The City of Absence

A typical 6-lane (or a 2-lane?) highway

Some things are deemed to be fundamental to a city so that it would run smoothly. As city dwellers, we take things for granted. What you think should exist don’t always exist. You only realize the quiet, minute existence of such elements of the cityscape when they are missing in a city that is as big as Bogotá (1.5k square kilometers!)..

The empty roads

Highways and roads in Bogotá don’t always have lane markings. So having a bunch of cars in a traffic jam looking like oranges on the trays of supermarket shelves, instead of the usual order of lines in a ‘normal’ city, is a common scene.

On the corners of roads you would expect signs that indicate the permitted parking times, right? No, Bogotá has none of these. Cars are parked on the streets whenever they wish, wherever they wish. Big vehicles especially love to unload or upload passengers and goods on a Saturday during the peak traffic time (at about 12noon), effectively taking up 1 lane by during so.. Often that means reducing the available road space by 50%, causing yet another traffic jam..
‘The New Order’

Most crossings, except the very big 3-lane ones, don’t have lights, so driving here really relies heavily on your own sane judgement.

On top of all the missing fundamentals of the city, drivers here are also missing the ability to use indicators. They cut into any lanes they want, even into the lanes that are not supposed to be crossed, so you really have to be prepared for any surprises when driving. And even when the indicator is used, I once saw a buseta (the ravaging minibus in this city) indicate a left turn, and actually cut into the right lane, and then kept the left indicator on for another 10 minutes..


  1. muajajaja…i’d LOVE to live in such a city…of course most preferable to drive a horse…avoid any possible accidents of having eye-baths way 2 often…

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