Whoever heard of an outdoor music festival without any beer? I mean seriously? We will be spending the whole day in a field full of beautiful Colombians, sunny day, live music, completely sober SANS ALCOHOL??? Nooooooo…. For the guys I was with, representing Holland, Germany, Switzerland and Oz, me from England, this was just incomprehendable. Shakira wasn’t really my thing, I only decided to go because the idea of an afternoon in the sunshine drinking beers with a bit of live music was kinda appealing. After the initial devastation sank in we started to hatch some plans.
There was a VIP area right. Maybe there will be alcohol there? OK, VIP area costs 30 Euros or something and is sold out anyway grrrr.. OK, put on your best ‘I belong in the VIP area, don’t you know who I am?’ face and just casually stroll through security.
Holland and Australia got through no problemo, England and Germany got stopped and sent back!! I am sure there is a joke in there somewhere! Anyway, double grrrrr….. We walked round to the front a bit and easily spotted Michiel in the VIP section seeing as he towers about 7 feet above everyone! After taunting us with a few waves from the forbidden zone, they decided to leave and join the commoners again! Here they come, clutching cans of something ooooooo beer??? Nah redbull grrrrr, sadly the strongest of mind-altering substances to be found at this party, and this was Colombia?
WTF souvenir shop of the day, Bogota
No need to worry though, we more than made up for the lack of beers. I enjoyed the Shakira show actually. Not my usual cup of tea (although she did murder a Metallica cover!) but something about her voice, the dancing and being in Colombia, where she is from, with the latin american party vibe in the audience.
By the end of all the waka waka ing, we were pretty desperate and the first beer vendor we got to outside totally got drank dry in emmmm 5 minutes. This small local girl kept disappearing to get us more beer, more beer and more beer, she was doing a roaring trade from us! Then off we went to the salsa club for more beer followed by the inevitable shots of aguardiente (local poison). Then the night really started to get a bit crazy. Not many gringos in this place so they loved us! In fact, don’t think I managed to sit down for more than a couple of minutes at a time before being whisked up to dance by some snake-hipped Colombian geezer. The guys were lapping up the attention from the pretty local lasses too. We were made to feel so welcome. The club owner put us in the best seats actually on the stage and brought us over our drinks.
Even a group of lasses took a shine to me too, ‘we love you’ hahaha oh so nice. We were made to feel part of the family here. I love Colombian people.
'Enjoying' ice teas at Shakira pop festival, Bogota
We got a bit carried away and before we knew it was about 4am and we were being thrown out of the club. Not all of the guys ‘made it back’ that night, their beds in the dorm had obviously not been slept in. Of course this provided us bonus entertainment over our late breakfast (Thanks Mary âï¿½º) the next morning as the dirty stopouts returned with funny stories!!!
I loved this place. The beautiful city of Bogota, in the Andes, my final stop in South America.
I have decided that Colombia has the best travellers in the world, well if you disregard Taganga and the backpacking mafia there. I usually start to crave some privacy after a few nights in a dorm and end up booking into a private room but here I was more than happy to stay in the 12 bed dorm and just enjoyed meeting some amazing people as they came and went. I met more genuine independent spirited adventurers here than anywhere else. The guys I had gone to the Shakira concert with ended up staying nearly the whole week as they couldn’t seem to tear themselves away from the chicas ‘just one more night’. It was great though. Every time I hear the Buena vista social club now it takes me back to that hostel in Bogota with the garden full of hummingbirds, Julian (representing USA) playing his guitar in a hammock.
To look at him you wouldn’t expect him to have such a beautiful singing voice!
Outside salsa club in Bogota at 4am with one or two randoms
Bogota definitely does have a scary side. Countless people here had been mugged. Broad daylight in a packed street didn’t seem to stop one unlucky couple from the dorm being held at knifepoint just outside the hostel and made to hand over their valuables. I made sure to adopt my fastest walking pace ‘I know where I am going for sure’ look and notes were stashed securely in my bra. To this day, I still cannot quite believe that I travelled all over the world on my own to some of the scariest cities in the world and still did not get robbed! Screw the dangers though, I did love this city. Slightly faded, colourful colonial hilly streets surrounded by the beautiful peaks of the Andes.
This was somewhere really special. We were not too far from the equator I guess but the altitude kept the temperature spring-like and warranted getting cosy in bed at night with several blankets and a hot water bottle. I enjoyed just walking the streets of Bogota, grabbing a ‘dulche de leche’ waffle from a street vendor and getting totally lost on more than one occasion. It took me a while to work out what the street vendors with the ‘minutos’ signs were doing. Then I noticed that these people had mobile phones attached to themselves on a chain and were selling mobile phone minutes to people in the city without a phone! I had never come across this before and looked quite comical, these people speaking on a phone chained to the vendor.
My last night on the continent of South America, the guys took me out to a rock bar somewhere in a particularly edgy part of the city.
Even with four male escorts I didn’t feel safe when we got a little lost in the back alleys of Bogota but it was a fun evening of banter and beers. A huge feeling of sadness that this adventure was really coming to an end now, my days really were numbered âï¿½¹ The flight across the Atlantic to Spain (airports codes BOG-MAD hehe) was a sad one. Completing my lap around the world, heading back to Europe after a whole year away. Hasta luego South America, it was pure magic. But this was not to be the end of my adventure oh nooooo, six continents in one journey you say? Well try ALL SEVEN!! Shakira summed it up nicely for me ‘This time for Africa’……