Finally I have arrived in Colombia in the city of Bogota!!! I cannot even begin to tell you how nervous and anxious I was on the air plane.
I have been a little fearful about traveling alone mostly because people keep reiterating that its dangerous for me and some people saying I should not go. Having never traveled before and heading stories from people, it made me nervous. However like anything else in life, if you want to experience something for its truth, you can listen to as many people’s advice as you want but the most important one is your own. Sometimes that means going yourself and figuring it out!
When I boarded my second plane in Fort Lauderdale, Florida every single person on the plane was Colombian and it was a small plane and I was so anxious. The man that sat next to me on the plane, Oscar warmly spoke to me in English and even helped me once we landed to get a taxi and waited with me. So kind! What a wonderful first impression. It was the first moment in my life where I felt disconnected to my own language an felt extremely uncomfortable.
Once I got into Bogota I hailed a taxi. To hail a taxi just wait in line and only take a marked cab. There is also the transmilenium bus transit which is only $3,000 COP ($1.5 USD) vs. the $20,000-25,000 COP ($10-13 USD). It all depends on your comfort zone and if you want to figure out the logistics of the bus system.
The taxi dropped me off at my firs hostel in La Canderlaria Central called Bella Vista Hostel which was near the down town area. There I met a friend who lives in France and has travelled all around the world. He encouraged me to explore the city and take a lot of buses. Which was great practice because I started to become confident enough to take them myself.
The most interesting things about Bogota from first impression-
-Cars WILL NOT stop for you. It is extremely scary and dangerous to cross the streets! The cars do not care if you are a old lady and need help, they will run you over!
-There are so many different types of Colombians. There is not just one type of person that looks like the same.
-Police are everywhere! Different kinds all over the place, most with dogs too! Surprising!
-The vibe and energy of Bogota from first glance could be described as beautifully chaotic. So much going on, so disorganized…yet it works.
-The fruit, the fruit, the fruit! So many different sizes, colors, fresh and tastey! What a treat to try something new and healthy!
The next day I met with my friend Dider who I met on couch surfing. He lives with his mother and father who only speak Spanish. What a great way to start to learn! His family is more than amazing for letting me stay with them. The neighborhood is a little ways from down town but nothing that a bus cant fix! His mother is kind, welcoming, warm and cooks for us almost every meal. His father is really funny, has a great sense of humor, and speaks Spanish slowly to me.
So far Didier and I played a pick up game with a teenage boy at the park, went to the gym, met up with his friends in the north part of Bogota (tons of shopping) to hang out, and painted with Bob Ross videos.
Just a side note one hamburger from Burger King and MacDonalds 10,947-20,000 pesos ($5.00-$10.00 USD). In contrast an average meal costs 5,000 pesos ($2.50 USD). Pretty crazy, people here love some of the American lifestyle!
Also I see a lot of people with T shirts in english. One I saw yesterday was a man at a bike shop wearing a shirt that said something about puma video games.
I hear you should not drink water in South America. People say not to and to always buy bottled water. Today, I drank the water today, nothing has happened I hope all will be okay with that! Wish me luck and until next time!