I recently returned from spending two months doing academic research in Colombia. (If you’re interested in what that research was all about, check out my guest post at my friend Dave Algoso’s development blog.) Most of my time was spent in Bogotá, the capital city, conducting interviews and doing book research of primary sources not available in English, in the United States, or online. Bogotá is a pretty nice city in which I generally felt safe, with one exception: whenever I was carrying my camera. So I took very few photos over the past two months. Here are some of the shots I did manage to take. Above is the view of Bogotá from Monserrate, part of the mountain range that forms the eastern limit of the city. (Here’s a panoramic view.)
Above: first, a vendor hard at work cooking food at Rock al Parque, South America’s largest outdoor music festival that takes place every year in Bogotá’s Parque Simón Bolivar. Second, a typical street vendor in downtown Bogotá, selling all sorts of random things including cell phone service. Third, a pair of street performers dancing downtown on the date of a major tango competition.
I did make it out of Bogotá for one five or six-day jaunt into the jungle of Urabá, the region of Colombia that borders Panama. This is not exactly a touristy area, as it’s hot and wet and lacks much of any transportation infrastructure (the entire Pacific coast province of Chocó is almost entirely devoid of major roads; instead, residents use rivers for transportation). I was there on a human rights delegation visiting “humanitarian zones” - civilian communities resisting forced displacement at the hands of illegal armed actors and economic developers - and took a bunch of photos in the process. Unfortunately, for reasons of safety and consent I can’t post any photos that depict community members. So here are a few totally random shots I like:
First: a house for guests and accompaniers in the humanitarian zone of Camelias. Second, the “trail” we hiked between two of the zones we visited, after a night of hard rain. Third, remnants of an African palm plantation, which used to proliferate in this area as an export industry, but in recent years have been reclaimed by residents after massive negative PR for palm oil companies. Fourth, our means of transportation on one of the few available roads breaks down, forcing us to walk past a huge military encampment to the nearest town. And lastly, predawn in the town of Apartadó, which has the nearest airport.
A few more shots at this set on Flickr.