I first went to Santa Fe, downtown Bogota’s zona de tolerancia, on accident. I’d been walking with my friend Gustavo looking for pera cheese for his mom, which she can’t get in Medellin. But it was Sunday night at nine o’clock, so the kinds of places that might have it were closed.
Since we were out, Gustavo suggested we go “look at some whores.” I told him I had no money, which was true. He invited me.
First he called some ‘friends from Chocó‘ (read ‘black guys’). It would be safe in a big group.
I’d never been, but Santa Fe’s reputation preceded my visit. I’d heard it’s crawling with thieves and crackheads, which is true. I’d actually ridden through on my bike, but never at night. I’d seen the transvestites facing Avenida Caracas a million times from the TransMilenio, but I’d never been in the heart of Santa Fe at night. Many Colombians and taxi drivers won’t go there, and here I was walking.
Gustavo and I arrived at Calle 19 and Septima (the same corner where my bike was stolen) to meet his friends. Just as we approached the corner two hardcore punks saw me and their eyes lit up. One was as tall as me but skinny with a spiked, all-black Mohawk, wearing the ripped denim and punk uniform. The other didn’t look punk at all, a smaller statured mestizo Colombian with a hard face. They were both trashed. Mohawk was carrying a club. When they saw me they immediately started toward me.
I got scared shitless thinking I was about to scrap with these two punks. I didn’t let them get close to me, putting my hands out and telling them to keep their distance. We made a big commotion and everybody on the busy corner was watching us.
Somehow the punks communicated they were coming in peace. We shook hands and had a laugh. I told them I love punk music, which is true, but the club Mohawk was carrying caused my concern. They loudly protested that I was carrying a bottle, which was true. I’d been drinking all day and had a big bottle of Aguila in my hand, WHICH I WAS DRINKING. I’m carrying a fucking beverage – not a weapon, I argued.
When I explained that, Mohawk showed me the end of his club. It had two nails sticking out, sharp points up of course. I noted if he’d swung on someone’s head hard enough then the nails would probably catch a nibble of brain matter. He touched the tip to show it was sharp, raised the club in the air and shouted, “¡Anarquía!” Then he and his friend moved on, walking north up Septima.
Just as they left, Gustavo’s friends showed up. They saw the ordeal from across 19 and asked what was happening. We had a laugh and headed west on 19. Just before we got to Decima it started pouring down rain. We took shelter at a bingo house.
Two of the Chocó guys decided to go home. So our group was now three: Gustavo, Fernando, and me. We headed up Decima, a nasty street. Most Colombians wouldn’t walk Decima at night. It’s ugly. There are almost no women and most others are crackheads, drunks, and winos. Going south on Decima would bring you to the old, infamous Cartucho.
La Piscina is the most famous brothel in Bogota, and it’s located in the Santa Fe zona de tolerancia. Most who go to La Piscina get dropped off right at the door, and when leaving immediately jump in a taxi to get out. It’s priced higher than the rest of Santa Fe, and located right on Caracas on a more visible block.
We went to other brothels in Santa Fe, around the corner on a small block with dead ends on each side. The whole neighborhood is a red light district, but this block is is the nucleus.
We first went to Fiebre. There were lots of whores, lots of guys drinking. Gustavo got us a round of Pokers. I noted the Christmas decorations. Funny. Every place I saw that night had Christmas decorations. They have a big center stage with a naked dancer or two. On this particular Sunday night the place was packed with chicks. There were at least two whores for every guy.
A tall half-black chick with braces told us she was 40,000 pesos ($20). She was lean with thick, clean, smooth legs. Twenty years old and gorgeous. Then my attention was dominated for two full songs by the dancer on stage. She was white, short, and somewhat thick with curly, dirty blond hair. All the girls’ bodies were hot, but this girl’s dance was pants-stirring. Every turn had a pelvic thrust or booty pop. You can tell by the way some girls dance that they love sex. It’s their favorite thing in the world. This kind of girl loves me. This whore was definitely one.
Then she sat down with her legs open in front of a table of guys. She’s butt naked of course. They offered her aguardiente. She took the bottle, raised it high above her head and poured it into her mouth. When she’d had enough she kept pouring the booze down her chin, breasts, stomach, and vagina. Then she grinded her vagina and butt into the aguardiente puddle on the stage, grinding the stage in a circular motion.
Peggy Lee “Fever”
That girl had butterfly tattoos on each ass cheek, which is horrible but she’s so hot anyway it doesn’t matter. I look for her every time I’m at that place.
The next dancer was sexy as hell too. A tall, slim brunette with a Playboy bunny tattoo on her hip, she put on big bunny ears and a sucker in her mouth. She nodded her head to the music as climbing the stage, really getting into the dance. It seemed like many of these whores were in the business because they just love sex. Why not get paid for it if you’re going to be fucking the whole world anyway?
Next to Fiebre is Paisas Club, which is gaining in notoriety. The name implies the women there are paisas, from Medellin or greater Antioquia. I don’t believe it. If a fine ass rola or costeña wanted to come in I don’t think management would turn her away.
You see, the whores go into all the brothels. Most don’t work at just one; they go door to door. Wherever they get a man, they pay the house for use of a room there. So the house makes money by selling booze and rooms. The whores are freelancers. Some may only work at one place in exchange for living there.
