Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hanky Panky in the Park

But what's going on inside?
Bogotá's sprawling Simon Bolivar Park attracts thousands of people every weekend to picnic, listen to music, play football, and, apparently, do naughty things behind vinyl walls.

That has moved the park's authorities, ever-vigilant to defend public morals, to prohibit tents in all of Bogotá's parks.

A crowded Simon Bolivar Park. 
For many foreigners, tents in city parks look strange. But it makes sense: the tents are useful for protecting belongings from thieves, hiding from the sun and rain, and taking an afternoon nap.

But, apparently, some couples were doing more active things behind those vinyl walls. One park security guard estimated to El Tiempo that four out of ten tents were used naughtily. He didn't explain how he'd generated that statistic.

This week, the District's Institute of Sports and Recreation (IDRD) - which evidently frowns on some types of recreation - prohibited tents in all of Bogotá's parks, except for La Florida, and there only with special authorization.

Tents are so popular in the park, and good for so many legit uses, that the blanket prohibition seems unfair. Couples getting naughty inside tents are only a problem when they bother other people - and in those cases they should be easy to identify and slap with a fine and some embarassment. The park authority might even designate a specific area, probably in the woods, for such activities - a sort of park red light district.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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