flying arepas

flying arepas
flying arepas

A little grill on an innocent corner, arepitas and red wine. A break along the way, energy to continue the day, chat for a while, sporadic points. White, round, delicious arepitas, nothing to fear.

Just like a broken window is a broken window, not a catastrophe. As the saying goes, ‘from still waters, deliver me, Lord.

The innocent grills with their arepitas have become a dark, threatening spider web. Like those little leaves that little by little become weeds and begin to invade walls and foundations.

I’m going to the point. We are on the verge of a very important international event, COP16 (Conference of the Parties, for its acronym in English). And if the Mayor’s Office doesn’t get its act together, the flying arepas will take over the city.

The MÍO stations are favorite spots. A swarm of motorcycles paralyzes the public space and the arepera grill gathers more and more people.

Arepa, coffee, corn, perhaps the exchange of unholy substances at retail, fights between motorcyclists over customers who get off at the stations and total chaos under the undaunted gaze of citizens and authorities.

The daily riot on the corner of 100th and 16th that leads to Jardín Plaza is already aberrant, a swarm of motorcycles, pedestrians, young people, old people, women crowded together waiting for their arepa, his coffee or whatever, while the traffic whistles, he goes crazy because the corner is a Gordian knot.

Exactly, the same thing happens on Seventy and Fifth and on 101 and 16. I refer to these specific places because I pass by them every day, but Cali is invaded by ‘flying arepas’.

The same, I have no idea why no mayor has had the authority or the courage to remove the corn stands on the Beltway with Avenida Belalcázar. Corns full of poison from vehicular pollution, causing monumental traffic jams during rush hours.

I understand that some romantic mayor, but without common sense, wanted (or managed) to declare that sale as the heritage of the town, no longer so town. Although just as anarchic.

Not to mention the disorder, the daily chaos that prevails in the Portada al Mar. If María Mulata de Grau could, how many Dantesque and shocking stories she would tell us.

These Gordian knots, I repeat the Gordian. They are in key points of the city. Not hidden in alleys, the Mayor’s Office and officials are responsible for cleaning the city, putting an end to those unhygienic, illegal, disturbing sources and who knows what else.

Let’s see if they bring order to the disorder, fix the roads that look like craters, speed up traffic. It is not too much to ask to be able to be decent hosts in an international commitment. The opposite would be playing the bear and not being up to par.

For now, the flying arepas and what they entail disappear. They will accuse me of not supporting informal employment, but this disorder and anarchy cannot be pandered to.

Postscript. Suggestions: get the dirty butts of buildings painted, impart notions of civic culture to street vendors, taxi drivers, motorcyclists. Each of us are hosts of this event.

It is our city, which is at stake. Our image. It’s everyone’s responsability. Not just from the municipal government. It’s now or never. To contribute our grain of sand, of civility, of cleanliness. Only together we can succeed. Let’s not score own goals. Let’s score the GOAL.

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