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Bogota, Colombia

(LP) Easing ourselves in gently ...

semi-overcast 18 °C

Well , we're here! The departure day was a little less stressful for me as I had a mobile phone, a chauffeur and a gorgeous little puppy on my lap, yet Claire still made it to the airport before me, in the face of difficulty, despite my very best Red Herring.

We wanted to use this blog for our own records but also for those who want to know, not only that we're still alive, but a little bit about the places we're so lucky to be seeing and experiencing. So I'm gonna try, probably in vain, to let you know the more interesting bits of what we've been up to and also give you some kind of idea of what these places are like as, despite our bestist photographic efforts, there is still a limit on what can be shown in a 2D image.

So, Colombia. Well I guess the first thing is that the violent and dangerous image that the country is burdened with completely overshadows what the country has to offer. That's not to say it is completely unfounded, but it is improving so rapidly that, at this rate, soon it will be a thing of the past. We were lucky enough to get the chance to immerse ourselves in "proper Colombian life" as we stayed at my friend Camila's apartment. Camila is a Colombian that I met in Cambodia, much to the amusement of the Miami airport official who was trying to distinguish whether we were at all suspicious and exactly what our business in "The United States of America" was. Such a relief to get out of MIA and into Colombia where everyone has a smile on their face and will chat endlessly to you despite you not understanding 90% of what is said.

Like any city there are all different faces to Bogota. We stayed in Camila's apartment that was just lovely. It's got massive windows, hammocks, it's really colourful and full of art and pot plants. This is in the Student-ish area where there are nearly 20 different universities so it has got a really young vibe to it. Everyone is always out on the streets, especially at night and it feels like a gig has just turned out or something. It's a really cool buzz and it pervades the whole city. There is another area with all cobbled streets built on the side of mountains so you can get out of breath pretty easily because of the altitude (2600m above sea level).

We took a cable car at a 90 degree angle up to a church that over looks the city which is just beautiful. There we were, both still heavily caffeine dependent so sipping on a "Cafe con Leche", in the most peaceful place imaginable. All you can hear is the wind and the sound of running water, your surrounded by flowers and 'reasonably' tasteful religious statues whilst massive birds of pray circle above your head. I had one of many moments of 'if anyone asks me why I love to travel so much', that's why.

There are also really cosmopolitan areas for wine-ing and dining so as a city as a whole it's got loads to offer. We saw a Flamenco show courtesy of Camila's lovely housemate Clara followed by a night a heavy drinking and rambunctious dancing. The Colombians, it seems, will give anyone a run for there money on the partying front. Not to be shown up, Claire and I got fully involved and all in all had a tremendous evening.

The next day, all a little hungover, in truely hospitaliable coloumbian style we got invited to Camila's friends, from the night before, for a birthday BBQ celebration. Marcel is Argentinian and we had the most amazing traditional food of Argentinian beef, salsas and fish. All just placed on chopping boards and passed around. It is such a nice way to eat compared to our Barbies with everyone's plates piled high! Natalie, his sister, boyfriend is a singer and after a steady flow of red wine he started to sing and play the guitar while they all joined in. I don't know how to make the distinction clear between that and the drunken SingStar image I might be creating, but it is such pure and earnest happiness. I can't imagine Claire and Jimmy sharing a microphone whilst I sit on the sofa and join in. Manela is an artist and she paints these beautiful doll paintings, Camila has a couple in her apartment. Well, Claire was expressing how much she liked one of them and they gave it her as a gift, a keepsake so that we'll remember our time there. It was, is, the most special gift, and it left us both a little bit speechless at their generosity.

Claire has been nagging me to do my bit as she is already for her next installment, but this is the problem, once I start "gassing" or "shitting on" as our lovely new Irish Amiga's would say, I don't really know where to stop. So I'll leave it there for Bogota, as a first stop it was fantastic and we really eased ourselves into the traveling life gently. We could have stayed longer but the Bogota chill was getting to us a bit so we boarded a bus, which was more like a load of beds on wheels, and headed to the Caribbean coast for some Sun, Sea and Rum.

LP

Posted by Peacocks 10:57 Archived in Colombia

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