Early March evening,
Alone near the Transmilenio bridge –
Just me and the hailstorm!
Since I arrived in Bogota two weeks ago, I have been observing, listening and ‘feeling’ the atmosphere of my place. What an experience to get hold of what is yours.
Yesterday I had one unexpected experience.
I had been walking a lot, I was tired and I wanted to go to my brother Javier and Consuelo’s place to read e-mails, blogs, answer some of them, and relax myself. Their flat is in the Chico-Navarra area, with comfortable buildings and infrastructure.
Those were my plans when I began to walk over the pedestrian crossing bridge over Autopista (the most important avenue to the North of Bogota), and 106th street. Raindrops started to hit the ground, and they were growing bigger and bigger. When I reached its end, there were no drops, what we had was solid and cold hail.
As I had no way to continue walking under the hailstorm, I decided to wait for the hail to stop under the entrance to Ibiza, an elegant and rich building. While I stood there, another two guys joined me. We started to watch the richest and the poorest people walking and running in front of our eyes.
Very rich people were trying to move in their huge campers, many of them with blackened windows. Though we couldn’t see who were the drivers and passengers, the reality was that they couldn’t move because of the flood and the hail.
Then many less powerful guys were paying for a ride in a simple rickshaw (those I had seen only in India or Bangladesh). They were in Bogota and they found the way through the bigger cars. They were covered in bright green plastic, with windows and bright lights, and with a huge zipper to keep passengers far from the rain: here you got F1-3000, Hulk, Chicago Bulls, and so on… What was astonishing was that in a tiny space they were transporting up to 4 passengers!
Finally we watched most of the people who didn’t have access to any car, running, with or without umbrellas, completely wet. They had just discovered that umbrellas were useless against hail. People running to get the Transmilenio (fast public transport) to go home, had to resist the icy pieces and the cold water in their feet.
After 30 minutes the rain stopped and I left our improvised shelter. Instead of rain what we got to know was that the gutters and the sewage system did not have the capacity to deal with the amount of rain and hail.
At the end, I walked in the water and after 10 minutes I was back home!