Chapinero, empanadas, female health (... no books)

Bogota Travel Blog

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Today we made what is quite possibly our third attempt to go english book shopping.  (And let me warn you, this is almost a futile effort here)

We started with a trip to Chapinero for those elusive winter jackets (also possibly the third attempt to get there, I think we´re packing too much into each day).  There I was introduced to the wonder of fresh empanadas.  My new favourite food, these are crispy, fried crumbed coatings over various fillings: the store we went to did pollo, carne, mexicana, hawaina and the inevitable queso (cheeeeese).  Let me just say Simon, think deep fried camembert and you´re pretty close (for the cheese one anyway).  Yes, we had just had breakfast.  They were DIVINE.

Anyway, we trawled our way up the streets perusing jacket shops, clothing shops, the usual, with the intention of checking into some book shops to find books in english.  After a couple of hours, having not made it to the book shops at all, we interrupted our remaining tasks for the afternoon (Restrepo - another wholesale store area for shoe shopping - and searchikng for english books) so we could utilise the opportunity to visit a doctor for general checkups.  This involved some more waiting in a crowded Profamilia clinic and some horror stories.

¨Warning: Delicate subject follows

Abortions are apparently still illegal here and there is a huge black market of illegal abortions being provided underground and the expected subsequent huge mortality rate in young girls due to unregulated practices, bad treatments, infections, etc.  Girls who think they are pregnant can go to a clinic to find out if they are for sure, but may end up having unnecessary surgery as (depending on how dodgy the clinic is) the doctors running the clinic could tell them they´re pregnant when they´re not just so they pay the money to have an abortion - which they don´t need!

In spite of such stories as this, I am assured that medicine here is advanced compared to a little place like New Zealand, and Janneth actualy knows doctors who have come to New Zealand and gone home again thinking we are incredibly backward and behind the times.  For example, a large portion of New Zealand women are familiar with the depo injection which you receive at regular intervals as a method of contraception.  It is a common option offered by doctors.  Here the depo injection is barely offered at all as it is identified as a terrible culprit of skeletal ageing - decalcifying your bones and resulting in early osteoperosis in still-young women.  I haven´t looked into this at all and am only going on what I´ve been told.  The depo injections in the two countries may be totally different but still a very scary thought.

p.s. we never made it to Restrepo or the books.  Sigh.

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photo by: caliphil007