A big, important station, Ricaurte is something like a metro station, with a tunnel and long platforms. I go through Ricaurte four times a day.
One time I had trouble exiting my bus. I had to push against the entering tide. I kneed a girl in the leg, I raised my elbow and used it as a plow, I battered my way through, accepting from the crowd the panic we all foolishly feel in such occasions. It was not rational, not planned or organized or, better: deftly done. One wants to be cool in the Transmilenio, full of anticipation and cunning.
In Ricaurte the soldiers stand in an open space where the tunnel opens up and they stop young persons to check and see if they’re AWOL from their military duty. Sometimes there are few, sometimes there is a crowd. One evening there was another kind of crowd, then I saw the white umbrellas used for lighting for photography and TV, I saw the yellow jackets of the employee’s of the Greater Mayoralty, I saw above the shorter crowd the white mane and rolling eye of Don Samuel Moreno, the photogenic mayor, having a press conference. More crime, deteriorating infrastructure and unkept promises notwithstanding, yea, even the fact that he is no longer popular with his own party from which, as the election season draweth night, increasing criticism comes his way, has not bowed the defiant heat of the Mayor of the capital of cosmetic medicine.
And then last night, while bumping through an unusually obnoxious crowd a hand stayed my progress and I ran into Katie from Canada. She was in my TEFL class. We talked about how things were, how she might return to Toronto in October, how she might volunteer teaching English as a third language to indians in the camps in the south and parted. Knowing a fraction of all the people there are among the eight million in Bogota, that meeting caused me wonder. It is something to be said for the city, where there is so much anonymity, that such fortuitous encounters leave one more glad than one would expect.