Last Sunday I found out the hard way that in this pretty religious country most everything is closed on Sunday. I went to get something to eat at 8pm (not THAT late right?) and EVERYTHING was closed! The only thing I could eat was at that horrid global corporation we like to call McDonald's the only good thing about this is that Maccas has a standard of crappiness no matter where in the world you are haha. It is frustrating when that is your only choice though! I have noticed that Colombia actually has very high food standards. When they are cooking your food they are required to wear masks as to not get you sick. They have great food here and I have had some great meals for less than 3 dollars.
I also managed to see an amazing underground salt mine that they actively mine salt out of but for some reason they decided to build an entire church under the ground! It was one of the coolest things I have ever seen you should check out my pictures on facebook. In addition to this I got to go to a place above Bogotá via cable car called Monserrate and it was a (rare) beautiful day and I had an amazing overview of the entire city (again check my pictures on facebook)
Bogotá actually has a really modern really great city bus system called Transmelinio they are large double busses like two busses connected together that can seat 45 people sitting and 150 standing (according to the card on the door) but there is always like 487 people in there haha. That I would change, and I would also change the fact that everyone enters and exits from the same points so there is a lot of crowding. But it is 75 cents USD for a ticket to anywhere and the busses have their own lanes so no traffic! It's great :) Taxis are also a great cheap option. The most expensive fare I paid was 11 USD and that was for an hour in a taxi! You can get anywhere cheaply and quickly and the drivers were for the most part very nice to me and honest I know I never got ripped off because their meter has a number that they read from a card to see how much to charge you and they have to show you the card. i.e. 148 is 8000 pesos (4 USD). I also got to practice my spanish with them.
I really wanted to see a soccer game in Colombia but unfortunately for me it was the finals so tickets were sold out and the scalpers were charging me triple the price so I said no. I have come to find out there is a few "levels" of police here in Colombia. There is the private security guards who just have a baton and nothing else and basically stand around. Then, there is the policia who actually have guns and look fairly intimidating they are all very nice but I am sure you don't want to mess with them. The next level up is police who walk around with very big scary dogs that I am quite sure will rip your face off.
Luckily every one of these dogs I saw had a muzzle on. The final level is the "Policia Nationale" and the general army. These guys have automatic assault rifles and I got the impression they shoot first and ask questions later. These guys were dead serious.
The Policia Nationale were the ones at the soccer game, they were all armed to the teeth. So I got the feeling that those games get pretty routy. There was people (and police everywhere) maybe it was better I didn't go haha. But, I survived without a scratch and got the Transmelinio back home.
Many people in South America and Asia have very common birth defects that would be fixed at birth in westernized countries or even detected prenatally. But, in those countries they just don't know about it or they can't do anything about it so people live with these common problems and struggle through life and have to beg because these countries also don't have any social security programs so it is every man for himself. It is quite sad actually because there is nothing I can really do for these people as a traveler besides give them the change I have in my pocket. Some of the beggars are really creative though I have mentioned many street performers/beggars I saw in Australia/New Zealand but in Colombia I saw a full on total cheerleading perforance in the middle of traffic! Two guys and a girl were doing flips and stuff in the middle of the intersection! One of the craziest things I have ever seen!
I had an amazing three course dinner with some great great helado (icecream) a bottle of wine and the whole romantic deal for me and my date for 60 bucks USD. It was quite the deal and I knocked her socks off for cheap. We had a live band there and then a movie for 6 dollars for dos boletos (2 tickets). Que Paso Ayer Parte Dos (The hangover 2) was super funny! I loved my time in Colombia it was one of my favourite countries so far and I had an amazing time! Thanks so much to both my hosts and all the people I met and too all the people who helped me out! :)
Until next time,Tyler
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