Friday, October 26, 2012

Bogotown 2012

I am in Bogotá! Finally, after wanting to go ever since I got to Colombia, I am now in Bogotá. Bobotá. Rolotá. And loving every bit of it. I can’t believe it’s been over a year since the last time I was here and this will probably be the only visit this year, but I’m just going to do my best to enjoy it as much as I can. 

View over Bogotá from Jhonnatan's classroom in Los Andes. 

I flew in from Cartagena yesterday morning with LAN Colombia, which used to be Aires but has now become part of the bigger LAN network. Arrived around 10AM and took a bus into the centre, so I could meet up with my CS host Jhonnatan. I was wearing just a sleeveless top, because I was coming from Cartagena and to put on anything that has sleeves when the temperature is its usual self and not in stormy mood is one of the worst ideas you could possibly have. Obviously, in Bogotá this is not the case. Yesterday, however, it was very nice and sunny and some local friends even called it hot. Though as someone who lives in Cartagena I wouldn’t go that far, and neither would my friend from Cali, who happened to also be here yesterday. Am I trying to make a point and failing, as so often? Yes, of course. The point is that I had a t-shirt in my bag and some light jackets (wool, not real jackets) in my luggage so I could put on more clothes at any point, but it wasn’t necessary even once that whole day we spent around the centre. Awesome. 15°C rock. 

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this trip before I set out, because I knew that all of my friends were as busy as I usually am (even though they’re busy working while I’m busy trying to work, but still, busy is busy) and I didn’t know who I’d actually be able to see during my days here. But, well, if the trip keeps going the way it started, then it’s going to be legen – wait for it – I am not quoting this TV series right now, it’s going to be epic! (See, I’d rather quote the internet) 

I got to Las Aguas a little before 11AM yesterday morning and met up with Jhonnatan and his friend Diana. They were supposed to be in class and we all went straight back there, but they took the time to pick me up in front of the Colombo so I wouldn’t have to wait for them to get out of uni later in the day. So nice! I went back to class with them and actually got to see some shows, or „shows“, because it was a class called música y acción and everyone had to do a short presentation. There was a lot of singing, dancing and costume-wearing going on, it was definitely cool to have been there. After class we went to the computer lab to check e-mails and suchlike (yes, of course I’m talking about Facebook) and from there we went back to Las Aguas. 

Had to give this back when I left campus, I wish they'd let me keep it... 

While in the computer lab I’d received a message from my friend Andrés, telling me that he was in Bogotá and to give him my number so we could meet up. Sent him my number, he called right away and we decided to meet in front of the Colombo at 2PM. This is actually a lot more exciting than it sounds right now. Andrés is from Cali and I met him through my friend Leo, also from Cali, back in 2008. Four years ago! And we hadn’t seen each other since then! I hope that now you can imagine how happy and excited I was about the message, the call and the prospect of seeing him within the hour. Exactly, very. 

When he got there, everyone was already very hungry, so we went to a little place Jhonnatan and Diana knew to get picada. Picada is among the best foods in this world, for the following reasons: 

- There’s a ton of meat involved, in our case it was beef, pork, chicken and sausage. All fresh off the fire, hot and delicious. You're vegetarian? Don't scroll down, there's a picture of our picada coming up...

- You don’t have to use cutlery. I am totally civilized, I swear, but don’t you agree that eating with your bare hands instead of knife and fork makes the food a lot tastier? When eating a picada, you can use the little sticks they provide (toothpicks or tiny swords), but you can also just use your fingers. Guess which I chose. 

- You get two different kinds of potatoes and lots of sauces, too. Our picada had papitas criollas and french fries, but you might also get something else, like for example potato skins. And you can choose which sauce to use, although the best is always the hot sauce. I haven’t once had a picada with bad ají, it was always fiery and fruity and fresh. 


After lunch we were all stuffed, seriously stuffed. So we decided to walk for a bit. Diana had already had to get back to Uni, but Jhonnatan was free, so the three of us stepped back out into the street to go for a walk. We didn’t really get very far, though. Something got in our way. A place, to be exact. Yumi Yumi. Ever heard of that? It is one of the coolest little places you will ever find in Bogotá, a tiny little restaurant and bar right by the transmilenio stop at Las Aguas. Their food is even better than their location, but what makes them stand out is that they have 2x1 cocktails. All the time. And they’re sophisticated and well-made, not some ordinary rum punch made of cheap ingredients. I first went there in 2008 (again, that year) and until today, I still sometimes think of that crepe de agrás... oh my... so good. We didn’t have any more food, though, because we were already completely full. But we did make good use of that 2x1 offer. 

Round No 1: The first Coco Chanel and two Beach Bums. 

Round No 2: Two Yumi Yumi Specials and the second Coco Chanel. 

Round No 3: I don't know what those were, they were ordered while I was on the phone. 

Andrés had left his luggage at another friend’s place, so he wouldn’t have to bring it all the way into the centre and then back south when he left for the airport. Now, can you guess who that friend was? Yes, right, it was Leo!! He had to work, so he couldn’t come out to meet us, but we’re probably going to hang out on Sunday, if everything goes well. Gladly, both he and Andrés have a plan on their phones where they don’t pay for individual messages, so, deep and thoughtful conversations happened that afternoon. 

Leo, he just gets me... 

Time did pass by, though, despite the fact that nobody wanted it to. Soon came the time that Andrés had to say good-bye and head back to Leo’s house to get his stuff and go to the airport to go back to Cali. It wasn’t a sad good-bye, though, because when I get back to Colombia he’ll come visit me in Cartagena and I’ll finally make it back to Cali to visit him. Wait, did I just say „when I get back to Colombia“? Sorry about that, I’ll tell you more about that another time. 

Love this boy, he's one of the proofs that friendship can endure space and time - like a boss! 

Derpface, Derpface and Sleepyhead. Beautiful picture, right? 

After Jhonnatan and I also finally won the battle against the cocktail that wouldn’t end, we walked over to the Transmilenio stop and started the long way home. The thing is, Jhonnatan lives in the North and many people want to go to the North and thus we had to fight a bit to get onto a bus. In the end we did it and we even got to sit – on the floor. But still! 

Now I’m making plans with more friends for this afternoon and the weekend proper and, as always, looking for more work projects and – this is new right now, learning the names of Julieta’s stuffed animals. Julieta is Mari’s daughter, who in turn is Jhonnatan’s cousin. Mari made me breakfast, and because I'm upstairs in my room (yes, I get to stay in my own room) blogging and looking for projects, she brought it to me. What a sweetheart. They all live together in this beautiful house where I get to stay for my days in Bogotá and I’m having the best time, because they’re so nice, it’s almost like visiting family of my own. 


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