I arrived in Bogota yesterday afternoon around 2pm. I didn’t shift time zones so that was very nice and the flight was rather quick. 3.5 hours from Miami. Customs and money exchange were smooth and since I didn’t check any baggage I was out of the airport and on my way to the hotel very fast.
I want to start off by saying. I LOVE MOUNTAIN. Having lived in Florida for almost two decades the only scenery I get if i haven’t been to the beach in awhile, is concrete and billboards. It was so nice to be immediately hit with mountain landscape behind the city. The first thing that I noticed hovering over the entire city was a statue of Jesus with his arms held out on top of the mountain much like the Christ Redeemer in Rio De Janeiro.
The importance of Christ in Colombia doesn’t end with the statue. It seems the entire country is in a mood of celebration for Christmas coming up. You will not hear the phrase “Happy Holidays” from anyone’s mouth this month. Whether it is getting out of the taxi or exchanging money for food at the stalls, it has been “Feliz Navidad!” from everyone.
I went out last night in search of a club called Casa 33 where a drum and bass show was happening that I had heard about online. I had sent a message to one of the performers and used the Facebook event page to communicate with some locals that would be attending. Unfortunately, I was not able to meet up before hand with anyone so i went out and committed the cardinal sin of traveling in a new city… I wandered aimlessly in a two block radius looking for it. Luckily, there was a festival happening right there so instead of walking around for too long I decided to check out what was happening. I was on Calle 32 and the streets were decorated with Christmas lights and families were walking around singing, dancing and in a general state of excitement. Party buses and flatbeds full of people dancing and honking horns with Santa hats and neon sticks banging the sides of the vehicles.
I had decided to make one last attempt at finding this club that was supposed to start at 9:30. I asked a couple walking up towards where I thought it was and they had confirmed it was just a block up. I realized that it was just a plain building with graffiti that said “Casa 33″ and I had walked by it several times earlier. I sat outside and noticed a few people coming up but no one was being let in. The crowd started building outside and I realized this wasn’t really the place for me. I decided to do the much more wholesome and simple thing and headed back to the festival. There were so many Christmas lights. I had heard during the weeks leading up to Christmas, Colombian cities tend to compete over displays. I look forward to Medellin, I hear they win every year.
I hung out till about 11pm and then took a taxi back to the hotel. I haven’t slept well over the last few days since I’ve had a cold that started on Wednesday. I thought it would be a good idea to retire early, take some Sudafed pm and sleep till my body wakes up. I got up around 11am this morning and took a walk around La Candelaria which is the old colonial area of Bogota. The temperature here is trying to defeat me by going from 40′s to 70′s in a matter of hours. You’d think I’d be used to this living in Florida during the winter where it fluctuates daily. Being the high altitude from the mountains (Bogota is the 3rd highest capital in South America behind Quito and La Paz) the temperature can get very warm during the afternoon and downright cold at night. I slept well though.
I’m at my hostel right now in the courtyard listening to music and drinking Poker, Colombia’s most popular beer. I’m attempting to follow the Bucs game on NFL Gamecast but it is looking pretty brutal for them right now so I decided to write. Pics will come soon and more updates of course.
Oh by the way, lunch today… 2 empanadas, 1 coke and a beer was $3.50.
Until then, hasta luego!