El Bueno y El Malo

It’s been a solid last few weekends enjoying the city, and later this month I’m looking forward to a Cusco and Machu Picchu trip with Joseph and hopefully(?!) a rock climbing trip elsewhere in Colombia. Having a routine makes me feel far more productive and slightly less overwhelmed by all of this free time. And frequent Whatsapps and calls to the USA make me feel not-so-far away.

In picture form, here are some of the events that I’ve been enjoying, as of late…

Karaoke en La Candelaria
Ciclovia! Every Sunday from 9AM – 2PM, Bogota shuts down some of its major streets to cars for its pedestrians, bikers, skateboarders, rollerbladers, and mini-concerts
Bogota’s neighborhood of Usaquén
Usaquén on a Sunday afternoon: a Flea Market + live music
Bogota’s Philharmonic Orchestra performing at La Universidad Nacional; some friends and I got student tickets for the equivalent of $3.25USD
A sliver of the humongous mercado at Plaza de Paloqueamao
Iyla + I nomming on arepas and caldo de res at the mercado
A 6AM hike over Bogotá: Quebrada La Vieja
The top of Quebrada La Vieja. Bogotá is the little specs of buildings in the distance.

Settling in means also becoming more + more aware of my annoyances with Bogotá. As much as I may enjoy it here, I can’t help but take note of a few frustrations–

  1. The pollution + smog are brutal. A lot of people wear masks or put scarves around their noses + mouths when they walk/bike down major thoroughfares
  2. Bogotá has insane traffic, particularly at rush hour
  3. Overcrowded public transportation. During rush hour, there’s no need to hold onto a handle because you’re so packed in that you ain’t going anywhere
  4. The lack of a walking culture at night. People cab everywhere after dark, partially out of habit + partially for safety reasons. I miss the safety in numbers of cities like Madrid and San Francisco, where people walk home from a restaurant/bar at 10PM or midnight without issue.
  5. The staring. People love to stare here, and they find no shame in it
  6. The rarity that is sunshine in Bogotá. I need some Vitamin D!
  7. Feeling the need to be overly cautious about not showing that you have pricier possessions, to help avoid being pickpocketed or robbed. It’s highly discouraged to pull out your phone, wallet, etc. in the street or, really, anytime that people might notice.
  8. Shopping for random, household items (i.e., a side lamp, tape, yoga mat) is super inconvenient and requires trips to lots of different stores. I have a newfound appreciation for places I normally dread in the US, like Target + Walmart.
  9. Tons of stores/businesses don’t have an online presence or at least not one that’s up to date. I’ve Googled stores, walked there, and found that they no longer exist… on more than one occasion
  10. Broken sidewalks and tall curbs. Not-so-friendly for wheelchairs, the elderly, people not paying attention, etc.

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