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Thu Feb 13 2014: Bound in Bogota

Getting out of our warm bunk beds to the chill of the Bogota morning was very difficult. We spent the morning talking to the other backpackers in the hostel over breakfast while waiting for the weather to warm up to do some sightseeing.

NedaTV: All Neda, All the time. Security cam on our hostel.

Across the street from our hostel

We had heard a lot about Bogota, mainly warnings about how bad the crime is in the city. The traffic certainly lived up to its reputation, so we had certain expectations about the rest. Bogota surprised us. It was not the dirty, slummy place we had envisioned, but instead was quite modern - at least the touristy places that we went to, within walkng distance of our hostel.

La Candelaria

Morning ruminations

Our hostel is located in the heart of La Candelaria, the city's historic centre. It was very pretty with its charming colonial architecture. We walked by the Military Museum of Bogota and peered over the fence into the courtyard at some tanks and airplanes. A guard in a military uniform saw us taking pictures over the fence and strode over to us. We thought we were in trouble but instead he invited us into the museum, telling us it was free to the public.

Free is good. Not getting arrested is even better!

Close-up of the inscription on one of the old wartime cannons

The detail on one of the miniature ships was astounding

More cannons. Not phallic at all...

Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception

The Metropolitan Cathedral also called the Primada Catedral, dominates the city plaza. It's been rebuilt several times since the 1500s due to earthquakes and the odd revolution. Nowadays, the only mobs that overrun the square are flocks of pigeons that greedily peck at the corn that vendors sell to tourists so they can get a picture with the birds.

I think this little guy wants his money back...

A different kind of mob hangs out in the city plaza, also waiting for tourist dollars

Walking the city streets

Further past the Catedral we walk into a more modern Bogota. Older buildings give way to storefronts and office buildings. Rolos, which is what the people from Bogota call themselves, stride purposefully through a pedestrian-only street. They've got the eyes-forward attitude that we're so familiar with from all our time living in a large city.

In addition to a pedestrian street, there's also a bicycle-only lane

There are some beggars on the street, but not as many as we have seen in other cities. This was a rare sight above.

I think this is called a Cherimoya, also called a custard apple in other countries

"We'll take four!" The custard apple has a very sweet creamy inside and tastes like... custard. Also very messy to eat.

Other side of the sign says, "The End of the World is Near! When?"

The guy above is selling cell-phone time. For 150 pesos (about 8 cents) a minute, you can use one of his cellphones to call another cellphone. This is a particular Colombian peculiarity that you see in every town and city, because of the fact that the landlines and cellphone networks in Colombia are not connected. You can't call a landline from a cellphone and vice versa. So strange. So people without cellphones just "rent" one for a couple of minutes to call their buddy to let them know they'll be running late.

Historic and Modern Bogota architecture meet in the city streets

Jazzy buskers entertain passerbys

La Candelaria was nice, but we're both getting a bit fatigued of sightseeing in large cities, especially after spending so much time in Medellin. I know there are many other things to see in Bogota, but we're craving a change of scenery.

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