Can´t even explain.......
Bogota Travel Blog› entry 6 of 17 › view all entries
Well, I arrived in Bogota a week ago and will be leaving in two days for Aldeafeliz. The two cities are so different. For one Bogota is freakin huge.... Over 6 million people. The first four days I stayed in la candelaria, near the center and one of the oldest sections of the city. I was in two different hostals. Needless to say, I´ve had the opportunity to see lots of different hostal arrangements... Some better than others. I was in Playtipus the first night. It was dirty and really cold. The second night I switched over to Hostal Sue, where the domestica was almost neurotically clean and very nosy. The environment there was really strange and I felt totally out of place.
The third evening in Bogota I attempted to contact the family of some friends that live here. The brother speaks no English and I was trying to coordinate how to get to his place just to visit. Several taxis in the street had no idea where the address was. I finally found one that said he knew. We traveled for about 20 minutes and he said this was the right address. When I got out I realized it was Calle 57 and not Carrera 57. I found a little shop open where a couple sells and repairs musical equipment. They said that this address was very far away and that the area I was in was not safe and I needed to return to la candelaria and attempt the visit during the day time. I was so frustrated.
Anyways, I explained to the a lady in the house that I would not be able to come and that I would call the next day and the shop keeper got more precise directions from the family on how to get there. I returned to la candelaria and stayed for two more days trying to get an appointment with the FAO office.
I attempted to call the family again and finally communicated and confirmed that I was invited to come to stay with the family for the holidays. I packed my bags and got the hell out of the hostal. The hostal called a taxi for me and explained where I wanted to go. I was off for an entirely different experience. I found myself at their house. My friends had not yet come and there plane was delayed until the next day. When I got there, only the daughters boyfriend spoke a bit of english and we were able to communicate a bit. There house had two entrances. One went directly to their house and the one adjacent went to a workshop upstairs. I dropped my bags in the house and was quickly asked to accompany the boyfriend to buy kiwi.
The next day a group of us set out on an adventure to Ciudad Bolivar, which is part of Bogota, but like 40 minutes to an hour away. This barrio is incredibly poor where there is a landfill apparently toxic leaving many people with a variety of infermities. We ventured out first by taxi, arrived at a university to wait for one lady that was coordinating the day. She finally arrived and we took a bus to another area where we got out and waited for the lady´s husband. From there we walked a ways to meet the group that had the truck that was to take us and boxes of clothes and toys to be distributed. We all climbed in back of the truck and set off into the mountains to Ciudad Bolivar. The land was spectacular, but the settlement which were people who invaded the land and built on it, was incredibly poor. We first ventured to a part of Ciudad Bolivar, which has nearly 1 million people leaving there. We went to a newly constructed community center to distribute the clothes. Later in the day we journeyed to another part of the city to a church. There this lady and her husband work with a cultural group that performed some dances and afterwards we distributed toys. The whole experience was eye opening. A lot of mixed emotions and a lot of information to process. Half the time I didn´t know what was going on because of the language, but just went with the flow.
On the 24th, I stayed with the kids in the morning. I finally got my clothes washed by the help of the domestica who cooked a meal that I could actually eat. The food rocked and was happy to eat a complete veggie meal. The domestica couldn´t understand my eating requirements and it was the topic of much discussion. Later, the grandaughers mother came around and we first went to her house to pick up some gifts. Later, we met up with the family at the brothers house. They had killed the other two pigs the day before and were making the final preparations for the big meal that night. I was the gringa slave whose job it was to mix the natilla in big pot as it cooked. We danced a bit, ate and drank and prepared the food as they were setting up for the big street party downstairs.
We later went downstairs to the house to watch a video of the grandfather, which was taken several months ago right before he passed away. There was a lot of tears and reminiscing. For most of the family this was their first time together in nearly 11 years.
Less than an hour passed, when my other friends/ their other son and his wife arrived from the airport as a surprise... What an awesome experience to be a part of such a different kind of Christmas all together. We returned upstairs for more drinking, dancing and eating. Soon we were out in the street with the rest of the neighborhood. The whole experience totally rocked. Met a cute boy who was a friend of the family and danced with him a lot. We partied all night and I partly passed out around 4 or 5 in the morning. The music never stopped. Around 8 I woke up freazing and wanting coffee. We hung around for about 2 more hours and the music and dancing was still going on. Colombians know how to party. We finally left around 10 or 11 and the music was still heavy, the street cleared a bit with a lot of drunk people remaining.
Probably one of the most memorable Christmas´ I´ll ever have. They want me to stay around until the new year as they all have been invited to a little pueblo about three hours away. I haven´t decided if I want to go or not. Kinda of feel like I should head out, but also think this is a great opportunity to experience something new.
Either way, I´ll be leaving for Aldeafeliz before the new year. I really do feel I need to spend the new year doing what I´ll be doing for the next year. There is some personal attention I need to give myself and some further soul searching that I feel is on the horizon.