Sunday, April 14, 2013

General Sanduo

He's one of the most colorful characters on the streets of central Bogotá. You'll recognize him by his

long walking stick, toothless grin and the military-style uniform, which upon closer examination turns out to be decorated with a random collection of colorful buttons, cultural icons and other random things picked up on the street or at a flea market.

He says he's 85 and that he's been walking the streets of La Candelaria for 12 years. He was a waiter once, and then a security guard, until he got fired for being too old. Now, he survives off of a government pension and the coins which locals and tourists give him to pose for photos, make political commentaries (politicians are corrupt, the wealthy are predators and Gaitan is immortal) or recite doggerel political poetry. Occasionally, a TV crew interviews him and gives him a 10,000 or 20,000 peso note.

He calls himself General Sanduo - a name borrowed from a defunct telenovela - when he doesn't use a religious title, and says he's emulating Mother Theresa and St. Francis of Asisi. His military style dress produces no contradiction, he says. And, it catches people's eye, earning him a few coins.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


mauricio forero l said...

Good post Miguel !!!!

mauricio forero l said...

Whats up Mike.
Totally out of context. I think that you should post something about the story of Sandra Liliana Brand, the actor that lost her life last week in the south of Bogota. She was getting some plastic surgery in her derrière. In any case, I was reading all this BS post about this girl in Facebook, you know Mike...the same crap..." oh she was so amazing and a figure to remember" or " You are going to be in our memories for ever" The truth is that this girl lost her life for her stupidity and vanity, and she is the typical example of the macho backward ass culture in Colombia where the ass of a woman is more important that the content of her brain...Any way Miguel, I think it would be a very hot post, if you do it.

Miguel said...

Hi Mauricio. I mostly agree with you, except that I do think she was partially a victim, too. After all, young women do these things because society pressures them to, in one way or another.

It would be an interesting topic to blog about. But I'd like to be able to contribute something personal, say by talking to people who'd had the surgery or to a plastic surgeon.

That said, I've also seen a lot of absurd cases of corporal aumentation, which often don't even look realistic.


Nathalia said...

I LOVES THIS POST! Now that I live in Houston, this blog reminds me of how awesome my city is.

Miguel said...

Thanks for your comment. General Sanduo will be proud. But aren't there colorful characters in Houston, too?