"You're going to get robbed."
This is what many people told Wayne and I when we announced our intentions for our Christmas trip to be in Colombia. Oh, Bogota was SO dangerous. We were going to get mugged, kidnapped, or worse. And yes, it does happen at times, and we were paranoid at times, uber cautious. And happily, everything turned out okay.
We landed in a rainstorm. Our cabbie (who ripped us off, which seems to happen way too often with Colombia cabbies) told me that it normally doesn't rain this much. It basically rains every single day, for a short while. But today, it was pouring for way too long.
We got into our hotel, Casa Platypus. We had a cute room on the 2nd floor (about 140-150 pesos). I had a wicked migraine from not sleeping the night before (We stayed up all night to pack and clean our apt.), so we basically went out in the pouring rain to the closest restaurant, which was actually pretty good. The walls were covered with paintings of trolls and kitsch (ice skates, old irons, other random things). The food was pretty good. I basically collapsed into bed as soon as we got back.
In the morning, I went for a run. Duh. I ran down a pedestrian-only street a bunch of times, and got to see some pretty neat anti-war graffiti on the flower boxes. Wayne and I spent the morning in a lot of museums. El Museo del Oro was as boring as I thought it would be, but Wayne liked it. We discovered a bunch of fantastic museums, many of them free. We stumbled into a random vegetarian restaurant for lunch. We went back to Casa Platypus to regroup and the skies opened up. We cuddled in bed and read books until it relaxed, and then walked around the Candelaria, looking for a restaurant that had something vegetarian. We ended up at a random cafe with a space cadet American server. We walked around some more, then found a cute bar for the world's sweetest mojito and a beer for Wayne.
The next day, we took a field trip to Catedral de Sal. It was cool, but our tour was entirely in Spanish, I missed a lot of words, and Wayne knows zero Spanish. Wayne was excited to take Bogota's Bus Rapid Transit. The journey was long and we got back to Casa Platypus exhausted...but we should go to the church at the top of town! We quickly dumped some stuff and then headed out. We took the funicular up and the cable car down, and got to see the stages of the cross illuminated by fabulous Christmas lights - a little weird. The Christmas lights were amazing. We got pissed when we realized the ticket seller only sold us one-way tickets and pocked the difference. Tourist tax, sigh.
Our last morning in Bogota had me freaking out after my run that I lost my camera; it turns out, it was in Wayne's bag. Quickly, got ready, stowed out luggage, and headed out on a Bike Tour of Bogota. It was fantastic. My bike should have been put to rest a long time ago, and being nervous on a bike with crappy brakes, Wayne switched with me so I rode the less-sucky-but-still-not-great bike that he got. But the tour was fantastic. We learned a lot about Pablo Escobar's Colombia, the new Colombia, Galen, Gaitan, graffiti art, the red light district, went to a market and sampled wonderful fruit, visited a cemetery. It was really interesting. The only snafu was a woman on our tour thought it was acceptable to take photos of the prostitutes in the Red Light District, who were really angry and wanted to fight her. A little crazy. Why would you take a photo of someone who clearly did not want a photo to be taken of them?
Fascinating, art-filled, vibrant, energetic, polluted, literary, and fun. I did love Bogota, yes, I did.