Friday, 18 December 2009

Heeeeey Macarena!

We’ve now moved to La Macarena. An optimist, I’d hoped the locals would pour out of the restaurants and bars to greet our arrival by performing “the dance”.

I was cruelly let down. However, I was pleased to see a policeman carrying an enormous gun sitting on the steps of our building.

Unlike equivalent blocks, ours doesn’t have a doorman. Instead, it is opposite a police school.

As a result, the 24/7 security that would usually be offered by a dozy doorman is provided by a succession of seemingly identical, heavily armed teenagers. All teenagers are dozy, even heavily armed ones.

In this sense, the police station is a clear security boon. However, there’s a flip side: if the charming young men are attacked in a riot or a bomb, we’re right in line for any over-enthusiastic rock throwers or the blast.

Still, no-where’s perfect; and La Macarena is restaurant-rich and right in the centre of town. On the downside, it’s also right next to Perseverancia.

We’re warned by everyone never to go there. It’s two blocks to the right of the flat and, yet, it’s so dodgy that we shouldn’t drive through it. Even during the day.

We’re told that La Macarena is also home to the son of President Uribe. Again this is a double-edged sword, security in his neighbourhood will always be tighter but on the other hand he must a tempting target to any hostage takers.

My fears that we’d hear the screech of endless sirens have proved unfounded. This morning, however, they were howling outside. Nervously, I peered through the window fearing the horrors unfolding on my doorstep.

Nothing had prepared me for the sight of a life-size nativity scene on a police float. The thin blue line was now dressed as cows, horses and—in a revisionist version of the holy birth—snowmen. It was the centre of cavalcade, complete with policewomen outriders in sexy Santa outfits.

Merry Christmas, all!

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