Monday, November 5, 2012

Safe and Secure

Written by Karen.

Presidential Palace
We've gotten used to the altitude and thin air/pollution and have been hitting the streets pretty hard.  We have logged quite a few miles so far - but walking (and getting lost!) -  is the best way to really get a sense of what's around you when you are in a new place. 

Walking around Bogota as much as we have over the past five days, we've noticed that there is definitely a police presence here.  At first, I was a little uncomfortable with just how many security officers we saw. There was either a single security individual or a group of security guards, police cadets, policemen, military police or the military at most of the street corners, and definitely in front of banks, schools, larger businesses, and government buildings.  It's a little intimidating to be around so much fire power!

But there was a recent bombing attack just a few days ago in Bogota, so the safety and security concerns are very real in this country. (News Report)

After a few days to think about the relationship between security and safety, maybe the additional security that is being offered to the people of Bogota makes them feel a bit safer and more willing to go about their lives as usual.  Well, that's my theory anyway.  

I think another component that has made me start to appreciate/accept the security presence is the approachability of the officers.  We have asked for directions multiple times from a wide range of security officers and each time, the officer and/or officers were helpful and took the time to help us get to where we were trying to go.  I began to see them - not as a sign of danger - but as helpful neighborhood beat cops.  Someone who is just doing their job and looking out for those who walk past.  

The issue of security and safety have to be acknowledged because the threats can't be avoided.  There are simply too many security officers around to simply turn your head and pretend not to see what is in front of you.  
It's a funny juxtaposition, really. There are security and safety issues, but we have never felt unsafe, nervous or anxious since we've arrived. There are security officers everywhere you look, but the people that we have encountered have been extremely friendly, helpful and gracious and seem to be just getting on with their lives.  

I think everyone is trying to find their right balance between being safe and living their lives.  

Flea Markets on Sunday
Fresh Coconut Vendor
Street Mime Making Money and Getting Laughs
Coffee Shop in La Macarena
Luis - the 5th Beatle!
La Candelaria
Rolling Stones
Horse and cart picking up odds and ends 
A local restaurant - open 4 hours a day
News Report

1 comment:

SurlyTraveller said...

It's fun to see the pictures and to read your thoughts as well. yes, the strong military presence is startling and makes one feel uncomfortable- I know that i did as well! But, being aware of the security concerns does shift one's perspective on them, and it's nice they can help with directions too