I guess I could perpetuate the stereotype that Colombia is unsafe to visit. It would definitely keep this country free from the huge wave of tourism that will certainly occur when people realize that Colombia is beautiful, safe, and so much fun. So yeah…it was super sketchy. Stay away. Bad Colombia.
Then there is another part of me that is angry with the endless fear mongering perpetuated by news stations looking for a good story or by people who havent bothered to look up the news about Colombia since the 80s. What everyone is missing out on is a beautifully diverse country full of kind people, mouthwatering food and drinks, and a gorgeous landscape; mountains, beaches, islands, etc.
My Colombian adventure is one I have been sharing with Alex, my wonderful boyfriend. I should cite him for coming up with the phrase “a dangerous lawless people”. We like to say that to each other whenever someone is kind and helpful… About every two minutes.
We both flew into Bogota around the same time so we met there before taxiing to our hotel. We stayed in the northern, trendy part of town, Zona Rosa. After staying in hostels for three weeks, I almost peed myself when I saw the gorgeous hotel suite. Luckily, there were two full bathrooms with lots of toilet paper to accommodate me.
The area near our hotel reminded me a little bit of the east coast. Tall trees and beautiful brick buildings. Then, like many Latin American counties, so much public space. Parks and benches and outdoor restaurants where people congregate and enjoy one another’s company.
We went to an upscale area of town for dinner, Parque de la 93. The area is basically a block of nice restaurants located around a park. Yes, I got pampered and I loved it. We drank unbelievably delicious cocktails, pisco sour for me and a capairinah for Alex. We followed the drinks with a fresh, muy Rico seafood dinner. The girl rocking hairy legs and eating ramen… I don’t know where she went because she was quickly replaced by a clean, soft, high heel and make up wearing woman.
After dinner, we headed to Zona T for drinks aka mojito madness. We got 3×1 drinks, which just made me think they should be 1/3 of the price but I dont set the rules. The bars of Zona T were filled with young (19-25) Colombians. They were fashion forward, affluent, and had a very European look to them. One thing Alex pointed out, which I most definitely agree with, is that a young middle class is a great sign for a nation. It shows the next generation moving up. Or they might have had rich parents, but we didn’t really get that sense too much.
We spent the next day in Bogota discovering La Candalaria, the colonial part of town. This area had beautifully perserved old buildings in all different colors that wove up and down narrow streets towards the Andes mountains. Bogota is at an elevation of around 8,000 feet cradled in between the gorgeous, cloud swept Andes. Neither of us claimed that the elevation affected us but I was very out of breath and light headed…then again, Alex walks 20 mph so I had to jog to keep up.
It actually rained all day which was a nice mix up from sweaty Costa Rica and Panama. Some of the highlights of the day were going to the museo del oro, seeing a llama wearing converse, and eating a sit-down three course lunch for $3.81 a piece (I paid…cuz I’m so generous).
And I can’t forget the greatest thing I’ve seen in Colombia so far…people renting cell phones. A man with a cart stands with a sign saying “200 pesos a minuto”. So a person goes up and gets handed a cell phone (connected by a chain!!) to place their call. It’s amazing.