Night Fever (Big Bad Bogota mix)
Trip Start Aug 03, 2011
56Trip End Ongoing
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Bodyguards in Bogota are, I have learnt, locally known by the practical acronym "BG's" - "BeeGees" is of course far more appropriate in light of their 1978 hit "Staying Alive". It has simplified matters however in that I can refer to them as either Barry, Robin or Maurice. Once esconced in Nicky's apartment, I made the most of having a washing machine available to me and for the first time since leaving Managua I had the full choice of my extensive wardrobe available - although my cheap t-shirts appear to be shrinking at a rapid rate and when I get home I am convinced I will have a bag full of crop tops.
That night I headed out with NIcky and some of her friends from work to the "it" place in Bogota where the young (okay not all), beautiful (definitely not all) and well to do (difficult to say really) of Bogota society go to party. I had been warned that the mojitos were potent but after a night of training in Cartagena, I felt up for the challenge - I was of course wrong.
The following day, Nicky and I headed to La Candalaria, the oldest part of Bogota consisting of narrow cobbled streets and old buildings including the main square, Plaza Bolivar and an array of museums (including the National Police Museum which contains some rather macabre images and memorabilia related to Pablo Escobar.
After a visit to La Macarena (nothing to do with the dance) we returned home and shortly afterwards I established, through the medium of social networking, (it's not just the Arab Spring that uses it effectively!) that over half of the Impetus and Casaopeia crowd were in town - plans were made to reconvene the following day in La Candalaria
That night I was "subjected" to the harrowing experience of a 20 course taster meal with accompanying 9 glasses of wine - let's just say the experience was "interesting", offering up such delights as having warm chocolate drizzled over your hands, chocolate consumed within a cloud of flavoured dry ice and lots of small elegantly presented dishes (with delicious vino flowing throughout).
Sunday came and after a somewhat difficult exchange via facebook and Blackberry Messenger a venue was finally set for a get together, the BBC (that's Bogota Beer Company)
I opted to spend the following day doing nothing whatsoever (some would argue that is the story of the last four months), exploiting having a house to laze in, rather than the usual (I know, I know that's a slightly misleading use of the word "usual") dorm or hostel common area. Marvelling at the gift of modern technology I again made arrangements for the following day to head up to Montserrate, the mountain overlooking Bogota, with Florian and Andy before meeting Maia and CatalAna for lunch.
Despite the impending rain the three of us managed to successfully climb (okay we took the funicular) to the top where initally we were presented with a cloud and drizzle covered vista. Fortunately, the weather improved and we were able to eventually enjoy some nice views over the vast sprawling metropolis of Bogota.
That night a further party ensued (you may be beginning to understand the second reason after the BeeGees this entry is entitled Night Fever) with the usual suspects and some new Colombian and Spanish additions.
Despite 6 days of rain, on the 7th day, I finally got to enjoy a fabulous day of sunshine in Bogota - Nicky, CatalAna and I headed out to the lake at Guatavita from where the legend of El Dorado originates (all very "Mysterious Cities of Gold" if you ask me).
My final few days in Bogota have been spent enjoying the build up to Christmas, both from the locals perspective and also that of the expats, shopping in the Corferias craft market (I won't tell you exactly what I purchased, but it is causing some logistical problems) and attending the occasional party (they do like 'em over here - and I maintained true Sprake form, falling asleep at not just one, but two, different parties on the same evening)
I was also lucky enough to grab a quick game of tennis at the Ambassadors residence (I'm grateful) and I also managed to squeeze in a spot of horse riding (The first time since my throat problem in Managua that I have been feeding a little hoarse).
My final note on Bogota is reserved for the International Airport a scene of chaos, carnage and disorder the likes of which will give one nightmares. Despite turning up to check in well over 2 hours ahead of the flight, I only just made it, through a combination of ticket, immigration and security queues, some onward ticket issues and of course reclaiming money (I still have no idea why, but I was actually paid to leave Colombia!)