My First Week in Colombia (en)
Having started my life from a scratch several times in various countries across a few continents, I've learned to arrive with an open mind and preferably no expectations. This way, everything is easier. And being busy as I was in my last weeks back home, I had no time to ponder upon potential scenarios of my trip and arrival in Colombia.
So here I am. After passing through four airports and about 35 hours of travel, I arrived at El Dorado airport at 3am. And there came my first opportunity to put my broken Spanish in use – I needed to deal with a minor inconvenience of a broken suitcase handle. Considering the length of the journey, I would have probably been incoherent in my native language but surprisingly I made myself understood enough and got compensated. That was also my first experience with Colombian bureaucracy – 1 broken handle, 3 sheets of paper, 4 people handling it for over 1 hour. Later I learned that Colombia is really particular about paper work. They accept black ink only and no scribbling. I am in hell.
OK not really.Colombian flora is more like a paradise.
Fortunately, my first day (Sunday) was a day off and I was free to do anything. The area around my hotel was so fancy and felt so safe that it encouraged me to explore my surroundings. I was advised to visit the neighborhood called Usaquén, a former village that became part of Bogotá. It was a great choice for a sunny Sunday afternoon. Full of local people of different ages as well as occasional gringos, it had that nice hipster-y feel to it. To include all senses possible I bought a snack – kind of fruit, supposedly mango (green in color and rather tough), sprinkled with salt and pepper and lime juice – super refreshing! Too bad I forgot to take a photo. Walking in the streets of Usaquén on Sunday, you can hear music playing from every corner, see people dancing to it and just admire the colorful handicraft of local people.
Another highlight ofthe busy first week came exactly one week later. The entire week, I was hoping to go and see the neighborhood La Candelaria and famous Monserrate. As I didn't have much time earlier and it was closed on Sunday afternoon, all I got was a cab ride in the narrow streets and a few drinks on the rooftop of a quaint bar/restaurant El Gato Gris. But I couldn't ask for more – chilly night by the fire with the Monserrate in the background. I'd love to explore and roam around the streets but on Sunday night it didn't seem like a good idea. Apart from one square which was full of what seemed like young Colombians and backpackers (there are numerous hostels in the area), the streets were empty.
Leaving Bogotá and flying off to a new adventure.