|Avenida Jimenez in La Candelaria and the El Espectador building, where Gabriel Garcí Márquez once worked. The building, which now contains offices and a Crepes & Waffles restaurant, is curved one on the far right.|
|Café Pasaje on Plaza El Rosario. Popular tradition holds that |
Gabo used to frequent this historic cafe, altho he doesn't
mention it in his autobiography.
I have to admit that I'm no great fan of Márquez's fiction, probably due to my own obtuseness. I rarely grasp the point of his inventions - or, maybe, insomnia epidemics, visiting gypsies and other fantasies are simply supposed to be entertaining in themselves. On the other hand, I have enjoyed Márquez's journalism and other non-fiction, which is informative and entertaining.
Márquez is of course a lively storyteller and seems to have a great memory - almost incredibly so - which, combined with his knack for witnessing some of the landmark events in Colombian history, makes this book a great education. And many of those events took place in La Candelaria.
|The spot where Gaitan was assassinated in 1948 on Seventh Ave. just south of Jimenez. Márquez recounts that he arrived on the spot just minutes after the assassination and saw a mysterious man apparently directing events.|
|A plaque commemorating |
students massacred by
Rojas Pinilla's forces.
|A streetcar burns on Plaza Bolívar during the bogotazo riots.|
|Plaza del Periodista (Journalists' Plaza) beside the old El Espectador building. Márquez likely hung out here.|
|The view today from the window of the office of Guillermo Cano, El Espectador's director when Marquez worked for the paper. Cano was assassinated in 1986 by cocaine king Pablo Escobar.|
|I found this old photo of an El Molino candy shop |
on Jimenez and Carrera 8.
Might this have also been the location of the
El Molino cafe which Márquez frequented?
Almost all of Márquez's debating companions, however, were also men, as were most of his co-workers and friends. In 'Living to Tell...,' we learn about Marquez's mother and sisters' struggles to keep the family afloat despite his father's philandering and business failings. But almost all of the many other girls and women in Márquez's life were sexual partners, many of them prostitutes. Nothing wrong with a healthy young man's lively interest in sex, but did Marquez really meet women only in bed? For that matter, were all of his lovers, particularly the prostitutes, really the happy, carefree, warm-hearted women he portrays? Or have six intervening decades and a little magical realism in memory erased their troubles?
|Fidel Castro and Marquez chumming it up.|
Of course, Living to Tell the Tale ends with Márquez at 29 and moving to Paris, his politics still nebulous. Most likely the City of Light's leftist intellectuals influenced the young Márquez...but how could the Soviet Bloc's repression of freedoms not have disillusioned him on the false promises of communism?
Maybe he'll give us the the answer in the next installment. Let's hope that he lives to tell more tales.
By Mike Ceaser of Bogotá Bike Tours