As soon as I survived the 45-minute line to Immigration (Bogotá Airport was under reconstruction) and Customs, I bought a Colombian sim card to call Olga, my Philippine sim card being useless due to Globe failing to turn on my roaming. A kind Latino — who turned out to be a plenary speaker at the conference in Barranquilla — helped me with this transaction that was held in Spanish. It might interest you to note that Latin America is partial to Blackberry, unfortunately for me.
Olga advised me what to do and vowed to meet me when I get settled at the hostel. The tourism desk recommended Hotel Platypus, and I took off. My taxi driver Camilo attempted to be welcoming, and I was grateful, but the language barrier was way too wide. We got lost more than a couple times, but I didn’t mind and it didn’t matter: the fare was fixed from the airport at about 30,000 Colombian pesos (15USD). Taxi meters are not in vogue in Colombia, which is fine; most Colombians seemed to know how much it should cost to go from pt A to B.
Olga called to say she was taking me to a concert her boyfriend was part of. In between talking to her and absentmindedly changing my clothes, I managed to take a very quick nap. I met Olga waiting for me in her car outside the hostel. It was about dusk.
These eerie mannequins were scattered in many rooftops and balconies in Bogotá, even after Halloween.
We entered a building that led to this courtyard.
Inside, a most fantastic experience was about to start. We sat at the front row.
The concert was really a competition – a part of a big one. Olga’s boyfriend was the manager of some kind of one of the four (or five?) competing groups.
To be really really honest? I liked everyone. Very much. But this, the first group, had to be my favorite. The girls’ hips surely don’t lie; homegirl Shakira would have been so proud.
This guy and his group had some real performance art going on. I took videos, a lot of them, but they were casualties of that fateful moment my camera’s memory card got accidentally wiped out. I nearly lost interest in writing this entry when I found out, but this had to be written, that night was too wonderful not to be immortalized here.
It was like a celebration of exactly what I imagine authentic Colombian music would be — besides everything being in Spanish — a spectacular cocktail of reggae, rock, r&b, etc.. Yikes, I don’t like talking about music as I feel I almost always embarrass myself when I do. I’m about the opposite of a music snob: I (can) listen to everything from Justin Bieber to Rachmaninov. But seriously, Colombian music = da shiznit
Everyone congregated outside after, and I was.. starstruck. But of course I couldn’t talk to anyone except Olga, whom I asked to eat dinner with me. (Was seriously starving, the last thing I ate was that ham and cheese omelet from the plane)
The first and last time I wore that hoodie, which I gave away to the attendant in Cartagena (it wouldn’t fit in my suitcase anymore)
Bogotá and mannequins in balconies
Olga and Isaac took me to a pizza place, where they encouraged me to try lulo – a tropical fruit “exotic” to Colombia. It was oddly yummy.
Group photo! Full disclosure: I fell asleep towards the end of the concert, and Isaac said it was the first time he saw someone fall asleep in a concert. I was so embarrassed, I had to make it up to him and use my five-flights-in-three-days card.
More about Bogotá next!