Back in Bogotá

Ah, the rainy season...  This place is about 120 miles north of the equator on an Andean plateau. At 8600' it's perpetual springtime and during the season from March through mid-May it rains. Sometimes a lot.  But that's why Bogotá is always in bloom.  The mountains rimming the city are lush and green.  Every street is lit up in a profusion of orange flowered vines, or iridescent impatiens, pink azaleas, all kinds of exotic flowering shrubs and trees.  When the sun shines it's amazingly intense, and when there's cloud cover the temperatures can drop into the 50's.  You always carry an umbrella this time of year.  And one of the most useful articles of clothing is a scarf you can muzzle around your neck.

I've been coming to Colombia for well over a year and half.  The first trip was right after Santos was inaugurated as president and began a rapprochement with Chavez of Venezuela.  Four days later a bomb went off six blocks from here.  La FARC blew up a car on a main thoroughfare in front of a major radio station in an effort to silence a broadcaster critical of their ongoing rape and pillage and frequent kidnappings of less fortunate souls in the southwest jungles near the Amazon.  They don't care about collateral damage, but fortunately no one was killed in this one.  It was a hekuva blast nonetheless, and a reminder of the savage history from which Colombia has been steadily emerging since the US came in and plowed billions of dollars into a largely successful effort to eliminate the drug cartels, bolster a sagging military, and help clean up a government whose level of corruption has basically defined corruption.  Astute Colombianos cynically call it the national sport. And it still goes on.  Last year the mayor of Bogotá was convicted for embezzling millions at the expense of this capital city of eight million whose streets are choked with traffic streaming over crumbling pavement with potholes the size of small craters.

But the city and the burgeoning economy of Colombia are helping to lead South America into a more equitable world where a middle class is rising out of poverty and the rich upper classes are becoming more benign and compassionate.

That's the view from an 8th floor apartment in Rosales, an upscale section of town nestled against an impressive ridge of Andes bordering the east side.  There are embassies all around the neighborhood.  The Russian, Brazilian, Chilean and a host of others are a stone's throw away.  The American Ambassador's residence is a short walk.  But the most impressive thing to me are the highrises. They're all made of brick.  And the masonry work is an artform all its own.  In fact, that's one of the most compelling things about Bogotá, and all of Colombia for that matter.  The level of artisanship is astonishing.  World class.

I discovered this in very tangible fashion when I started recording here.  Everything to do with the production of "Coffee Colored Eyes" has been done with an artistic bent.  On the website, if you're interested, you can read some of the details, but I cannot overstate the skill and dedication of the people I have been fortunate to work with.  They're just damn good!

So, this little missive will wrap up.  The next one will probably come from the Caribbean coastal city of Cartagena, one of the most celebrated ports on the Spanish Main, as it was known during the days of the Spanish conquest.  It was the primary point of embarkation for the plunder of the Incas, and it was plundered, itself, relentlessly by the likes of Sir Francis Drake and Henry Morgan.  In a couple of weeks, it will be the site of the Summit of the Americas.  I hope to have a ringside seat as we're trying to setup some video shoots for "Caribbean Feeling," the first single off the CD.

Hope you stick around for the updates.

WS 

 

займы онлайн на карту