A Gringa in Bogotá: Living Colombias Invisible War

Paperback | March 1, 2010

byJune Carolyn Erlick

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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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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 u...

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 Rocke...
Format:PaperbackDimensions:174 pages, 8.5 × 5.6 × 0.5 inPublished:March 1, 2010Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292722974

ISBN - 13:9780292722972

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Table of Contents

Foreword: A City on Display, by Herbert Tico BraunPrefaceAcknowledgmentsLa Primera RondaMy Gringa AccentLife and RulesLooking for MariaView from My WindowDreaming of JournalismWar and PeaceLife on Movie RowRedprodepaz: Knitting PeaceDogsTransMilenioThree Tall BuildingsDisplacedTimePlaza de BolívarHorses and Other AnimalsEl Chocó: Never to the JungleArtists: Beyond the Invisible DoorDogs IIA City of Many HuesRobberiesRandom Acts of KindnessUpstairs, DownstairsCiclovíaBombs and Other Loud NoisesTransMilenio IITheatreRed, Yellow, and BlueDisappearedGood Friday: The PassionBooksGaboSanta Marta: Listening to StudentsThe StrikeRemolinosAbortion and Citizens' RightsCatcalls and Unwelcome WhistlesElecting ÁlvaroJamundíTransMilenio IIITruth and ReparationsDreaming of Journalism IICAFAMEpilogue