Thursday, February 14, 2008


I´m really very impressed with Bogota after one day. Clean streets and beautiful scenery with the mountains and foothills. Quite a nice surprise. Yes, I suppose you could say it´s a little dangerous with 114 murders in January, but like any big city if you stay in the nicer areas things are safe. And this city does have 7 million people so that murder rate is not sky-high. Colombia has upped security spending quite a bit in recent years...and we´ve seen first-hand the results of the increased security presence as the soldiers and policemen are quite conspicuous around town. At midnight 15 military-looking policemen walked into the bar we were in. They searched everyone, looked at some ID´s and left. Motorcyclists have to wear a neon orange vest with their license place number printed on the back.

Probably the most pleasant surprise has been the friendliness of the people...every person we´ve talked to has been helpful and open - from the cable car man (amazing views of the city from the top of the mountains nearby as well as beautiful gardens and old buildings up there), to the taxi drivers (surprisingly for a city of this size public transport in the form of trains and subways is not really existent), to the college student who approached us to give directions when we looked a little lost as we cut through campus, to the security guard who let us into the bullfighting stadium just to take a few pictures. Ah, and the Spanish here is very comprehensible, though I wouldn´t recommend coming down here without speaking some Spanish as English is limited. Seems to be an inverse relationship between the number of tourists (very few we´ve seen here) and the friendliness of the people. Anyway, the weather is beautiful this time of year too, although nights are chilly at 2600 meters.

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