Walking downtown

Yesterday I needed to run a couple errands downtown. So I slipped the Nikon Coolpix S800c into my pocket and took it along for the stroll. After taking care of a couple of items I had a nice stroll along several blocks of the downtown area of Pereira, Colombia’s Coffee Capital and the main city of the “Coffee Axis” as well as the capital of the Colombian department of Risaralda. I’ve wanted a nifty “walk around camera” for a while, but am not comfortable strapping one of my big Canon DSLR’s around my neck and perambulating downtown. The little Coolpix, on the other hand, is very unobtrusive. I pushed the “On” button and set it to “Sports Mode”, poked my hand through the wrist strap and took off. Nobody took a second look at me due to the camera. With the shutter sound turned off one can snap images without disrupting anyone’s day. So, for the curious, here’s a look around the downtown area, or part of it.

First up is a look north along Calle 8 almost to the corner with Carrera 8. You can see the stores on the right and the street vendors clogging the sidewalk.

This next shot is just a few steps further north. There’s an older couple (older than yours truly at least) coming up to a store offering “RECARGAS”, you can plop down your pesos and get more minutes on your cell phone, for those who don’t have a monthly plan.

As one reaches the corner of Calle 18 and can start to look east along Carrera 8, one can reach an idea of how crowded this street is along the sidewalks where informal vendors have set up shop, all but blocking access to the storefront businesses along the way.

Crossing Carrera 8 one enters the “peatonal” portion of Calle 18. It’s a walking street clogged with vendors of all kinds of items, from cloth coffee filters to cords to charge your cell phone and only our Good Lord knows what else.

Along the sides of the walking street you find various brick and mortar store fronts, and thronging the walkway are people going about their business as individuals or family groups. The older I get the younger young mothers look. This picture brings memories of toting tots around town, albeit it was a different town.

Around town one finds more permanent vendor locations, such as this one covered in graffiti. At various times the city government has attempted to control the street vendors and these places are reminders of those times. But the folks who show up and spread their wares are still in evidence, crowding the walkways and making access to regular stores more difficult.

This next image is looking along Carrera 7 at the corner with Calle 17. The drugstore on the corner wears the evidence of “taggers” plying their spray around town. On the south west corner of the street we see a blind couple “busking” in front of the shoe store on the corner.

And here on Carrera 6 we see the “mega estorbo” articulated bus as it comes down this “bus only” section of the street.

And the final image (for today) depicts the Colombian love for “quinciaƱera” pomp and dress up. This is just one of the places in town specialized in renting (or fabricating to measure) dresses for young women celebrating their “coming of age” on their 15th birthday.

So there’s a quick look around part of our downtown area. I’m pleased with this little pocket camera that allows one to capture candid images discreetly. I hope you’ve enjoyed your brief tour of a portion of our part of the world.

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