La revolution!

I tensed and picked the best escape route down the wet street behind me.

The student, intoxicated with the frenetic energy of the setting had decided to probe the policeman directly in front of me. The cop, standing in full riot gear with shield, mask, club, and enough tear gas grenades to start World War 3 never even flinched…..we both breathed a sigh of relief.

In front of me, 5000 students were shouting, raising fists and banners into the air, and marching to protest the fact that they cannot afford university.  Cops stood at the ready, and among a very small gathering of locals I stood with Alex, 2 lone gringos in a sea of protest and high energy.

How do I always walk into these things on accident?

I was happy that I did, the best mantra has always been to go where the action is. Today, an innocent stroll into the city centre of Bogota produced a total surprise and a small shot of adrenaline to start the day.  The protests were 80% peaceful, most of the students (many were drinking) were happy and enjoying the opportunity to speak their minds collectively.

The other 20% were less interested in the cause and more enthusiastic about sticking a middle finger in the face of a heavily armed authority.  One cop in particular paced back and forth behind the line of riot police like a lion eyeballing a herd of gazelles.  He kept his finger on the trigger of his grenade launcher and had enough ammo hung around his vest to kill us all.

The streets were wet and slick, thousands of people had gathered, and I knew if he fired the first grenade that suddenly I would find myself in the Colombian equivalent of the Running of the bulls!  I snapped as many pictures as I could (soon to come) while keeping one eye over my shoulder for a way to escape getting my gringo ass trampled.

Lucky for everyone all the shouting, fist waving, and jumping up and down never progressed beyond exactly that….and I walked rather than ran down the street in search of another empanada.

The protest was on the front page of the newspapers the following day and had some of the same pictures in the square that I had taken!  Even if by accident, it was a great bonus to be in the “mix” so early into my trip.   Any adventure is good adventure and I’ll take it.

So….vida es bueno!

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5 Responses to “La revolution!”

  1. HEY!! Awesome story! I’m glad the revolución never really started. I can picture you right now enjoying an empanada! I love them!

  2. Viva la empanada!

  3. wow. we encountered some labor union protests in Bolivia but steered clear as they got rowdier because the protesters were throwing flares and other fiery stuff.

    Take care, you!

  4. Oh my gosh I think I owuld panick so badly if I got caught up in anything like this. Im glad to see you can take it all so lightly. 🙂

  5. I love how you write about these incredible experiences, in a way it’s just like an every day occurence, it makes the posts very easy to read.

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