I saw Fiebre give the girls free food that first night. That’s probably why the house was so packed with chicks. A domicilio guy came by with a trash bag full of foiled up meals – probably tamales. The girls flocked to the bar, each one grabbed a foil plate and left to eat. Good strategy by management, and that’s why it’s one of the better places in Santa Fe.
Next to Paisas Club opposite Fiebre is Casona, a lower budget place. We went there and I immediately headed to the bathroom to piss. A Colombian guy’s blowing coke up his nose from a big glass vial. He offers me some, which he pours in my hand. After I snort it, he gives me another one. Colombians, due to a strong cocaine etiquette, always offer you two bumps to balance out each nostril. This doesn’t apply to me because I just pour it in my palm and snort it with both nostrils anyway. But I took a second since he was offering. Then he offered a third, and a fourth. I had to tell him no more. I had to tell him a few times I couldn’t do any more cocaine. I took off and he snorted more.
Wired as shit, I rejoined Gustavo and Fernando. Gustavo wanted to leave because this place was low-budget. Another time I went there a girl jumped on me as soon as I walked in. She pinned me against the wall and grinded her ass into my package. She rubbed against it for a while, getting it hard. She put her hands into my back pockets. She asked if I had coke. She asked if I wanted to fuck her. I hadn’t even ordered a beer yet. She was too aggressive. Before leaving she looked in my shirt pocket, which had nothing in it.
After that place Gustavo, Fernando, and I left Santa Fe. On the walk home, I noticed the percentage of pedestrians who were crackheads, drunks, thieves, and winos had climbed to about 100%. But we had no problems.
I never remember the name of the place next to Casona, but it’s right on the corner and I’ve been there a few times now. I’ll call it Unknown Brothel. They have two or three guys standing outside trying to get passersby to come in. They stand in your way and say things like, ‘Come this way, sir.’ Unknown Brothel may be the lowest budget place on this block, but who knows? They always have a lot of girls inside, and one is always dancing naked. It’s a good place to go on Fridays and Saturdays when the other places are packed with guys.
That’s how I found Unknown Brothel – I brought tourists to Santa Fe to bang whores but Fiebre and Paisas Club had men:women ratios of 4:1 and higher. Even if every guy in the place wanted to spend money for sex, the women wouldn’t be able to service them all. Fridays and Saturdays are the worst nights to go to Santa Fe. You want to go when it’s dead, when female attention outnumbers male attention.
One time in Unknown Brothel a tourist friend and I went in with a couple Colombians. The assholes who brought us in from outside tried to charge us 15,000 pesos extra ($7.50) for a pint of aguardiente. I wouldn’t have caught it, but the two Colombians pointed out the label on the back with the price printed on it. These two guys had tried to scratch it off but we could still read it. That was annoying.
This was a Friday and my tourist buddy’s last night in Bogota, so he wanted to bang a whore. Despite the horrible ratio, he found a hot one to go up with. It turned 3am (closing time for alcohol sales) before he got back. I was drinking with the two Colombians and a different whore. The bouncer guys ushered us upstairs to wait. We were in a hallway of whores’ lairs, seated at a table overlooking the street.
The street had emptied out. A bouncer peeked out the window for cops while we drank. It was as if we were hiding from security forces cleaning people off the street. By the time my tourist buddy returned, they kicked us out. The four of us hit the street, which was starting to get dangerous because the thieves’ primary hunting hours were upon us. But we were four and I didn’t feel scared.
My tourist buddy wanted coke, so I hollered at some fella walking down the street. He said he could get it for me, but he’d have to get my 5,000 pesos ($2.50) and come back. Yeah right, I need to hold something. He gave me his denim jacket. He was down to a t-shirt on a cold night. I told him he had to give me more. He gave me his knife, a huge kitchen knife that was well-used in street activities. I assume that because of how many times it had been sharpened. It was so thin it was on its last legs.
Unfortunately I gave my tourist buddy the knife to have a look at. He started flipping it around and playing with it right on the corner when a police truck passed. They immediately got out and took the knife. They patted us all down. We had nothing. They told us to get out of the neighborhood now, pointing at a taxi. We walked that way as if to get in, but we didn’t.
The cocaine arrived and I told the guy the cops took his knife. He wasn’t happy. I gave him an extra thousand or two. We got in our taxi and I opened up the gram. It looked light, but it didn’t matter because I spilled it all over the taxi floor anyway. I was drunk.
I never felt danger in the nucleus of the Santa Fe red light district. However, it is crawling with thieves. The surrounding streets are really bad. You don’t want to get lost. One gringo I know, someone living here for a while now, went to La Piscina and decided to try his luck somewhere else. He and his buddy walked around the corner looking for cheaper brothels. An older street-whore came up on them and started grabbing the buddy. She got in his back pocket and took his wallet, then disappeared into a taxi on the same block. They hadn’t gone two blocks from La Piscina when they decided to go back to Piscina, and this gringo hasn’t returned to Santa Fe since.
There are plenty of taxis, but they don’t use the meter when they take you out of there. There’s an implied recarga (surcharge) for service from the red light district, so a flat fare of 10,000 pesos for short trips are the standard.
Here’s another Photoshop masterpiece showing exactly where Santa Fe is. Santa Fe is outlined in pink, there’s a red light district of street transvestite whores outlined in blue, and the black line is our walking path to Santa Fe (x marks the spot where I met the punks). The “A” point is La Piscina.
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