I didn’t actually just find it — I saw it when Stephen was here and have been intrigued ever since. It is called La Boheme, a much more romantic name than Cafe del Sol, I think. Maybe this will be my new office. It’s in La Macarena, in my opinion, one of the coolest neighborhoods in Bogota. It’s very small with tiny tables, a brick bar, stone floor, black and white photos of early 19th century France and Italy, old-time Parisian post-card art, a wooden ceiling, lantern lights and iron-rail windows. I like that sort of thing. It’s much nicer to write about incontinence due to an enlarged prostate and motels in Jackson, Tennessee when in a pleasant environment. It’s located on a lovely tree-lined street and happy hour features two glasses of red wine for COL$5,000 (US$2.50). Maybe I will be here everyday from 5-7pm, although that may result in a drinking problem. Right now, Edith Piaf is playing in the background and the waiter is having a very gossip-filled conversation with a costena he seems to know very well. In fact, everyone who comes in is greeted with a hug, kiss or handshake. Very nice, I think.
The only problem is that La Boheme is that it’s about 10 blocks from my house. But maybe that is a good thing now that I’ve discovered that frappaccinos exist in Colombia and that they usually include at least two scoops of ice cream. This new discovery isn’t good for my diet or wallet, but I’ve decided to sacrifice my public transportation budget in pursuit of artificially flavored, sugar, fat and calorie-filled zero-nutrient coffee drinks and now walk anywhere under 50 blocks.
Anyway, a bit about La Macarena: The vibe is kind of like East Village meets Eastern Europe meets Vancouver. You’d really have no idea what country or even continent you’re in when you’re standing in the middle of it. I think it’s one of the most exciting neighborhoods in Bogota; it’s very artfully designed with lots of soul, character and life. La Macarena has a bit of a new-age/bohemian/leftist feel to it, factors that lend themselves very nicely to writing, even if about trivial topics. It’s a really hilly, leafy neighborhood with lots of stairs, brick buildings and recently renovated old houses converted into bars and restaurants set against Bogota’s pine mountains. If I had my camera charger, I could do the neighborhood more justice.
There’s one street in particular — I think it’s La Carrera Quinta — full of small bars, experimental/funky restaurants and small apartment buildings. There’s a Serbian restaurant, a sushi place, a tapas place, a pizza place (La MonaPizza) a creperie and a restaurant called La Jugueteria which looks very intriguing. Perhaps if I didn’t squander all my disposable income on frappaccinos, I could visit a few of these places.
Up toward the mountains, there are these massively huge, beautiful Mediterranean-style houses and apartment buildings up narrow, rarely-visited streets and nearly hidden behind stone walls, forest and vegetation. I did some exploring in a gated community up around carrera 3, but was politely asked by the portero to leave, so I was only partially able to imagine myself in a quaint Italian or Greek hilltown. I wonder what kind of people live there?
Maybe I should start a company. I’ll call it Alternative Bogota and the logo will be Bogota: More than Unicentro, La Zona T, Gripasand Peligro. It will be aimed at tourists and locals alike. While thinking up that logo I looked up pensively and I think the waiter took it as an amorous, seductive look, because he smiled and winked. I think I am now officially a very welome client at La Boheme.