Umbrella Economics in a very moody Bogotá

I used to love Sex and the City, back when Hollywood was a mere twinkle in the creator’s eye and those four famous characters were sharper, funnier and less one-dimensional than they are today.

I was always fascinated with the way New York City was a part of the plot – a character whose moods, whims and fancies rumbled along in the women’s lives like an ever-present mother-in-law.

But how daft, I thought. Cities don’t have moods.

And then I moved to Bogotá, possibly the most exasperatingly moody city this planet has ever seen.

I left the sunshine, beaches and palm trees of Rio de Janeiro in a reasonably jolly mood. It will be nice to be back in Bogotá, I reasoned, the place is so comfortingly familiar, it’s like an old slipper – just one I haven’t worn in a while.

I landed in the afternoon. It rained, then it thundered like a huge bowling ball rolling around the heavens. Then it rained a bit more, flashed a bit of lightning and, er, rained a little more.

But that’s what always happens in the afternoon. The only respite we city dwellers enjoy from the afternoon rain is at New Year and for a few days in August. That’s why we always get up so early.

And so I got up early, only to be confronted by a few stubborn clouds that were apparently leaking rainwater. Yes, it was raining and it continued bloody raining until the afternoon, stopping only to allow the afternoon rains to begin right on schedule.

That’s weird, I thought. It never rains in the morning.

Well, it has rained almost every morning since. Which wouldn’t be so bad if I hadn’t spent the last four months outside of the city.

That means I have absolutely no idea what happened to the last umbrella I owned and, worse, no-one in their right mind would buy an umbrella in Bogotá when it’s raining.

Normally, you get to walk past the morning umbrella sellers with a supercilious smirk on your face. “Would you like an umbrella miss?” they venture politely. “They only cost 8,000 pesos.”

“Oh, no thank you,” you laugh, slinging your jacket over the crook of your arm and enjoying the Andean sun on your face as you dance jauntily past the huge cracks in the pavement.

Of course, you will always pass the same seller on your way home.

“How much for an umbrella?” you scream through the torrent of water that is thrashing sideways at your jeans.

“15,000 pesos,” the vendor yells back. He’s not joking. No-one in their right mind would buy an umbrella in Bogotá when it’s raining.

And so I don’t own one. I’m convinced this city has a personality of its own and, right now, it’s stroppy because I danced off to Cartagena, Buenos Aires, Rio and the like without so much as a backward glance. So it’s going to rain all day and I refuse to buy an umbrella until it stops.

I wonder which one of us will crack first.

The perfect day... to buy an umbrella in Bogotá


  1. natalie

    It’s even better when it’s hailing!

    But seriously. I did the exact same thing and refused to buy an umbrella for a solid month out of spite. Then I finally caved when I had to take my camera somewhere and didn’t feel like sacrificing it on the altar of my own stubbornness. So, Bogotá: 1, this gringa: 0. Hope you have better luck than I did, or at least convince it to stop raining for maybe 12 hours.

  2. Prophet

    you loved “sex and the city” gosshhh that was a very libertarian tv series. I remember there was a women called Carrie that always wanted to buy new shoes and had an affiar with mr big, and a women called samantha that had a strange obsession for penises of all kinds of size and color. There was also Charlotte who was the “good girl” who kept virgin until marriage and wanted the armored prince to taking her to the magic castle, there was another woman who’s name i dont remember. Dear Vicky, Which one of those characters do u fell identified with?

      1. Prophet

        hahaha never saw 2 and a half men. But i think based on your blog entries , you lean towards more like a mix between Carrie and the Charlotte-type girl XD hahahah

  3. Andrea H

    I am from Bogota…and I live in Santiago de Chile since last year…And…I really enjoy your story. In Santiago it never rains and I almost…and when it does it’s not as strong as Bogota…So sometimes I miss the Bogota’s rain. 🙂

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