“A City That Belongs to Everyone”

“A City That Belongs to Everyone”

All of my memories of Bogotá are good.  It’s where I fell in love for the first time, learned to drive and gave my first solo piano concert. It’s where my favorite aunts and best girlfriends live. To this day I can send a message – “I’m arriving tomorrow. Can we get together?” – and know that I’ll have a place to stay and a table to eat at.  It doesn’t matter how much time has gone by or how disconnected I’ve been,  Bogotá and its people are always there for me.  
 
I’m from Cali, from the warmer “provinces.” But despite being home to people who live bundled up, literally and figuratively, Bogotá embraced me when I went college there, just as it embraced Carlos Vives when he moved there as a boy from his native Santa Marta. Like me, he came from a much warmer climate, and was shocked by Bogota’s cold weather and perpetual humidity.
 
But Bogotá and the bogotanos –or “rolos,” as many call them—have their own singular warmth. Vives calls it the “city that belongs to everyone” because Colombians from all over the coountry eventually arrive here to make their way in this always cultured and educated place, where in the midst of the most horrendous traffic, cab drivers address you with the respectful pronoun “sumercé,” and can speak knowledgeably about history and politics.
 
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since Vives first arrived in Bogotá and since I left there. The city has transformed from a Latin American capital to a global capital of more than nine million people, full of five-star hotels, gourmet restaurants, world-class museums and a sophisticated cultural scene.  
 
What hasn’t changed are the cobblestone streets of La Candelaria, the view of Monserrate, the exceptional network of bike paths (better than ever); the endless and delicious mecateaderos in Chapinero and the city center, the Luis Ángel Arango concert hall and Andrés Carne de Res, everyone’s favorite restaurant and party place.  But everyone has their Bogotá to share. In this issue of  Nexos, Carlos Vives i sour guide. Write us at  nexos.ed@ink-global.com