A Gringa in Bogotá: Living Colombia's Invisible War

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Overview

To many foreigners, Colombia is a nightmare of drugs and violence. Yet normal life goes on there, and, in Bogotá, 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 Bogotá 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 Bogotá 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 Bogotá skies so many years ago."

Shattering stereotypes with its lively reporting, A Gringa in Bogotá is must-reading for going beyond the headlines about the drug war and bloody conflict.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292722972
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,349,626
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

JUNE CAROLYN ERLICK lived in Bogotá 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 Bogotá.
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Table of Contents

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 Bolívar
Horses and Other Animals
El Chocó: Never to the Jungle
Artists: Beyond the Invisible Door
Dogs II
A City of Many Hues
Robberies
Random Acts of Kindness
Upstairs, Downstairs
Ciclovía
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 Álvaro
Jamundí
TransMilenio III
Truth and Reparations
Dreaming of Journalism II
CAFAM
Epilogue

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