“”There’s the Hammock Hut. That’s on Third. There’s Hammocks ‘R’ Us. That’s on Third, too. You got Put Your Butt There. That’s on Third. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. Matter of fact they’re all in the same complex. It’s the Hammock Complex, down on Third.”
“Oh, the Hammock District?””
I always thought that the Hammock District was nothing but a distant dream, but then I moved to Bogota. Sure, there’s not really a Hank Scorpio, but my experience of the awe-inspiring concentration of particular kinds of salable goods in particular areas of the city instil in me a great hope that there’s got to be a Hammock District out there. I mean, there are plenty of them around.
Let me explain by way of example. There’s a Transmilenio stop called Flores. It’s not just a whimsical, helplessly romantic name for an urban area; it’s more of a say-what-you-see kind of thing. I think what happened is this: one day in Bogota’s distant past, a lady grew flowers at this particular spot. Her name was probably Maria. Her plants grew with such profusion and beauty that all the residents of the area begged her to give them some of their enchanting blossoms. As she was not only green-thumbed, but entrepreneurial as well, Maria realised that instead of giving the flowers away, she could sell them for a profit. After a year of brisk sales and much prosperity for Maria’s new business, another guy (I think it was Alejandro) realised that there must be something in this flower selling caper, and set up shop right next door. A theme quickly developed, and, before you could say “I’m from Canada, so they thought I was slow, A,” entire blocks around Maria’s enterprise were devoted to the sale of flowers and flower-related goods. Hence, the Flower District was born.
Of course, the Flower District is not an anomaly. Throughout the city, you will find great chunks of real estate taken over by shops all selling the same kind of thing. Are you after a bike? Well, head down Caracas to the Bicycle District. Glasses? Hmmm, I guess you could try one of the shops in the Glasses District on Calle 19. And, as it’s approaching Christmas, even if you don’t want to buy any lights, a stroll through the Lights District is quite awe-inspiring. Electronics? Jackets? Hardware? Pets? I think you get the idea.
One of the most spectacular, if a little daunting, Districts, of Bogota, is the Catholic Iconography District, as seen across the road from where I’m sitting in the Candelaria Juan Valdez. Shop after shop of Jesuses, Marys, saints, and Nativity scenes. Definitely worth the pilgrammage.
And after that, all that remains is to find the Hammock District. I know it’s out there somewhere.