I have only been in Colombia for 15 hours but so far I am impressed. While on the plane I read that Colombia is the best Latin American country for women to travel alone because Colombian men are not stereotypically machismo, and so far that has been true. My cab driver from the airport was very cordial. He didn't ask me for a hug or tell me the seat leans back if I want to take a nap (after mentioning I was tired and had no interest in going to a party) like taxi drivers in Michoacan have done. He waited until my hotel opened their door after ringing the bell out front (it was 4:30 in the morning) before he left.
Men do not gawk on the streets, and employees are not aggressive in getting you to buy their goods. It is very different from other Latin American countries.
Zohar hotel is located in la Candelaria district. very close to the capitol and so is highly protected by the military, and assault weapons.
I left my hotel and started walking to Plaza de Bolivar. The hotel owner suggested that I go there to view round 16 of the World Cup. There is a screen set up outdoors for everyone to watch and I wanted to get my bearings before exploring.
I didn't get very far, just two blocks, before finding one of the most amazing cathedrals I have ever seen. ¡Rayas rojas!
La iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Camen is a Catholic temple completed in 1928 after 12 years of construction.
This is the plaza where the futbol match will be in just a few hours, as you can see the Colombians are not as interested in Brazil vs Chile.
I needed a snack.
These poor pigeons in front of la catedral Primada have no idea that they are about to be displaced.
Apprently Colombians love meat kabobs with a single potato as a topper.
I walked about fifteen minutes to the ticketing office for el cerro de Monserrate (a gorgeous view of Bogota and a church awaited). There are three options of transport, you can walk (which I didn't feel safe doing alone), take the teleférico (a cable car constructed in 1955) or take the funicular (the slow train that was functioning almost 20 years earlier than the cable car). For 8$ I chose to take the funicular car up and the cable car down, its the same price no matter which ones you choose (except walking is free) and I had an irrational idea that it was better to take the cable car up versus down in case the breaks went out.
Bogota is the second highest capital city in the world.
The top of Monserrate is 3030 meters, or about 10,000 feet.
Tinto is very common in Colombia. It is a cute cup of coffee. I think this size should be offered in the States. I will have a cutie please. Yep, that sounds right.
I explored a little more on my way back to the plaza. I suppose I wasn't in too much of a hurry predicting I would get a massive headache from all of the blow horns and loud kazoos that everyone purchased for the game. I needed a little peace before heading back.
I trusted this man and his magical cotton candy machine bicycle to make me a pile of pink sugar on a stick.
At half time (is that right?) everyone went to get a snack. What to choose...
I went with this popular Colombian treat, arepa. It is cornmeal flat bread stuffed with cheese and grilled, with butter basted on top.
I suddenly want another one...
So in the end Colombia won. It was so hectic, exciting, and LOUD.
The video is poor quality because I took it on my cell phone but you get the idea.
The only bummer about being in Colombia for this particular futbol game is that no liquor is sold in the entire country! You cannot buy it at a store or a restaurant, and it is illegal to drink in public. ¡No me gusta la ley seca! People would riot in the States if the government pulled this, but apparently Colombians rioting after the game is more of a threat. I guess they are okay with it, but I think that tourists should be permitted a ley mojada card upon entry to the country when these days exist.
¡Cuando soy la presidente de Colombia habrá cambios!