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Full Circle

Day 214: Bogotá

Michael Palin - Full CircleOnly six blocks from the Presidential Palace we are into streets which are as grim as any I've seen on this or any other journey. Figures lie about in the litter and rubbish, others stand, swaying and unfocused, others, on the look out for anything to pay for their next hit, eye us malevolently.

As we turn into the Calle Cartouche, shouts follow the car and later something cracks into the side of us.

'They're throwing rocks,' says Tim, turning his head quickly from side to side. 'They assume we're death squads or police or something.'

Nigel wants to go round again but Tim is reluctant.

'Next time it could be more than stones, it could be iron bars and machetes.'

In a street of once quite handsome houses, now burned out, trashed and lined with rubbish, the police have set up a roadblock and are stopping people. Tim has a word with them and returns to tell us that we can get out, but must stay close to the car. As Nigel films I notice a small group of men immediately react to the sight of a camera. Their looks of curiosity harden into hostility and I'm aware of words spoken and movement made in our direction. These are not the dazed druggies, these are harder, meaner people altogether. For the first time since the demonstration in Seoul, I feel that violence is not far away.
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  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 214
  • Country/sea: Colombia
  • Place: Bogotá
  • Book page no: 278

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