Bogota, Puerto de Peidra, Villa de Layba Subochoque and the wedding
Bogota Travel Blog› entry 7 of 33 › view all entries
It is mid morning in Colombia the sun warms my back. Where should I begin describing the last two days?
Colombia is a beautiful country. I am sitting in the warm sunshine at Rafas fathers house about an hour out of Bogota. It is a lovely house, painted in vibrant bright colours. It has beautifuly kept pretty gardens. I have a nice Colombian cup of coffee. A young puppy greats me and proceeds to try and knaw lightly on my fingers. I am surrounded by beautiful countryside and mountains without snow. It is not unlike the Wairarapa except for the numerous eucalyptus trees, like blue gums. Most Colombians seem to keep Fresian cows and a sheep or two around here.
I arrived at Bogota airport two days ago without any dramas. I was picked up and taken to our little apartment in Bogota city. Bogota is a chaotic city, built mostly of orange bricks which are made by the people outside of thecity in big brick kilns. Traffic in Bogota is phenomonal. There aren´t many road rules and it is amazing the taxi drivers can get anywhere without crashing, but they manage it. No one seems to car much about the road rules if there are any and they dont wear seatbelts. The diesel smog is acrid because the fuel here is of a lower quality and burns dirty. Bogtga is surrounded by the haze created by motor vehicle exhaust and millsions of cars, buses and trucks. No doubt it is not much better or worse than any other city of 10 million people.
My head is slowly clearing from the last night´s intake of Aguadiente, or ´firewater´, which is a clear spirit, around 25% alcohol with a strong aniseed flavour. Its made from sugar cane.
The apartment we stayed in was basic but comfortable in the poorer, southern end of Bogota city. There is no delination between commercial and resiential ares. People simply convert the front of their houses into a shop of some sort. I was greatful for a double bed and shower after the long flight. It was good to catch up with Rafa, Sam and Jared, aka, Angry. Also at the house were numerous members of the wedding party. Both friends and family of Karen and Rafa, from a mixture of nationalities. American, Australian, Scottish, British and us three kiwi boys.
On the 5th of March we all went on a bus trip to Villa de Layba. This is trip was my first taste of South American time estimates. The bus driver (Fernando) said it would take 2 hours to get there from Bogota. It took four. We have since learned that is is safe to double every estimate of time here. The bus journey was pretty and took us through some nice Colombian countryside and through a number of Colombian towns.
Colombian towns are the most eclectic mismatch I have ever seen. There seems to be an unfinished construction site everywhere and ones that look as if the project ceased long ago. Some places resemble second hand junk yards. They are a mismatch of disorder. Mario would hate it. Life for the working classes and poor in Colombia is hard and seems to involve a long day holding the end of a jackhammer.
Villa de Layba is a beutiful preserved Spanish Colonial town built around 1580. Here the brick buidings have been plastered white. The streets are cobbled stone, the buildings in old Spanish style.
Sam, Angry and I had walked no further than 100 metres down the street with our guitars before three old gents (well Berrachos, meaning drunks) called out to us to play for them.
On return to Bogota we got straigh on the party bus. This is an old school Bedford type bus painted in bright colours and fitted with disco lights and a stereo to blast some Latino music. The sides of the bus are open with a couple of chains strung accross to stop people from falling off. We drank many shots of Aguadiente and drove around central Bogota which is as upmarket as any city at home, then up for a view over the city.
Something has to be said about the Colombian girls also. On the whole they are absolutely stunning and have some of the best figures I have seen, which they somehow manage to squeeze into ridiculously tight blue jeans. Sam, Angry and I cannot help but watch them on the street. This is but one of many of the beautiful things I have seen in Colombia.
Yesterday was a day of little but waiting aroun or Rafa to organise the English for the wedding. Late in the day we went into Bogota to have suits hired and were welcomed by yet another gorgeous colombian girl and a very well dressed and groomed young Colombian bloke.
We then made the journey out to where the wedding guests are staying and where I currently am at Don Rafas place. The English and their stacks and stacks of suitcases and luggage went by bus (about a tonne I reckon). The Anzacs and Rafa followed along behind in Rafas old 1970s BMW with a total of 25kgs of luggage between us. The accellerator kept getting stuck on the floor.
For a time we lost the bus and stopped in a small Colombian town named Subochoque. We pulled up in the dark outside one of the local establishments. Rafa in true Colombian style, turn to us and casually asked ´hey boys, can I borrow two and a half million pesos?´.
Later we caught up with the bus as it had got stuck in the trees. The bus driver tried to negotitate the smallest gravel country road in the biggest largest bus to carry the 17 people who formed Karens family group for the wedding (the English and their luggage). The bus could go no further, so we had to unload and carry and ferry the tonne of baggage about 500 metres up to the house in the dark, but on arrival we were pleasantly suprised by a beautiful Spanish country homestead, with a large hot open fireplace and a team of servants who happily put what seemed like whole pine tree logs on the fire.
Tonight it is the wedding!