Monday, December 29, 2014

A Homeless Tour Guide

Sergio, a homeless man who frequents La Candelaria, where he's a common sight scavenging stuff from the garbage, also doubles as a tourist guide.

Living on the street and sifting thru garbage provides lots of opportunity for reading, so Sergio stays well informed on current events. And that serves him well as tour guide. For those versed in Colombian politics and its social vocabulary, Sergio's irreverent and pointed commentaries strike home. He talks about the parapolitica scandal, which called into question the legitimacy of the Uribe administration, but has since been forgotten.

Sergio gets laughs by referring to Congress as a Cartucho of gamines of estrato seis. Translated, he's saying that Congress consists of wealthy street children from the notorious, drug- and crime-ridden neighborhood located a few blocks from the presidential palace, which was bulldozed in the early 2000s.

Sergio asks his audience for a few thousand pesos, and gets them. He also hits me up for a few bills, "to pay for my room.

"I'm no longer living in El Bronx," he says proudly.

Maybe not. But he shuffles off downhill in that direction. Maybe he's not living there, just shopping there.

Walking off towards El Bronx.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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