Bogotá, a one thousand five hundred square kilometers ocean of concrete, streets clouded with heavy black somg, horns blasting loud from half century old buses, street vendors shouting everywhere. The beggars, the type you have never seen before, rise from the lowliest bottoms of misery to wander aimlessly. The countless mountains of garbage bags rest on the floor waiting for a late truck to pick them up while being dug up by the hungry and the stray dog. Drivers, passengers, and pedestrians, whoever of them prouder or more arrogant show no trace of respect for one another. The numerous broken roads and sidewalks tell never ending stories of corruption, negligence, and tragedy. Turn around and the beggar's sister enters the sparkling Chanel store, stilettos hammering glowing marble floors, while she calls her brother “indian” as if indian meant inferior of kind. A champagne bottle pops, a child looks through golden framed windows to a reality beyond reach... what shattered illusions.
Where is beauty to be found in this concrete jungle? It's hard to focus on true beauty, sometimes it seems as if beauty has abandoned us all and fled from the streets of Bogotá to Paris or to Stockholm... yet beauty is here too despise the horrors of a city that struggles to be better, everywhere. Not so much in the shape of a Gaudí's Sagrada Familia, an Arc de Triomphe, or a Roman amphitheater from time immemorial. Not so much either in the shape of a trend-setting young fashionista heading to work as on a catwalk. Not even in the shape of a descent bus driver that waits for the last passenger to reach his or her sit... no, no, no, that kind of beauty is rare in Bogotá. There is another type of beauty more abundant, more resilient, more inspiring, and more universal: the beauty of flowers. Flowers of such magnificence that they seem misplaced as they contrast against the gray cement walls, or the shattered brick. These flowers symbolize the path many of us, who live or lived in Bogotá, have decided to walk. A path to progress, to better selves, to beauty. These flowers from the streets of Bogotá are like the Colombian dream that springs to life from a seed of love, striving for a drop of light to feed its newborn leaves of hope.
As I started taking pictures of the many pretty flowers, I noticed how very little I had appreciated such masterpieces of nature, that I could have walked by some of the most beautiful creatures on Earth and not even know. I have taken already pictures of more than a hundred flowers that I have seen on people's gardens or growing by a side walk in Bogotá, and I also noticed that I knew the name of just about three or four out of so many. So I have decided to find out the name and info of each one of them, and as I learn about flowers I will introduce them to you, my dear reader, because I know you can appreciate the beauty of nature.
Today, I bring you a a couple of gorgeous flowers, multicolored, and extravagant. I am sure you have seen them before because they are pretty common. These two flowers belong to the same genus of flowers, Iris. There are more than a couple hundred species of Irises, covering pretty much every single nanometer of the visible light spectrum of colors; and probably beyond that too. Look at the white Iris, it's supposed to be a cross between two different species made in the 50s by a Californian. Check out the subtlety of colors, that almost invisible violet on the three style arms, which are actually the female sex organ of the flower; look at the petals adorned with dots of that perfect yellow. Now look the blue Iris, it looks like a Cumbia dancer with lift arms holding her long pollera, as she sways her hips with the beat of drums.
And I was thinking these two were some kind of orchids.