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February 18, 2005

Bogota, Colombia

our overnight bus from armenia was the nicest bus that any of us had ever been on, it had a weird wereworf versus vampire film and comfortable and reclinable seats. the elderly colombian lady next to me kept rolling against me during the night, but the dramamine and and an early start that day helped me to sleep all the way to the Bogota bus station.
Bogota ranks as my favorite latin american capitol city. since a significant part of traveling with aaron revolves around good meals, so far we have been to eat at 3 different vegetarian restaurants plus found some good falafels on the street, and there are still 2 or three vege restaurants we haven't tried yet. The second day we went to an excellent museum in the Colombian Mint, and then yesterday we visited the museum of Fernando Botero, and today we went to the planetarium to see more modern and street art. i remember back to when i was a little kid, not enjoying museums as much, and now as long as it isn't portrait after boring portrait of 18th and 19th century rich people, i find i really get into going to them. when looking at modern art, i feel like if 1 out of 3 paintings or works gets an emotional response out of me, then the time spent has been a success, and the modern stuff here has been quite thought provoking.
as i sit in this internet cafe, a school of kids down the hall just sang happy birthday to one of their classmates in english. the guy next to me says it's a tradition. weird.
apart from museums and eating, we've been walking around a lot. there are times when aaron and kristy says that this city feels like NY, in that it's metropolitan and first world, but then you will see some campesinos leading a donkey pulling a cart down a street in the cobbled stone neighborhood where we are staying, and you remember that on the outskirts of this city are layers and layers of slums and shanty towns.
on wednesday night we went out dancing at some bar, i felt very stiff until some new friends from the hostel poured a bunch of cane liquor flavored with anis down my throat. then we danced like fools till late, after which 3 street dogs tried to bite my leg as i walked home. the candelaria, our adopted neighborhood, isn't the safest, it turns out someone from the hostel was mugged last night walking back from a bar. however, it seems that going out in a big gringo group, while something i don't normally enjoy so much, lends a better sense of security.
seems we are here till next tuesday or wednesday, kristy is having a crown put on one of her teeth that cracked. guess what a crown costs here in colombia? about 60 dollars. she was gonna get gold, but the dentist convinced her to go with some alloy that lasts longer. the dentist, Senor Agular, is a great guy, and we spent a bit of time talking to him after he took the molds of Kristy's poor tooth. he looked at me and said, 'you have the face of an Englishman, the nose of a Frenchman, and the eyes and smile of a Jew.' i was impressed, it turns out he fought with the Resistance in Transylvania in Romania and also in Hungary against the Nazis during WW2 before moving here to Colombia, and he told us of giving blood transfusions with nothing more then a large syringe. i look forward to talking to him more as he drills into Kristy's head.
the folks in the hostel that we have met so far have been good people, surprisingly there are quite a few americans, the first we've seen in this country. tonight we plan to cook a nice meal, a stir fry with tofu of all things, and then maybe we'll hit the bars again. There are still 3 or 4 museums we plan to see, plus i am gonna buy a digital camera, and then it's north towards the caribbean coast. aaron keeps reading us things in the guidebook about the coast and about these islands we plan to visit, it makes us all want to head out tomorrow.

1 thing i forgot to mention that was funny, was when i told aaron that the lyger in Armenia was old and probably near death, he said that meant it would end up stuffed in some natural history museum before to long.

Posted by bendan at February 18, 2005 03:52 PM

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