After his kidnapping ordeal, the Monkey was able to get out and enjoy some of Bogotá‘s charm. In these shots from 2003, he explores La Candelaria, an evocative colonial district at the heart of Colombia’s capital.
It’s often said, but Bogotá truly is a city of contrasts. 16th Century churches and 1960s high-rises play neighbor as fabulous wealth stands in stark relief against the abject poverty of so many of the city’s residents. In this photo, the Monkey rests on the low roof of an old house near the central Candelaria district, Bogotá‘s old colonial core. Down the street you can see two modern towers; at right is the Avianca Building (1969) and at left is what the Monkey believes to be the Banco de la Republica Building.
The Monkey admires the narrow streets and colonial architecture of the Candelaria district. Up the street, the ornate, red and white striped church is the mid 16th Century Iglesia de Santa Bárbara.
Reminders of the war are omnipresent in Colombia. Strolling through central Bogotá, the Monkey came across numerous deployments of heavily armed troops guarding government buildings and public spaces. If you look past the Monkey down this attractive Candelaria street you’ll notice several soldiers, guns at the ready. Despite the stress this constant exposure to the images and actualities of war must cause them, the Colombians are a truly warm and joyous people.
The Monkey climbs into the window grillwork of a Spanish colonial home in Bogotá‘s Candelaria district.
The Monkey rests on a vividly painted windowsill at his Bogotá hotel.
El Mico climbs some local flora in the atrium of his hotel in Bogotá.
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