Downtown

A good time downtown today, and one can’t always say that.

Lots of chaps standing around, staring around, talking idly and waiting for their bit of the emerald trade to come, approaching and at the monument to our founder, Jimenez de Quesada. A few shot suspicious glances and handled small paper packets, squinted at something small held up to the sun before their eyes and generally made of it all most shady business.

No book sales at the library (almost picked up a volume of Housman in English last time, but they wanted too much for the quality of the edition), so on to the big bookstore nearest, not the big bookstore farthest. There to my surprise, a Spanish translation of Das Heilige by Rudolf Otto–and the translation so good I might re-read the whole thing (I bought it for the library at church–another project).

Espresso Cortado con leche condensada (great idea; I’m a big fan) at the Starbucks equivalent where many an otherwise dignified gentleman lounged in the low, slouchy chairs. A walk up 7th from its birth at the center of Colombia along that pigeony, cop-benighted, vendor and cheater and beggar and scum cluttered sidewalk.

So, feeling buoyed, on to the part where the used bookstores lurk. Strange trade, all trade in this city no matter what. Into the big two-story center where there are numerous small stands, but no dice there. Passed the one called Merlin (like something in Dinkytown, only shabbier; need to return and invest some life there) to the disorganized great room where I saw lots of things but walked out with at last El Martin Fierro in a jolly decent edition. I’ve read Borges on it and have meant to do it, but haven’t been able to get ahold of the actual poem till today.

And then back out again, away in a great bus and pressed by Latins with no sense of space. Still managed to read.

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