Bogota is Badass

For the title of this post, I was going to make a joke about Pablo Escobar, but that just didn’t feel creative enough. Instead, I decided to make an assertion and swear. Don’t forgive me.

I arrived in Bogota on the evening of August 3rd after a long day of travel that started with a 7 a.m. flight from JFK to Miami. The airport is much different than I remembered it from the last time I was in Colombia, which I believe was 1993 or 1994. Back then, walking through the airport was like getting a free show of all sorts of machine guns and those who wielded them; there were a ton of police. This time around, not so much. The terminal was fairly new looking and it was easy to get around. I made it through customs with no problem and when went to exchange my dollars. I handed them $200 USD, and in return, I received 360,000 Colombian Pesos. I wished they were USD. The whole inflated currency thing can be daunting at first. Example: I take the cab to the hostel, and the driver reports that it will cost me “trenta mil.” Thirty thousand. THIRTY THOUSAND? But, I could buy a boat with that. Then my mind snapped back into place after exhaustion: 30,000/1800 = $16.7 USD.

I chose the Cranky Croc hostel in la Candelaria neighborhood in Bogota for my stay. It is easily one of the best hostels I have stayed in, ever. Beer, Internet, great travelers, great food, and organized party trips. Yes, the best hostels do this for you. When I entered the lobby, they asked me if I was interested in the party bus that evening. “Yes.” I slept about 4 hours in the last 32 hours of my existence.

I fell asleep in my room around 7 p.m. and woke up 10 minutes before the bus was supposed to leave at 11:30 p.m. The bus left. I was not on it. I brushed my teeth and went back to sleep.

The next morning, I woke up and started reading “Atlas Shrugged,” and I did this for 3 hours before I decided it was time to do something else with my life and see the city I came to see. I got up, grabbed a map, and headed to the mountain, Montserrate. There are two ways up, by ground or by air — Funiculare o Teleferico. I took to the air. Mountain tops are known for their shitty views, as you can see below.

Yeah. I then took lunch at the top of this here mountain at a place called Casa Santa Clara Restaurant. The food was good enough, but I was really there for the view. I wrote this down on a spare sheet of paper I had with me at the time:

“It is not often that you can sit and observe a city for the blood, sweat and tears that went into building it. From the sky, at a fair distance, this task becomes easy.”