I used to write down basic daily thoughts before I started having such a nice time in Colombia. At some point life got in the way so instead I will leave you with a collection of notes I wrote down during my first few weeks here.
Bogota is my favorite Colombian city partially because of La Candelaria, a sort of bohemian downtown neighborhood with some restored and non restored colonial buildings. The streets are sprinkled with tiny cafes, restaurants, and a few universities. For extra character some talented graffiti artists tag most of the buildings. But throughout you can see some ugly graffiti including themes like Go Home Yankees! During one of my first night walking around I smelled a toxic scent which prompted me to turn my head and find some guy tagging one of the buildings. My first instinct was to think of this guy as an asshole destroying the look of the buildings until I realized that’s what makes this place so great in the first place!
Next up from my random string of notes is meeting up with a friend I met during a Colombian festival in January 2009
. Cesar met me at my hostel in Bogota where we sat down with a group of Texans I had previously met in Ecuador for some drinks before a night out. I realize how special I have it when I can meet up with so many friends from around the world more than once. All to often as a traveler we will meet people expecting to never see them again.
On a similar note as I was eating an empanada on the street around 2AM I look a few feet away spotting a familiar looking Gringo face. I stared at him for a few more moments until I saw him walk over to order some food. That’s when we both said, Hey, you look familiar. It was Mike, an American from Kentucky who I had hung out with for a few weeks in Bogota and Medellin back in August 2008
. That’s almost 2 years ago.
When I first traveled here in August 2007 I stayed in a Bogota hostel because of a recommendation from another traveler. Since then I have stayed ever since and when I walked into the hostel this time it felt so nice to be genuinely greeted by everyone from the owner to maid. And later that night I went over to another friend
‘s apartment to see him for the first time in half a year. I spent the next week hanging out with him, his brother and brother’s girlfriend, as well as a few friends visiting from Manizales who I also met the year before.
One of the highlights of the week was finding absolutely amazing tasting coffee. Sure there are good chains like Juan Valdez or Oma but when walking around downtown Bogota I spotted a cafe with a huge coffee roaster in the window. Sure enough it was the best tasting coffee I have tasted here.
While this is not as random as my last paragraph it was quite a random encounter as I was heading out to a bar with some folk from the hostel when another group of gringos walked next to us. One of the girl’s saw my Phillies hat and told me she is from the same areas as me. But then once we all got to the bar I met a separate random guy who literally lives in the city where I grew up.