Reunion Time! Bogota

Trip Start Nov 24, 2007
Trip End May 15, 2008

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Flag of Colombia  ,
Saturday, March 8, 2008

 And the journey continues...

After a month apart Maya and I reunited a few days ago in Bogota a day after she had some hectic flight complications in Ecuador causing her to miss her earlier scheduled flight. I am almost positive the quite intense boarder conflict going on right now between Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador didn`t help the situation in the least bit. Colombia crossed state lines to carry out a military raid of a FARC stakeout, killing one of the top FARC leaders in progress and Chavez, like usual is overreacting like the hothead that he is and has moved tanks to the Venezuela-Colombia border. He is probably linking it somehow to U.S. neo-colonialism and supposedly a seized laptop in the raid links him and the FARC together through arms trade. It's all over the world news but not much is thought of it here in Colombia. It seems that people are accustomed to his over reaction. The top FARC leader being killed however is top headlines. Whatever the case, Maya made it here without any severe problems and it is great to be back traveling together again.

Currently and for the the last  four days we have been hanging out and staying with our wonderful friends Juan Sebastian and Lisa who we met in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador and their equally welcoming roommates whom we have had a good chance to get to know over the course of the last few days too. In addition to being two of the nicest, most good-natured, laid back open minded and kind-hearted people we have ever met (Colombians blow you away with kindness), from the minute we arrived Lisa and JuanSe have gone entirely out of their way to make sure we have a unique and memorable time here in Bogota. Hopefully it won't be the last time...

So lucky for us Bogota has been a kick ass big city experience. Lisa and JuanSe work for a widely known Colombian television channel named City TV and because of it and another good guy that we met in Ecuador, Jimmy, we`ve been able to get VIP/insiders peaks into what goes on behind the sets of show recordings, news channel broadcasts and all of the other inter workings of the television business. When we first entered the building and asked if we could visit JuanSe and Lisa, the amiable security guard stared at us for a second like we were here to blow up the building and then with a big smile on his face cheerfully said, "Si, Si, ustedes son los amigos americanos!" and we were let in without hesitation. In a building 20+ stories high, the fact that the head security guard at a national television building knew we were coming and personally knew our two friends speaks again to the Colombian friendliness I have been on the receiving side of time and time again.

Two months ago while Maya and I were in Ecuador living in Cuenca, the largest Anti-FARC/Stop the Violence protest in the history of Colombia glittered newspapers around the globe and caught the attention of the world. As Juan and Lisa said, 7th street in central Bogota which leads to Plaza Bolivar, the main plaza of Bogota was solid white the entire day as people marched shoulder to shoulder in a peaceful protest, symbolically standing in defiance against kidnappings, war and the ongoing violence perpetuated by the FARC. As luck had it, we happened to be in Bogota for the second huge protest, this time against the paramilitaries and their continued involvement in the trauma, insecurity and problems that continuously rock Colombia. While according to Lisa and JuanSe it was not even half as grand, powerful or organized as the last march, it was an amazing experience to witness in safety from the balconies of the CityTV building and yet another unique experience one cannot plan for. From our perch we witnessed thousands and thousands of mobilized people vocalizing their distaste for this ongoing conflict, calling for an end to the horrific events that have terrorized their country for more than four decades and a call for a new age of peace. Words cannot describe the power people have when they stand together like what we witnessed.

Over the course of the last few days we`ve delighted ourselves with tasty Colombian street food, fruit salads and coffee. Gone out dancing till late in the night with our friends. We saw impressive museums, watched Carlos Vives (one of Colombia`s most famous musicians apart from Shakira and Juanes) in concert at Plaza Bolivar and even watched some dramatic rainstorms flood the streets of downtown Bogota. Although our time here is coming to an end, it has definitely been a bright spot in our travels and one that will always bring to mind great great memories.
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