I got to Colombia on the 29th and met my friend Catalina that I had worked with my first winter in Jackson Hole. We stayed at her cousin's apartment in Bogota first, which is fairly cool temperature year-round. about 70-75 degrees, but luckily the shower had warm water, even if just a little drizzle . Since I had just arrived, we didn't really do much that first day. Just walked around her neighorhood a bit and eat. On Thursday, we went to Zipaquirá for the day and visited the Salt Cathedral (Catedral de Sal) which was pretty cool. Theres a huge salt mine there and the miners carved out a Cathedral in it. There are pictures on the link posted. So after wandering around there and the rest of the town, we went home where her cousin's boyfriend attempted to teach me some fancy salsa dancing which was fun but I'm not sure just how sucessful he was. lol.
Friday we went around the center of Bogota and went to the Museo de Oro (Museum of Gold) which was cool. After that we went to Catalina's home town called Fusagasugá. It was about 5-10 degrees warmer there all year round but none of the showers have warm water. BERRRR!!! It was so stinkin cold taking showers. I didn't use conditioner in my hair because I could barely stay long enough to use shampoo. it was like when you jump into a freezing lake and start hyperventaling. lol, it was cold. Right when I got there Catalina's mom started telling me how I should stay for a month or more. Catalina and I explained over and over that I couldn't change my flights and stuff but she kept insisting. She's super sweet. she was showing me things around her house the first day and when I said I liked something, she insisted that I take it home with me as a present. After that happened a couple times I stopped telling her I liked things and just smiled and said it was interesting. lol. I didn't wanna take all of her stuff home with me. She's so sweet.
On Saturday Catalina's friend and a friend of his wanted to go hike up this mountain and camp. Catalina and I had to leave early in the morning with her parents so we decided not to camp but we hiked up the mountain with them. My goodness... I almost died. I haven't hiked that long that steep ever. It was super steep and we hiked for like an hour and a half stopping 5 minutes or so 4 times. I'm glad we had some sprite with us because I think I would have fainted from low blood sugar if not. The view at the top was amazing though. (again, pictures available on the link). I was pretty proud of myself though for making up that far and not being sore the next day. lol.
The next day we had to get up super early because we were making a four hour drive to a couple different towns. We first went to Boyacá where they have this famous bridge that a battle between the Spanish and those fighting for freedom took place. I got a couple pictures of me on a Chiva which is a brightly colored bus that people used to ride around to places (they still use them as a tourist thing in Cartagena where people drink and sing and drive through the city) . We didn't stay too long there before heading next to Villa de Leyva. The town of Villa de Leyva was cute and I liked that there weren't bars on all the windows there. It was windy so there were a bunch of kids in the square flying kites, it was just all so quintessential. So cute. In Villa de Leyva they have fossils of dinosaurs which was pretty cool; Huge sea dinosaurs that used to live there when the sea covered it. Her dad bought me a little sea fossil to take home (I love her family!). The next place we went was Ráquira. I LOVE that place! Love it! In that town, everyone makes clay pots and vases and people from all over the country and other countries go there for their pottery because they do it so well and its so beautiful. All the walls were brightly painted with murals along the bottoms and colorful things hanging from all the buildings. It was amazing. I just couldnt get over how beautiful and rich it was. So much color. Even the bright and the stones arond the bridge were cool (theres pictures of this too). So after this we went back home.
Monday we left for Cartagena which is a 20 hour bus ride and the air conditioner broke so we were riding an oven without windows to Cartagena. It was sooo stinking hot! I felt so gross when we got there on Tuesday that the first thing I did when we go to the hostel was take a shower but it is so humid there I felt just as sticky when I got out, lol. I got a little more used to the heat as time went on but it was about 95-100 degrees with like... a million percent humidity the whole time, lol. So since we were so tired Tuesday, we didnt do much besides eat some ice cream.
Wednesday we went to the San Felipe Castillo which was I guess a fort type thing the Spanish build to defend the city against Pirates and things like that. After touring that, we just went around to little stores and such and went to the beach then out to eat. that night, we went out walking with a couple people from the hostel and one of the guys who worked at the hostel, Charlie who showed us around the Old city a bit. (I dont have pictures up yet of the old city but its really pretty).
