Bogota and Juan Valdez

 This is from my first travel blog about my first impressions of Bogota…from June 2010.

I knew I was in trouble when I was in the Miami terminal waiting for the plane to leave and everyone was wearing coats. Heavy coats, winter coats, leather coats. And I have no coat. Not even a jacket..well, I have a rain jacket, and a vest, but do they even count? And then on the plane, the heater was on, and it felt so good. Great even. I knew I was in trouble when I got off the plane in Bogota and could see my breath in the air, and when I arrived at my hostel and checked into my room, I found that my bed had two heavy blankets on it, but no heater. And I was convinced I was in trouble when I’m wearing my warmest clothes, walking around the city, up hills and down hills, and I’m still cold. The only place I’m warm is in the electric shower. (which is just  as dangerous as it sounds.)

It’s a toss-up: You may get clean; you may die

Some quick notes about Bogota:

  • have already been offered marijuana and other substances –twice, and only been awake 2 hours
  • should have brought a coat–a heavy one; I am glad I added the sweater last minute
  • I hate big cities…in fairness, I didn’t like London, Mexico City, or New York City either.  I did like Rome though.
  • I will never understand how people (women) wear shoes with impossibly pointed toes and high heels on the cobble stone street and don’t fall down because if that were me, I would have fallen multiple times and probably have two broken ankles by now.
  • I went out three separate times today. Each time I got lost, in different direction, and probably walked at least 2 miles each time uphill both ways. No wonder I haven’t seen a fat person yet.
  • There is an awful lot of police people here in Bogota. Which is good. Even out walking late at night, by myself, I don’t feel like someone is going to kidnap me any minute because there are police everywhere.
  • I don’t think it’s necessary to just pee (or take a dump) in the street although apparently some men do. I’ve seen both in one day.
  • I can still read and write in Spanish pretty well, but listening and speaking it is  another story. I feel like a semi-literate child trying to make it through the day.  I know I won’t starve, and as long as I have my map, I can find my way back to the hostel, but if I get kidnapped by narco-terrorists or something, I’m not sure I could plead eloquently in Spanish for them to save my life.  Hopefully, that will soon change. –I wonder what ciruela is…for all I know it could be prunes, but they looked like black sun dried tomatoes and had a semi- sweet flavor, and on the pizza, they were pretty good.
La Candeleria–Bogota, Colombia

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