Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bienvenidos a Bogota

I'd reserved the last week in Colombia for Bogota. My mom had some trepidations about my going there (probably because a friend at graduation had told us her dad thought it was THE most dangerous city to go to...excellent timing...) but everyone I'd talked to in Colombia didn't seem to have any problems there. Bottom line, I'm a smart cookie and I wasn't about to do anything stupid. I wasn't worried.

Bogota is enormous. The picture to the left was taken from the top of Monserrate, the mountain on the edge of the city. Como se dice "urban sprawl"? I went to Bogota to visit friends, but I'd met someone in Cartagena the week before, and Bogota just happened to be the next stop on his tour of South America. Lawrence and I spent a lot of time together that week.

We hit all the highlights. museum...Botero museum...

The best weekend was the last one there, because it was Halloween. Halloween is a HUGE deal in Colombia (little did we know...). It is over a three-day weekend, and everyone dresses up all three days. We went to a Calle 13 concert on Friday. Calle 13 is a really popular hip-hop artist. Manuel had introduced me to his music back in Cartagena, so I was really excited to see him live. The concert was insane. It took us about two hours just to get to the concert at what looked like a giant, abandoned warehouse outside Bogota. Everyone was dressed in costume, and people kept trying to sell us bottles of Colombia's national brew. This life-affirming moment brought to you by Aguardiente? We passed.

The last highlight of the trip was Saturday. We went to a church (of course...what else would the good Christian people of Colombia do?), which was highly unusual, because it was carved out of rock in a giant underground salt mine. Creepy, but cool. Fun fact: apparently the only other church like it in the world is in Poland. You know what they say - if life gives you lemons, make lemonade. If life gives you salt, make...churches?

After the salt mine we caught the bus to the coolest restaurant I have ever been to. It's called Andres Carne de Res, and is a HUGE steakhouse outside Bogota. It apparently started as one small shop, and then kept expanding...and expanding...It would probably take up about two New York city blocks easily. Everyone was dressed in costume (of course), and we witnessed many weird and mythical creatures parading and generally making merry.

Soon it was late Sunday night and time for me to go to the airport. I had a fantastic week in Bogota. After confirming with three different airline employees that I was not, in fact, a drug trafficker, I made my way to the gate and caught my red-eye back to the states with no problem. I didn't sleep much on my way back to states, but with three full days between me and Colombia, it really is remarkable how quickly I'm moving back into the (admittedly much quicker) pace of life back in DC.