The great Chicken Vindaloo race.

Trip Start Oct 06, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Colombia  ,
Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Need Indian Curry. Need Indian Curry right now! Hey, Taxi! Screeeeeeech.... "Vamos para Surya, cocina de India." Off we go on the taxi ride from hell. It's the classic rerun. Behind the wheel, meet Juan Pablo, the twin brother of Jorge, the 61 year old toothless half blind pipe smoking Colombian lunatic. Surya is on the other side of town of this bustling metropolis of about 6.5 million people. "No hay problema Juan Pablo, vamos!" 120kph through the ring road. Screeeeeeech.... Yes I am sure you can get an inch closer to the car in front. Red traffic lights are no match for this local Montoya. Stop! Screeeeeeech.... Welcome to Surya, we are closed on Mondays. Hmm. "Vamos para Calcutta, cocina de India." Calcutta is on the other side of town of this noisy metropolis of about 6.5 million people. "No hay problema Juan Pablo, vamos!" Yes, piggyback the ambulance, classic move. Screeeeeeech.... "Juan Pablo, I think we left the ground there for a second, yes all four wheels." Stop! Screeeeeeech.... Welcome to Calcutta, we are closed on Mondays. Shit! "Vamos para Little India, cocina de India." It's close you say, just a few minutes further north into the suburbs. Unbelievable. Stop! Screeeeeeech.... Welcome to Little India, we are open seven days a week.

Including the taxi ride, or should we say adrenaline sightseeing, the Indian Curry ends up costing me about US $20. That's probably my most expensive meal so far on this trip, and a few dollars more than what it costs me to stay three nights at Hotel Aragon, downtown Bogotá. Funny, but well worth it. The chicken vindaloo is delicious. Kind of reminds me of all the great curry nights I've had back in Reading and London, England. I start to think about all the other fabulous meals and drinks I have had on this trip. The BBQ feast at Casa Perico in Rio Dulce, Guatemala. The ceviche on Utila, Honduras. The pizza at the Lebanese owned restaurant in Leon, Nicaragua. The lobster in salsa at the shack on Little Corn Island, Nicaragua. And did I mention the coconut bread straight from the oven? Diego's pasta in Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica. Because of the atmosphere and probably because I was just plain and simply starving. The humus, rockfort flounder fish and coconut peanut cake at the Iranian owned restaurant in Bocas del Toro, Panama. The ten small dishes or so at the Lebanese restaurant in Panama City. The fruit drinks from the stalls on the Muelle de los Pegasos in Cartagena, Colombia. And the worst meal? Without a doubt the hamburger at El Rancho restaurant in San Agustin, Colombia. Everything was awful. The burger itself, the salad, the mouldy bread and the terrible cheese.

Tomorrow I am already leaving Bogotá for the Colombian Amazon. But I have had a nice if somehow quick taste of Bogotá. At 2600 meters above sea level it is cold in the evenings, but I still like the city. It seems so alive. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And I feel pretty safe here. Of course you must be careful, and there's definitively areas you should stay away from. But that's true for most of the big cities around the world. I would have liked to stay longer, but it's time to move on. Guess I'll just have to come back one day. Spend a few weeks here, getting to know the city for real. This time I didn't even get to sample the nightlife properly, because I didn't feel like partying. You see, I had my share of late nights in Cali. Instead I spent the days waking up early. Walking around the city. Visiting Plaza de Bolivar, Iglesia de Santa Clara, Cero de Monserrate, with it's spectacular views of the city, to name a few. I am far from a museum freak, but really enjoyed Donacion Botero, with all it's paintings and sculptures of Botero, Picasso, Dali, Renoir, Monet and so on. And of course, then we have Museo del Oro. Bogotá's world famous gold museum. You don't go to Bogotá without going to Museo del Oro they say. That's true I guess, it was very impressive. The evenings I spent walking around, dropping by cafes, bars, pubs and cinemas. Then I'll go to bed early and read Gabriel García Márquez famous "One Hundred Years of Solitude." The magical tale from this Colombian Nobel Prize Winner.

"One Hundred Years of Solitude is the first piece of literature since The Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race." - William Kennedy, New York Times Book Review.

The Book of Genesis? And I who didn't know that Phil Collins wrote literature. I'll see if I can find a copy, as I kind of liked the video to "Land of Confusion" ;-)
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