December 27, 2013

Arriving in Colombia

After 18 hours on planes and in transit , and with the 5 hour time difference, I was grateful to have someone to meet on arriving in Bogota.

Bogota is a big city,  comparable with London, having around 7 million people.  The nearest thing to a metro system are the buses that run in dedicated lanes in the center of the street. They are packed - especially in rush hour - and the concrete roads don’t make for a smooth ride. It’s sister city Medellin in contrast has a good overland metro train system, including cable cars.

The high altitude of Bogota gives it a pleasant working temperature compared to the tropical North.  At 2625m it is the 4th highest capital city, and the elevation can cause some to suffer from altitude sickness. It was the end of the rainy season and we heard that it rained quite a lot in Bogota while we were fortunate as we traveled north.  In Bogota though on a trip to the gold museum it started pouring with rain. We were forced to take refuge where we could as the road became a river. 

Do you speak English? ( I don’t speak Spanish )

With the exception of some hostel staff; the city of Cartagena; one taxi driver in Sante Marta; and one guy helping our tour operators in San Gil, pretty much no one I came across in Colombia spoke English. A basic ‘spa-eng’ smart phone app helped, for example when asking for the toilet, but not for understanding menus - that was guess work. Carrying a pen and paper helped discussing bus departures and prices. We quickly stopped carrying dictionaries.

Below: Monserrate peak looking down over Bogota

Below:  Street food, Monserrate peak

© 2020 Keith P | Follow on Twitter | Git