Category Archives: Bogota

Futbol Maniac Millionaires

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Oh my goodness, I could not believe my eyes! To my surprise soccer, (futbol) in South America is actually one of the funniest things I have ever experienced. The finals were yesterday, Bogota V. Medellin. Nothing was open while the game was on. No bars, no taxis, no restaurants silence in the streets. Contrasted to the World Series play offs in San Francisco where the streets and bars are overflowing with restaurants of people. ¨Where is everyone¨, I thought. This is so strange! I heard that these playoffs get intense, but downtown Bogota showed no sign of a game.

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The game ends as Bogota scores the winning goal in a shoot off! Now is the time to head to the streets! That is what we thought! Well, the stadium is just 40 blocks away lets walk towards it and see if there is any action. A couple blocks later, nothing. A couple more blocks later, nothing. We take a bus that some people wearing jerseys get onto and there is a huge group of fans singing songs, okay this is nice. I kept seeing San Francisco in my mind and how they were celebrating after wining the world series and this celebration did not make any sense to me!

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Wait a second, what is that? Why are all of those people covered in foam. Why is that car covered in flour and foam? Why are there hundreds of people hanging out of their cars soaked in white foamy and powdered things?

We turn a corner, get off the bus and I was not prepared for what happened. People come out of no where with these fire extinguisher type things that spray foam on you, right in your face, and it smells like bubble gum. Its a little scary though because people are almost violent about it.

The main intersection by the stadium is covered with cars stuck in traffic and people running around like crazy people. The police are lined up close by in full armor ready to act if this crowd becomes violent. I thought ¨Should I be here?¨. It was crazy.

Madness coinciding with the chaos the city already had, this party was out of control! I was soaked in foam and flour, not prepared at all for that. The party lasted all night, but all I could take was a couple of hours. Oi! It was madness! Definitely an experience I am still laughing at.

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Dos Semenas en Bogota

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I an blessed that this family in bogota has so graciously let me stay with them. I am able to be a part of the culture and meet friends, attend church, go the gym and l have a normal routine.

We went to the International Art Fair. It showcased stunning art from all around the world, but mostly from South and Central America. It was a great to see pieces from the amazons and from the countries that I am about to visit!

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Above are just some photos of Colombia, traffic is horrible, people are everywhere, and cars will not stop for you!

While at church service (4 hours long) there were ten 9 year old children all around me asking me questions, about US music, and just wanting to hear me speak English. In particular there was a little girl named Kiera who was 5 years old and we were drawing pictures together and she was teaching me words in Spanish. So pure and amazing how children just love people and do not see anything else but who you are. She kind of blew me away, how warm she was to be my friend.

During service I started a conversation with six 17 year old boys who were hilarious trying to communicate with me. They were so intrigued, almost like I was a celebrity. They said that they have never seen or let alone spoken to an American before. They were helping me with Spanish as one of the boys watches youtube videos in English and understood enough for me to communicate with them. Diders friends are my age and many of them know some snippets of English and are fun to communicate with as well.

I am learning is how to just be present and pay even more attention to the energy that people give off. When people ask me questions in Spanish and I do not understand, we have to find some way to communicate and understand each other. I feel like I am playing a constant game of charades.

People are so patient with me and so intrigued with English and want to interact with me that who of people will watch me try and practice. It’s like nothing I have ever experienced.

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Bienvienidos a Bogota

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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.

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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!

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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!