Saturday, April 18, 2015

One Year On, Where's Gabo?

This display about Marquéz's life on the BLAA library's wall has been up for more than a year.
On the one-year anniversary of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's death in Mexico City, I searched for him thru La Candelaria, where Gabo lived for several years while in high school and later while working as a journalist - and came up empty.

Sure, there's the exhibition about Marquez's life on the wall of the Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango onCentro Cultural Gabriel Garcia Marquez, which was built by the government of Mexico. But the center - bizarrely - contains no exhibition about Marquez's life and works.
Tourists in the Gabriel Garcia Marquez Cultural Center,
in La Candelaria. The Mexican-built center
has no exhibition about the author.
Calle 11, but that's been there for more than a year. And down the street is the

Only the Biblioteca Nacional, north of La Candelaria, is exhibiting a few objects related to Gabo, such as his Smith Corona typewriter. (The bulk of Marquez's manuscripts and other documents were sold by his family to the Harry Ransom Center, a part of the University of Texas, in Austin.)

The 'liqui liqui' suit in which Marqués
accepted the Nobel Prize for literature.
The suit was on exhibition in the
Museo Nacional.
Paris, where Marquez grew into a novelist in the post-World War II years, has created a 'Gabo Trail,' along which fans can visit cafés and theatres he frequented, streets he walked, apartments where he lived and a hotel where he enjoyed a bohemian life. And in Cartagena you can also do a prepared tour of Gabo sites. By the same token, in New York, you can take a Mark Twain walking tour, and in Key West, Florida and Havana, Cuba, you can take Hemingway tours.

Bogotá could do something similar - and without much effort. After all, Marquéz wrote colorfully about the neighborhood in his autobiography 'Living to Tell the Tale.'

Many visitors to Medellin do tours about that city's (and Colombia's) most famous son, Pablo Escobar. Colombia's international publicists must grit their teeth every time they hear about that. But Colombia's image handlers have no grounds to complain about the villains being highlighted unless they do their best to celebrate the nation's heroes, as well.

And, while they're at it, why not also create a GGM cultural center which actually contains something about the novelist.

Marquéz's Smith-Corona typewriter, now on display in the Biblioteca Nacional.
A portrait of Marquéz along Carrera 10, in central Bogotá.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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