paces -- somehow sexually panicked women move even slower than they do otherwise, if that were humanly possible. He grabbed her wrist firmly. She turned, mute with terror.
"Miss..." he started, and then stopped, understanding there exists no possible phrase he could utter that'd calm the situation. Things had gone too far in a direction he had not the vaguest notion of, initially. But pragmatically speaking... he was already there, 80% of the job was already done. So he grabbed her by the scruff of her neck and dragged her to the closest gang.
- Their mutually-agreed upon story is pretty good, but we're getting to it in a moment.
So, we were set to meet at five in the afternoon, after his work is done, and have a cup of coffee or a beer or something at this public house on the corner of some major street cutting through Parque Virrey. Once there and no sight of Mr. Ivan, I asked one of the waiters for his phone, which he gladly provided, and had Hannah call. They spoke (in Romanian!) and it came to light he's stuck doing some work or somesuch. We rescheduled for six and split.
He worked double time, was done twice as fast, and arrived there half past five or so, only to not find us. So he proceeded to call Hannah, only to discover that some guy who has no fucking idea what's going on is on the other end of the line and can't help him. Now we come to the mutual story : at some point after five thirty plus whatever the calling took, he noticed the lady besieged by a very dangerous looking barbone while trying to have a cup of coffee, and none of the other customers nor the waiters were willing to help! She begged him to intervene, which he did, by sitting down at her table, shooing the danger away and continuing his interconnected life.
At six we showed up, sat down, and the poor waiter came running to tell us that during our absence the fellow called! But he didn't know what to say, and didn't understand him so well. He has a very strange accent!
It's not strange, it's Romanian, I explained. You see, I'm from Romania, and the fellow is our consul here. Oh, Romania! Offered the waiter. I have a friend from Romania! Dragnea! Valentin Dragnea!
"What, the son of the Romanian politician ?" I asked incredulous. He confirmed that yeah, his friend's daddy is some kind of big fish, and I am inclined to believe him, on the grounds that what, he's a twenty-something year old kid in Bogota waiting tables by day and then spending his nights reading up wikipedia pages on political arrangements in obscure countries just in case such a foreigner happens to fall upon him at the restaurant ? Seems the height of improbability, Romania is broadly speaking so obscure in Latin America pretty much every time I travel their training system triggers and some other immigration officer than the one I ended up with gets shown my papers -- which is to say at every point there's at least one person working there that's never before seen a Romanian passport.
Just as this was concluding the two lovebirds showed up, directed by another waiter towards our table, and so the story may continue, but not before I recount the poor fellow's utterly confused reaction to my, "Hey, wanna meet Dragnea's son ? The waiter can hook you up". Because why the hell not, or do I repeat myself ?
There, all recounted, back to the main thread. [↩]
- The place looks exactly like Rahova cca 1995, God love 'em. [↩]
- They also had it in Russian (note the obscurity). [↩]
- Asa incit, atentie Neculaescu/Gheorghita : dati-i cetateanului de munca, pina nu-si gaseste altceva de facut. [↩]
- "Are you by yourself ?" "No, actually, that's my Master right there." "What's that, like a sugar daddy ?".
Actually... it's like opposite of a sugar daddy. It's an alum daddy, let's say. [↩]
- This city is approximately square shaped, 60 or so km on the side. Here's a map :
The airport is in the South-West ; a thin sliver of the North is the affluent side, with the business district approximately on the West side of the sliver, while the old city / places where tourists walk rest on the East side of the same sliver. The item in the middle is the whoring area, marked for me by the very jolly commander-general of the Mayfair restaurant. We had a grand ole time together once I sprawled out this map on their buffet table. His waiters crowded around offering suggestions and producing sharpies, we discussed the matter to the tune of his hearthy guffaws, we soon enough established that yes we used to be military men, after a fashion, and haha zee Panzers!
The truth is that it's relatively easy to have a grand old time, if you know what you're doing. [↩]
- Let's delve. First off, potent means "crutch" in this context, because the Latin word for power had come to denote a prosthetic device by the early Medieval period, when the item was thus christened. Geddit, the cross christened ? Aaanyways, consider that the whole "god will download kungfu into my brain when needed" thing isn't in any sense novel, or invented in our dismal colonies. On the contrary, through the desperation of "reform" (known mostly as "retcon" these days) the symbols of power came to be associated (through the device of "vanity") with an implicit lack (from the perfection that one's somehow, magically, due). This is how the cycle goes for stupid people : first, great men (that aren't them) band together ; then this band forces the whole world on its knees, and extracts its juices ; then, the better cunts among the subjugated are used as bed warmers, with a clear understanding of their relative disimportance that sadly does not pass from father to son ; the sons not merely fail to appreciate correctly the relative position of their mothers in the grander scheme of things, but also the actual process through which their relative prosperity was created (and especially fail to understand the absolute bars that process places in principle to their participation, because why the fuck would they, who ever wants to understand his own inferiority, especially if absolute and insurmountable) and so come to believe "all are equal" and "all are perfect" ; confronted with myriad daily practical contradictions of these batshit insane theories borne by sheer necessity, they resolve the implicit cognitive dissonance by creating this dismal device whereby the symbols of power are shameful crutches for manifest insufficiency and so following. It's really quite sad.
Second off, the design is absolutely pre-historic, at the latest Neolithic. Which is not to say that its medieval name has no bearing -- its christian usage has no bearing! Just like the swastika's unimpressed by your fascination with burnt up jews, just so the crutched cross is not a cross in the first place, let alone the crutches. [↩]