90% of Fieldwork is Getting There

Jake here.

We’ve had a couple people tell us that upon arrival in a new country, you should allow yourself some time to do pretty much nothing. One friend said that the whole first week is for nothing but sitting in your apartment and smoking cigarettes. We don’t smoke, so today we decided to venture outside our current comfort zone (the square mile surrounding our apartment), all the way downtown. Our goal: The National Archives…


Casey reading about the National Archives, in the hope that we would eventually find them.

You may be thinking that taking the Transmilenio bus across town should be nothing to a pair of previous NYC residents like us. But these little victories are monumental when first in another country. Fieldwork, in my opinion, is really 90% about getting where you need to be. (FYI – at least another 5% is getting there hydrated enough that you don’t faint, and another 4% is not being so nervous that you vomit on the person you’re interviewing.)

So, by the time we made it downtown, and wandered through the Plaza Bolivar (where the recent protests have been taking place), and then actually found the Archives, we were pretty pumped. So what if it turns out they had no information of any use to our work.


The “Paro” is the work stoppage/strike that has been taking place throughout Colombia, and reached Bogotá a couple days before we did. Lots of Colombians are pissed about the recently implemented free trade agreement with the United States. Good time to be a gringo here.


More graffiti from the strike. Manuel Santos is Colombia’s president and this calls for him to kindly “GET OUT.”

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