On our way down a side street to a late dinner in Bogota one evening, we passed this gentleman face-down in a pile of garbage. It was a cold night (Bogota’s elevation is 8,661 feet above sea level), but I figured that was his problem and not mine.
Just a short while before in Plaza Bolivar, a junkie had passionately begged me for some money or heroin – drawing up his sleeves to show me the collapsed veins and infected sores on his arms and making the motion of injecting a syringe into his arm – to help him cope with his cravings and to stave off withdrawal symptoms.
I placed the gentleman below in the same category, although I assumed he had found his much sought after hit of heroin since he was apparently passed out:
On the way back to our hotel an hour or so later, I noticed the gentleman had not moved at all which made me curious. So, moving closer for a more thorough examination, I leaned over and checked his vitals – No pulse. Not breathing. Cold and dead.
Eleonora: Is he OK?
Me: Ummm, he’s dead.
After a brief discussion we concluded that it wasn’t something we wanted to get involved in and that summoning the police or medical services wouldn’t do him much good anyway. Also, with the number of police and military personnel patrolling the city, I knew it wouldn’t be long before his body would be discovered. So, we went back to our hotel and went to bed.
The next evening when we walked by, the whole scene had been cleaned up.