Monday, September 27, 2010

La Candelaria: Where history is present

I just had another "pinch myself" day where I can't believe I'm walking around Bogota. 

I arranged the tour guide, Nicolas, who I had a couple of weeks ago to show my friends, Carol and Terry, around La Candelaria.  Although it was virtually the same tour, I saw new sights and enjoyed learning more about La Candelaria, Bogota, and Colombia in general from Nicolas who is not only knowledgeable, but passionate about history.  So much so, that he and a group of friends have started a website that gives the historic background to many of the current news events of today.  Check out De Ti Hable La Historia - which thankfully has an English section.

Security was extreme today because the President was having a special function at the Palace near Plaza de Bolivar.  We saw armed guards on every street corner, secret service guys in suits with ear pieces, and snipers on top of the justice and city hall buildings. 

Amidst all the security were two different protest groups and I was glad to see they were able to have a voice...although one of the protesters chose to use his voice to sing...

I saw new sights today that I hadn't two weeks ago including a series of statues depicting various people or trades found in La Candelaria.
The shoe shine man
This guy was a tragic poet (and a little bit twisted) who loved his sister
 so much that after she died he shot himself in the heart...
Above:  The architecture varies throughout La Candelaria and sometimes you just need to look up to see something unique.

Above: Area around the Palace - guards check bags at the checkpoint.  Below:  One of the palace guards who readily agreed to be photographed but they don't allow anyone to get within about 10 feet of the palace fence.

Nicolas, Terry and Carol in Plaza de Bolivar
Street art capturing Colombia's indigenous people

Below:  One of my favorite, jaw dropping scenes from today....The large group of men you see under the golden arches were trading emeralds on the street.  Nicolas said within the group there would be several armed body guards and the emerald trade is "controlled" by just a few men.  It was really interesting to watch but I'm not sure I'd have the guts to do business with them.

It was another fascinating day walking through the streets of La Candelaria where the museums, churches, street art, and buildings transported me to Europe in a blink of an eye. 

" You have to understand the past to understand the present."
Dr. Carl Sagan

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