Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Bogota Adventure

She had a trade show in Bogota at the end of August and he want to meet up with her there for a fun weekend for their first anniversary. Of course, you know who stayed home and watched the apartment and had lots of down time with my favorite friend Joel.

They loved Bogota – pop. 7 million people. Lots of culture, amazing food – they told me every restaurant they ate at was very good- and the people were SO welcoming, which was really nice.
Zona Rosa and the Zona T were their favorite areas. A lot like Lower Downtown in Denver, with lots of walkable streetscapes, small parks everywhere and good shopping.
She discovered a new designer named Bettina Spitz, who is now at the top of her list for clothes and very reasonably priced.

The people of Bogota were so friendly and open to Americans. They both mentioned to me that they were the only Americans they saw the entire four days there – except for one other guy in their hotel, and three guys in ugly American clothes outside one of the pubs they discovered. Her light-colored hair really stood out in a sea of Latin people.

Bogota is very urban with a new bussing system, and lots of museums and things to do. They went to the Museo Nacional, which was very busy so they did not get to see the exhibits, but it is beautiful, and then also the Museo Botero who is an artist that is still alive but from Columbia and has donated his own collections as well as his own art to the museum for the public to enjoy. All, amazing stuff. The Museo de Oro was being renovated but one of the exhibits had been moved to the Museo del Banco Columbia, so they did see a bunch of gold from the Aztec periods, which was interesting. The old city is beautiful, and has had some renovation and there are still a lot of areas that have not started renovation yet.

Bogota sits up against a mountain. The entire city is at 9,000 feet above sea level, so the weather is a lot like Colorado – cooler and very fresh. It reminded her lot of being in the Rocky mountains. On Sunday before they returned to Panama, they went up a tram on one of the mountain facia to a small church, market and park area on top of the mountain. You will see some photos of that here, but the views back down into the city were stunning.

The Sofitel, their hotel, was extremely nice and they recommend it to any travelers travelling there.

The only drawback to Bogota is the security. And, of course, that is necessary given that it has suffered so much at the hands of insurgents like FARC for years. There were dogs everywhere- for sniffing out bombs and drugs and whatever else. Every time you enter or exit a parking garage, you must stop and have your car checked out by a dog and a police man. When you enter busy night clubs or restaurants, it is normal to go through metal detectors, dogs and pat-downs. It can be a bit disconcerting at first to be sure, but after a while, you do get a bit used to it.

They had such a nice weekend there together, exploring the city and enjoying their anniversary, that she cried on Sunday when they had to leave. That says a lot for the beauty there. They agreed that as time goes on, if Columbia stabilizes, that they would strongly consider retiring here.

Meanwhile, I was happy to have them back in Panama. I always sleep better myself when I have them back in our own place, all together.

Joel and I had a party while they were gone – chasing bugs and lizards on the patio, but there’s no need to go into that here, as we cleaned up the remnants of it before they arrived back.

Until next time, fond regards and lizard tails.