Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Journal Day 1
Today I read my first homework assignment for the online writing class I am taking. This week I am supposed to “keep a journal describing my home”. I think the instructor means the “city I am currently living in” rather than my house. I am supposed to observe things I pass in everyday life that make my town unique. So what better way to journal than in my blog? This way you can all get a glimpse of what I see in Bogota!
Today I met a group of American women for lunch to celebrate a birthday. The birthday girl chose “Cafe Renault” in Parque 93, an upscale restaurant just a ten minute walk from my apartment. I left my apartment wearing jeans and a long sleeve shirt with a jacket slung over my arm and an umbrella tucked in my purse. The sun was shining and the afternoon was unusually warm. Needing to walk everywhere I always plan what stops I need to make along the way.
First stop was the dry-cleaners. I walked in, the chic clerk asked my phone number, she put it into the computer and recorded my clothes. I paid and took my computer printed receipt.
The next stop was the hardware store just a block away, to get a nut that was lost while shipping the grill. These tiny hardware stores are everywhere. They can be identified by the large, yellow key hanging from the awning. The hardware store has not failed me yet. Hundreds of trays with various nails, nuts and screws are along the wall. Rope, string, glues and hangers are in various containers. I explain what I am looking for and the attendant digs around for a few minutes and produces exactly what I need. My screw cost me the equivalent of a nickel. No computer, no receipt. Just an old cash register to keep the money in and a calculator to figure the sale.
Now I head for Cafe Renault. Parque 93 is an upscale dining area surrounding a park. On a Sunday afternoon in the park you will see families hanging out, dogs playing and an opera or soccer game showing on a large screen. Restaurants, cafes and coffee shops line three sides of the park. Everything from McDonalds, with a McCafe, to Sushi is available. Although the area draws mainly the upperclass and business people, one never forgets they are in a third world country as a horse drawn cart passes by or a beggar holds out their hand for some change.