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Full Circle

Day 214: Bogotá

Bogotá, Colombia 
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Tim Ross on the streets.
Michael Palin - Full CircleTim Ross, an English journalist, with long greying sixties hairstyle and a preference for shades and jeans lives in a comfortable apartment on the twenty-sixth floor of a downtown tower block with a long-suffering wife and very fat rabbit. He has an insatiable appetite for the lowest street life in the most dangerous city of one of the most dangerous countries in the world.

'Oh, I've had the usual death threats,' he says, adding, with a hint of regret, 'not for a while though.'

Tim is clearly addicted, not to drugs, but to drug-users. His life revolves around the danger they live with, and from which he draws much of his own energy and passion. He offers to take us to the most dangerous part of Bogotá around the Calle Cartouche - Bullet Street.

He cannot take us all, as we must be in one car and on no account open a window or get out. So Nigel the cameraman, Fraser the soundman and myself find ourselves squeezed in the back of a twenty year-old, black and yellow Dodge cab with Tim and his driver Herman. I ask Tim why he thinks there are so many drug addicts in Colombia. The reason, he tells me, is partly because it is a major producer, and where there is production there is use, and partly because the institutions of the country are largely controlled by a few rich families so that political life is inert. There is no national will to tackle the problems of the desperately poor.
Bogotá, Colombia 
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Big steaks and big horses at the Margarita del Ocho.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 214
  • Country/sea: Colombia
  • Place: Bogotá
  • Book page no: 278

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