Photo of the Week – Prohibido Sign in Zipaquirá

January 2016

Prohibido OrinarseMichael: It seems that at least once a week I see a man utilizing a tree, bush, pole or wall that has been recommended by a dog. The sign giving warning of  a fine for public urination is the first one seen in my many years living in the country. I found  this particular notification in the city of Zipaquirá, Colombia. Some of you may know the place as the location of the Salt Cathedral.

Every State in the USA has a law against public urination. In fact, in some, you also go on the sex offenders list. Many cities around the world also have laws against it with fines ranging from $1.58 in India to $360 in Brussels. But in Singapore you really want to make sure to avoid such actions. Fines are $1,000. Just forgetting to flush a public toilet carries a hefty penalty. But in Berlin, Germany one can feel free to mark his territory at will. There is no law against it there.

Oh, at the current exchange rate the fine in that part of Zipaquirá is less than $20 USD. But if one really considers what the sign says, then the activity is only prohibited in that area – all other areas are fair game.

The practice of watering almost everything in sight seems prevalent in Colombia. The activity happens so often that one person even wrote to the paper about the subject. In his article titled I love Colombia, but… Public urination he offers a solution. But I would not hold my breath that much will change in the future. It is just the way Colombia is.

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