To many foreigners, Colombia is a nightmare of drugs and violence. Yet normal life goes on there, and, in Bogota, it's even possible to forget that war still ravages the countryside. This paradox of perceptions-outsiders' fears versus insiders' realities-drew June Carolyn Erlick back to Bogota for a year's stay in 2005. She wanted to understand how the city she first came to love in 1975 has made such strides toward building a peaceful civil society in the midst of ongoing violence. The complex reality she found comes to life in this compelling memoir. Erlick creates her portrait of Bogota through a series of vivid vignettes that cover many aspects of city life. As an experienced journalist, she lets the things she observes lead her to larger conclusions. The courtesy of people on buses, the absence of packs of stray dogs and street trash, and the willingness of strangers to help her cross an overpass when vertigo overwhelms her all become signs of convivencia-the desire of Bogotanos to live together in harmony despite decades of war.
But as Erlick settles further into city life, she finds that "war in the city is invisible, but constantly present in subtle ways, almost like the constant mist that used to drip down from the Bogota skies so many years ago." Shattering stereotypes with its lively reporting, A Gringa in Bogota is must-reading for going beyond the headlines about the drug war and bloody conflict.
JUNE CAROLYN ERLICK lived in Bogota from 1975 to 1984 and from 2005 to 2006 and has visited the city many times in between. A veteran journalist and foreign correspondent who now teaches feature writing at Harvard Extension and Summer Schools, she is the Editor-in-Chief of ReVista, the Harvard Review of Latin America at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University. Her previous books include Disappeared: A Journalist Silenced, the Irma Flaquer Story and the original Spanish version of this book, Una gringa en Bogota.
Foreword: A City on Display, by Herbert Tico Braun Preface Acknowledgments La Primera Ronda My Gringa Accent Life and Rules Looking for Maria View from My Window Dreaming of Journalism War and Peace Life on Movie Row Redprodepaz: Knitting Peace Dogs TransMilenio Three Tall Buildings Displaced Time Plaza de Bolivar Horses and Other Animals El Choco: Never to the Jungle Artists: Beyond the Invisible Door Dogs II A City of Many Hues Robberies Random Acts of Kindness Upstairs, Downstairs Ciclovia Bombs and Other Loud Noises TransMilenio II Theatre Red, Yellow, and Blue Disappeared Good Friday: The Passion Books Gabo Santa Marta: Listening to Students The Strike Remolinos Abortion and Citizens' Rights Catcalls and Unwelcome Whistles Electing Alvaro Jamundi TransMilenio III Truth and Reparations Dreaming of Journalism II CAFAM Epilogue
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