Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Street life, XXX flicks and fishing rods

Even without a proper job, I try to avoid spending my days aimlessly wondering about Bogotá's calles and carreras in my slippers. But a look at local street culture gives a glimpse into the city’s soul and forces me to get out of the flat.

A friendly fellow by nature, when someone offers me a leaflet in the street, my instinct is to look them in the eye, smile broadly and say something like: “Fantastic! That’s exactly what I was need.” I like to think it makes a nice change to being treated like the Invisible Man.

Today, I went through my usual routine. In my mind, I’d put a little light the heart in the pretty teenage leafleteer. A discrete distance away and in reach of a bin, I looked at my new acquisition: “XXX cinema. Gay. Lesbian. Couples.”

In retrospect, her look had been a little quizzical.

The streets are a great place to go shopping for some specialist spontaneous purchases. Vying for trade are the expected magazine and snack stalls, ethno tat and food stands, you would expect.

Private DVD sellers also do a good trade. They’re a bargain too, only 65 pence for perfect versions of new films in a flimsy plastic sheath with a badly photocopied cover.

Memory sticks are also widely available. In an interesting piece of cross-marketing, these same salesmen also flog fishing rods. Not an obvious impromptu purchase and tricky to hide if the police arrive, none the less, they’re a common sight.

Another example of street-hawking optimism is the floggers of 12-foot high cinema posters. Who would suddenly decide they wanted a Saw IV poster, the size of an upended Land Cruiser, I have no idea but their ceilings must be an epic height.