Andrew: Mobile

Monday, January 29, 2007

I Iarrived in Bogotá on the twenty fifth of January. The arrival in itself was a bit of a culture shock. As I walked out of the gates, all I could see was a sea of people waiting for various flights and loved ones to arrive. Luckily, Roberto’s father was there to meet us, on time, which is a bit of a rarity in this country. The drive from the airport sustained my initial shock. Roberto’s dad adhered to the safety measures of Colombian night driving by running red lights to avoid car jackings.

Although there is a lot of crime, the Colombians know how to deal with it. There is security everywhere. In order to enter a building, you must be buzzed in by the guard, and usually interrogated and searched. Such is the case in most public places as well.

Another problem in Bogotá is the traffic. They deal with this with equal vigor by prohibiting people from driving in rush hour on certain days (depending on your license plate number).

Despite everything, it is still said that the most dangerous job in Bogotá is the man who manually sets the pins at one of the local bowling alleys… where nothing is automated.

We have spent the last few days doing as much as we can to experience all that Bogotá has to offer. We spent the second night at an authentic Colombian fiesta, situated at a large hacienda in the north of Bogotá. The hacienda was enormous with a central courtyard with a bull ring. We drank and ate the night away, sampling some traditional Colombian dishes without charge.

Las night, we went to the bullfights. This was part of our trip that was organized by Roberto’s father, George. I have been to bullfights before, and thought I knew what to expect… and how wrong I was. We were told to meet them at 2:15 on a certain street corner and they were going to pick us up. They showed up about 30mins later (in Colombian style). It was quite a sight. I will try to describe it to you. It was basically a huge tour bus only recognizable as our ride because George was hanging out the front door as it screamed towards us in downtown traffic. As we boarded the bus, the sight was equally stunning. Everyone was wearing white cotton shirts with red kerchiefs around their necks. Everyone was drinking out of these leather water satchels, called botas, but filled with wine and whiskey. Spanish music was blaring over the speakers and of course the bus was going way to fast and no-one was sitting down.

Tomorrow we are going to explore the local museums and celebrate George’s birthday. The next day we hope to head out to the family’s three hundred acre dairy farm for some horse-back riding and exploring of the mountains and caves nearby.
I hope that all is well in Victoria. Que estes bien,