Thursday we went around the old city again and then went to the beach for a while and that night one of the guys from the hostel, Charlie, Catalina and I all went out dancing. It was so much fun. We stayed out dancing for quite a while. I danced with Charlie a lot but there were a couple other guys that asked me to dance and one of them kind of disturbed me...well both did but one of them asked me to be his wife and stared at me like I was a piece of meat. After dancing with those two guys I told Charlie that I didnt wanna dance with them anymore so when they were going to ask me to dance, he would dance with me. He's a really nice guy and ended up telling me that he liked me a lot and told me how he liked how pure and innocent I was and how tranquilla I was like I'm cool being myself and doing my own thing when everyone else around me may be doign differently. I just smiled and said thank you, I didn't realize he wanted more until he asked me what I thought about him and I was like "um... you're really nice, I like you, we're good friends right?" lol. He asked me if I would go outside for some fresh air to talk and I said Ok and we walked outside and he told me again how he liked me and such. I could sense he wanted me to say something but I wasnt sure what so I told him that I didn't want anything physical or anything like kissing or anything more and he was like "oh no, i wasnt telling you that to get anything from you, I just wanted you to know" so I said ok and we went back inside. It was funny because I don't get hit on much in the U.S. but I had three guys in one night hitting on me, it was weird for me. lol. But anywho, Friday, Catalina and a girl from the Hostel and I went on a ship to La Playa Blanca which is supposed to be this amazing beach. It was really pretty and all but I cut my foot a little on the coral and Catalina got some coral stuck in her foot so when people were going out dancing again that night, she decided not to go. This time there were 3 american guys, 2 israeli guys and 3 british girls, Charlie, and I that went out but it wasn't very much fun. None of them except maybe 2 really wanted to dance and when the rest of them danced it was like middle school dancing in a circle and not really latin dancing. I loved dancing the night before cause it was latin dancing and not like techno dancing (Blah). Plus, when the british and U.S. people go out, they go mainly to drink instead of dancing so it kind of sucked. I ended up asking charlie at midnight if he didn't mind helping me get back to the hostel and he decided he wanted to go home too since we stayed out so late the night before and got up so early, him for work and me for the boat ride. So everyone else decided they wanted to go home as well but they all stayed up playing drinking games and I went to bed. Saturday Catalina and I went to the beach one last time (where two guys that were trying to sell things ended up stopping to talk to me on the beach) and then went out to eat before we took the bus back to Bogota. The bus ride back was sooooooooooooooo cold because the AC was up full blast. Everyone had big coats and blankets on. I had a jacket and my towel covering me and still couldnt feel my feet or anything. We rode to cartagena in an oven and back in a refrigerator... not a big fan of the busses there.
We got back on sunday afternoon and just went home to eat and hang out watching a movie or two.
Monday morning we went again to the center of Bogota and then went to visit Catalina's university which was quite interesting...very left wing... like socialist supporting type of ideas. there was a couple american flags painted on the sidewalk but instead of starts it had skulls. I was a wee bit uncomfortable walking around knowing that most of the students there hate America, lol. But anywho, after that we went home and I packed up my stuff to leave the next day.
Tuesday I left Colombia and got back to the U.S. and stayed in a hotel in Florida where just around the corner was a Peruvian restaurant which was exciting cause I've heard so many good things about Peruvian food that I had to try it. I had some Lomo Saltado which was really yummy and I think it was pretty authentic because the girl who was behind the counter was from Lima Peru and her family owned the restaurant.Flying into Spokane, I sat next to a really nice lady on the plane that I talked to the whole way home and as we were leaving she gave me her watch for me to remember her by. It was so sweet! When I got back into Spokane on Wednesday, for a welcome back celebration, I got to go to Chuck E' Cheese!!! Well actually it was for the kids but it was Chuck E Cheese none the less. lol.
Overall it was amazing in colombia, I want to go back as soon as i can but next time I want to visit Santa Marta, Medallin and Mompox (or something like that, some town that makes weaved silver jewlery with the silver they mine and its really pretty).
So there are some things I really like about Colombia, some I didn't like so much and some I'm just not so sure about.
Things I love:
*bakery on every corner
*beautiful places like Cartagena and Raquira
*cheap fruit and a HUGE variety that i've never even heard of
*fresh made juice in the mornings straight from the fruit, yumm
*drinkable yogurt, i really liked that for breakfast
*latin dancing, LOVE IT...even if im not so great at it...
*the warm ocean in Cartagena
*all the beautiful handicrafts
*Milhojas (this AMAZING dessert thing that I had once then HAD to have once more before i left)
*Oblejas (its like really thing waffle looking things with arequipe and raspberry stuff in between)
*Arequipe- its like a carmel type thing but not as sweet and i think make with dulce de leche and other stuff, but its yummy and they use it with a lot of things
Things I don't like so much:
*cold water for showers
*bars on the windows
*paying for bathrooms
*no toilet paper in bathrooms (you have to buy it or bring your own)
*no soap in half the bathrooms, ick
*lots of stray dogs that made me sad, for some reason all the cats have homes but not the dogs
*people staring a lot and very obviously... i have never been stared at that much in my life where ever i went... in one store, i walked in and the ten people in there stopped everything they were doing and just stared at me till I left...no exaguration, it was awkward
*not having french toast or other sweeter things for breakfast
*not having separated houses with lawns or anything, I would really miss that if I lived in a south american country for a long time though i could handle it for a time, i like having property around me
Things I'm not so sure about:
* the driving is CRAZY!!! I mean, wow.... i cant decide if the people there are horrible drivers and are just realllly lucky or they are really good drivers but it was quite interesting driving down residential streets at like 50 miles and hour passing people on narrow roads and just barely missing the people in oncoming traffic. being a pedestrian is very dangerous, lol.
* a million tiny stores and not very many big grocery stores... its convenient when you want to just grab something really quick but it seems that it would be hard to find some specific things when little stores only have so much in each of them.
* lots of very short people- its not really a bad thing but i felt realllllly tall there...not on the coast cause there are a lot more tall people on the coast but in bogota i felt like a giant
* i love a lot of the music but i dont know that im a big fan of the really classical colombian music.
*I think Bogota is a little to cold for me to have it the same temp all year round which a cold apartment. If its gonna be hot all year round i can handle that better than cold all year round.
So anyways, here is the link the the pictures I have up so far.