2016, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to Colombia Day 12 – February 21, 2016

It rained today, the first time it rained on our trip. And that was kind of funny because it was supposed to rain the entire time we were in Medellin and I think a few other times. Anyway, it was just sprinkling too.

We took a cab to the bus stop and had to wait a bit for the bus. It was pretty full so, for the first time on the trip, Jenn and I couldn’t sit together. The bus ride was interesting as the guy we paid for the tickets hawked maps to us for half the trip. But hey, for under $3 for the trip, it’s hard to complain too much.

The flight from Medellin to Bogota was so insanely short that I think it was the shortest one I’ve ever been on in my life: 25 minutes. When we got back to Bogota, it wasn’t raining like it was supposed to, but it was cooler than when we left and I was wrong to have warn my shorts.

We had booked a different hotel in Bogota for this second stay because we were told by hotels.com that they had a shuttle, for an unbelievably low price. However, Jenn contacted them ahead of returning to Bogota and they quoted us a price that was higher than what we knew we would pay for a cab. So we took a cab. When we got to the hotel, we checked in and asked about a shuttle the next day to the airport and they said they didn’t even provide shuttles. So I guess the hotels.com profile was just way off. Anyway, it didn’t matter, and we weren’t upset about it, it was just funny given that our new hotel was essentially around the corner from the first place we stayed.

We went across the street to buy souvenirs: Aguardiente. I bought four mickeys for less than CAD$25 total, in a high end grocery.

We walked around Zona Rosa, this time trying to walk in a different area than we did previously. That led us outside of the rich neighbourhood rather swiftly. It’s incredible how, sometimes, neighbourhoods just end and transition, in the space of a block or two, into something richer or poorer.

So we found our way back to Zona Rosa and headed to the Bogota Beer Company. They’re ubiquitous in Bogota and I don’t really get their business model. Within maybe 15 blocks of our hotel, they had 3 brewpubs. Additionally they have these Bodegas where they just sell beer. And they are everywhere. I don’t know how the beer scene can support this many pubs, but anyway…We had wanted to go to BBC when we had been in Bogota the last time however it was always packed. We figured if we went early on a Sunday we’d have better luck.

And we did. We got seats at the bar; Jenn ordered their red ale – which she said was pleasantly hoppy – and I ordered on e of the hoppiest beers I have had in a while: Septimazo. I was really impressed that a South American brewery would brew an APA that was this hoppy (more of an IPA, in my mind). Jenn then had a coffee stout.

As we were finishing our beers, the man who had been ranting in English to a guy at the end of the bar turned to us, no doubt having overheard our English. And so we got our one and only genuine Angry American Ex Pat Experience. The man, who claimed to have been living in Bogota for 8 years, complained to us about Colombia, Colombians, Colombian food and his ex girlfriend. (Also, it’s worth noting, his Spanish appeared to be not so good.) We got him on the subject of baseball, so we were mostly able to talk to him about that (and hockey) until we were able to get and pay the bill. And we politley excused ourselves, saying we had an early flight. The man was exactly like I imagine those ex pats who flee rich countries for poorer ones to be: he was unhappy, he appeared to have been drinking before reaching the bar, he appeared to be unwilling to adjust to his surroundings. Anyway, it was an experience.

At this point I just wanted to stop for a moment and mention something weird about Colombia. The 4 hotels we stayed at in Bogota, Cartagena and Medellin all used different cable providers. And all 4 of these cable providers had English channels as part of the package. But every single set of English channels was different. So FX would be English at one hotel and Spanish at the others. And there were lots like that. Now, I don’t believe for a moment that a country whose official language is not English should have English channels, but if they’re going to, why the hell aren’t they the same from cable package to cable package? I mean, it must cost significantly more to overdub shows than subtitle them, so why would you do both, depending on the provider? Anyway, just something interesting we noticed.

I should also mention that, though it threatened to rain, it didn’t. But this afternoon was probably the coldest weather we experienced during the trip (before sunset). My guess is that it was 16 or 17 C.

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