First Impressions: Bogotá
November 5, 2018
My first impression of Bogotá is that it is a very big city (obvious). Bogotá is full of hustling and bustling people trying to move through their busy lives. Walking through the streets during my first couple of days made me want to walk fast with purpose even though I had nowhere in particular to go.
The part of Bogotá that’s unique from other large cities I’ve visited is the sense of community. At least in the neighbourhood we’re staying in, El Retiro, I found that the piles of street vendors were all familiar with each other and with the people stopping to buy their treats.
The next thing I noticed is how people interact with John and I. We do our best to be courteous and blend in but we still stand out because of our skin colour and inability to speak Spanish. When we interact with store clerks or servers at a restaurant we tell them we don’t speak Spanish and they usually do not speak any English, they always have this polite smile or a laugh before we start our charades and I’m always surprised by the kindness and patience given to us.
Our apartment is really cute. The building has a doorman to greet us and add security to the building. Plus there is tonnes of security and police on the streets. Our apartment faces out to a soccer (football) field thats on top of the strip mall on our street. So much action and people watching right from my living room!
We’ve already found amazing food and have been cooking at home with fresh local fruits and veggies.
We took the intimidating Transmilenio transit system downtown. It runs similarly to a metro system, but it’s all busses that have their own lane and routes through the city. It’s crazy. Many Transmil busses stop at the same spots so people line up in a jumble even if their bus isn’t next so you have to shove your way through to get to your bus!
We made it to the Gold Museum. It has an amazing collection of pre colonial gold and metal artefacts with various interpretations of what they would have been used for.
We made it over to the historic Candelaria neighbourhood and explored some of the shopping streets and the main square, Plaza de Bolívar. We even found some llamas!
I think that’s all for now. We got caught in torrential rains one day. The rain forecast is serious here. I’ve been trying to find all the food and we’re looking forward to exploring more museums, finding the salt cathedral in a nearby town, and making it to the top of Mount Monserrate.