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“You’re a posh boy now, a gomelo.” So go the jibes from my old barrio buddies now that I find myself living in a “swankier” part of Bogotá (‘gomelo’, for the uninitiated, is the Colombian word for what you might call preppy types).
Yes, it’s true, my move a few kilometres south from my beloved San Antonio/Santandercito sees me placed in plushier surrounds.
The thing is, however, when my hand was forced to move, the chance to live within a more reasonable walking distance — 4.5 km versus 10 km — of the office appealed (I’m still in that full-time job, somehow). Save time and, potentially, money.
“Perhaps I’ll embrace the gomelo guise.”
For, as surprising as this may seem, the rent in my new Cedritos Lisboa location is comparable to what I was paying out on the city limits. What’s more, it comes with much more in terms of furnishings and appliances.
Having a well-kitted-out place is a bonus of sorts considering I still, after almost eight years based in Bogotá, have a backpacker mentality when it comes to “settling down” and making a house a home.
The state of the kitchen in the new abode could yet become a contentious issue, as it often tends to be when sharing. I have to revise my theory that all elderly women always keep their homes in pristine condition. The situation is more than manageable for now, though.
The biggest drawback is that it’s pretty much right in the middle of “Poshville”. That is to say, you have to walk a bit of a distance — not a big deal for me, in fairness — to get back to the barrios populares for the “proper” panaderías, tiendas and all that kind of good stuff.
Some of Bogotá’s other upper-class areas, in contrast, find themselves stuck next to the riff-raff. Closer to the centre, La Macarena bordering La Perseveranica, my spiritual home in a way, is one example of this.
On top of being “stranded in salubrity” so to put it, these richer neighbourhoods tend to be a little sterile. There’s no real life to them. They’re bland at best; the barrios, on the other hand, have a buzz about them.
Nonetheless, for as long as I have this full-time office job, staying in such a stale sector with its proximity to work is fine. During the week, with the current eat, sleep, work, repeat routine, I don’t really have the time like before to enjoy the barrios in any case. It’s purely a weekend delight these days. That’s OK. Too much of a good thing and all that.
Or who knows, maybe I’ll adapt to my new environment and take on this gomelo guise. “What say you, güevón?” “Osea, Lord help us!”
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