Wow, it’s hard to believe that I have been in Bogotá for nearly four weeks now! I have been meaning to start this blog since Day 1 but I tend to get caught up with all that is new and exciting around me when I am traveling. I started a travel blog one other time, when I was backpacking through Latin America in 2007 and it lasted for all of two posts! I am determined, however, this time around to make a contribution (stories or photos) at least once a week…and I am putting this in writing to keep me honest and accountable!
So, my first impressions of Bogotá (or second – I was here once before in 2008):
1. It is really wet – there has not been a day yet that it has not rained. I have not gone anywhere without my umbrella and I am told this will continue indefinitely! Unfortunately, this is the most evident effect of climate change in Bogotá. Rainy months used to be April and August but now it is pretty much year round.
2. The sidewalks can be dangerous. There is an incredible number of holes and piles of dog s**t, not to mention knee-high curbs and terrible traffic that make walking in Bogotá treacherous. I have been walking to work and home every day for the past three weeks and have yet to fall in a hole or step in some dog’s droppings (knock on wood). The scenery is breathtaking – both literally and figuratively – at nearly 3000m above sea level, Bogotá is set to a beautiful backdrop of mountains and greenery. The altitude wore me out for the first several days but I have now adjusted and am told that when I return to normal heights, I will feel (and act) like a superhero!
3. The people and music are amazing. I have several times now had to stop passerby’s for directions or ask about transit etc and they have all be incredibly generous and kind. There have been people who walked me to my destination, invited me to their nearby home to call someone, and just in general gone out of their way to be helpful. And I am in love with the music here. I have been a big fan of cumbia, reggaeton, and salsa since my Latin American trip a few years ago, and it is ever-present in Bogotá and the Colombian culture. Actually, my favourite song of that trip came from a Colombian artist named, Jorge Celedon. His song “Esta Vida” is such a beautiful and uplifting song about his love of life and the simple things, a sentiment expressed by most Colombians.
Although exciting in their own right, my first few weeks in Bogotá have been about locating a nice apartment in a good neighborhood, getting settled in at work and finding my way around this massive city, not to mention getting a grip on this beautiful language that I haven’t spoken in three years. Now that I am feeling settled and a little bit more confident, I am really looking forward to the next few weeks when I’ll begin taking trips outside the city….first up San Gil and Barichara!
Stay tuned 🙂