This ain’t no common pothole. What you see is a far too typical phenomena in Colombia.
In Cartagena as well as in Bogotá I found plenty of potentially very dangerous holes in the streets and sidewalks. Sometimes small and square, sometimes big and round – like the one on this pic from the shopping outlet area in an industrial zone of Bogotá. However, this one is quite unique since it’s actually been marked.
Maybe you guessed… yes, there are people more or less systematically stealing the lids from the sewage and cable systems! According to a Cartagena newspaper the market pays some 5.000 pesos, that’s less than 2 euro, for a nice metal lid. And then the city has to replace them for some 300-500.000 pesos, i.e. up to 190 euro.
Of course this bad habit of some thieves can have mortal consequenses. Going to the airport in Bogota before leaving, I noticed a missing lid in the far right lane of the six-lane-highway. Even though most locals seem to be well aware, a serious accident is bound to happen, sooner or later.
In Cartagena, the newspaper one morning topped with a photo showing a yellow cab stuck in one of those holes… But a solution is said to be underways – lids of fiberglass are cheaper and not as attractive for thieves. Till that’s implemented – drive with care!