Posted by: Googie | June 17, 2010

Exploring Bogota

I am usually very cautious while crossing roads, and I always follow the pedestrian crossing signals; but last evening I ignored it – big mistake. Before I knew what was happening, I was caught in the middle of oncoming traffic. I was standing on top of one of the white lines used to divide the road into lanes. Cars and buses and motorcycles were whizzing past me, and I got my fair share of honks and abuses by the angry drivers. If one of them had decided to ignore lane discipline, I was done for. After a nerve-wracking 60 seconds, which seemed more like an hour, there was a break in traffic, and I quickly scampered across towards the shocked white faces of the onlookers on the other side of the road 🙂

In my still shaken state, I went to the weekly couchsurfing English language practice meeting and met a lot of the local couchsurfing members, but Barbara was nowhere to be seen. I asked the other guys if she had already left before I came, but nobody remembered seeing any Polish girl. After spending a few hours talking English (finally!), I came back to my hostel and slept.

The next morning, Barbara came to my hostel and found me ordering my things in my dormitory. When I first saw her, my jaw almost dropped to the floor, because she bore a striking resemblance to Jana (later I discovered that it was only from certain angles).

From the hostel, we walked to a crowded corner where her friend from her hostel, a guy called Jose from Argentina, was selling photographs. He was a talented photographer and had travelled to quite a few countries in Latin America clicking pictures. We browsed through some of his stuff, and I promised to buy at least one snap from him. After that, Barbara & I walked around the historical centre of Bogota; spending a lot of time feeding pigeons at the Bolivar square.


With Jose and his photographs


Random street in Bogota


Feeding pigeons in Bolivar Square

After a cheap but tasty lunch of pizza, we walked to the Botero museum, which houses Colombian artist Fernando Botero’s personal collection of work that he presented to the city of Bogota in 2004. Botero has a distinctive style of making everyone and everything obese in his paintings and sculptures.


The large hand that greets you as soon as you step into the Botero museum


One of Botero's "fat people" paintings


Botero's Adam and Eve sculpture

Adriana, an active couchsurfer from Bogota joined us in the museum. Later, we met a few other couchsurfers – Aga from Poland, and Oscar & Luis from Bogota itself. The local guys took us travelers to some really cool secluded parts of the city walking through narrow cobbled streets to a small place that was famous for the local drink chicha. Over bowlfuls of chicha they told us that it is actually illegal to brew this drink, and that the big beer brands have used their clout to have this ban imposed.


Walking around in Bogota


Through narrow, hidden alleyways



Later still, we went to Barbara’s hostel to meet Jose the photographer. After talking to him for a bit, I bought some of his pictures, and we went to get a dinner of Arepas. The next plan was to go dancing at some famous nightclub, but since I was quite tired, I said goodbye to them and asked them to carry on.

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  1. I like the sculptures…. they are soooo close to the reality 🙂

  2. I agree… Botero should be made the chief sculptor at Madame Tussauds!

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