I walk my dog in Lourdes park several times a day as this is the closest stretch of green to my home, but, I am more than aware that this area may well win the accolade of being Bogotá’s saddest park.
In every city there’s a dividing line between districts, rents and gentrification. Having lived here in Bogotá for eight years these invisible economic lines become more apparent. Lourdes could be said to represent the buffer zone between Chapinero Alto/ Chapinero and below the Carrera 10.
Here ubiquitous chicken eateries abound as you walk to the west down from the park, Rene Higuita looking men pass advertising in the form of tiny slips of paper out to passers-by. Here you’ll be offered the solution to everything with solutions ranging from shamanistic treatments, tarot readings and the address of the nearest brothels. Fascinating pawn shops which sell anything and everything rub shoulders with stores selling electrical goods.
In Lourdes I have been threatened by a skinhead, propositioned by a transvestite, pursued by survey takers and interviewed by the press. You get it all here. At a certain hour at night, local residents with dogs frequent the park in numbers keeping to one stretch of lawn far from the homosexual pick up benches. Apparently, there’s a code.
Young couples are here from the early morning, necking before school. A homeless lady keeps her belongings in a tree and a homeless man defecates like clockwork beneath an assigned tree. He then bags it – like the dog walkers – and deposits his deposit into a nearby bin. Which tree? I’m not going to let on.
This morning, in the rain, an elderly lady threw grain on to the sodden yet useless fountain section of the park. Alongside the pigeons gorging themselves was a flattened and headless member of their group. At weekends the police trucks park here and if you are early enough, you’ll be asked by people held overnight to lend them your phone for minutos.
Bogotá’s saddest park.
I know this park well. My friend was staying there with her aunt who lived one street over. The place is rather dirty compared to the rest of the parks. The neighborhood around the park is not quite the best. I would have though that it would have gotten better and nicer once the church finishes it's remodel. I guess we shall wait.
The church is really nice now, the area east is great, but just west it gets pretty gamey