I don't mean to come across as overly negative about these issues but I just have so much to say about the weather and the traffic here in Bogota that I decided to make a separate blog post just about the terrible traffic and generally horrible weather haha. Here in Bogota as I said before, car ownership is only about 20% give or take. But, there is nine million people in this city so that is a lot of cars. Gas here for "Corriente" (regular gas) is about 8500 pesos a gallon. That is $4.78 a gallon! You would think this would deter most people who own cars from driving but it does not seem too. I only complain about the traffic so much because I sit in it all day for my job. For my private teaching I have to go to my client's houses/offices so I routinely spend multiple hours a day just sitting on a bus going nowhere.
Bogota does have a fairly decent (but not unified) transportation system. It is cheap, just one dollar per ride. But, even that has it's downsides. You can't ride the Transmelinio Bus System everywhere (The Metro Buses) so you have to take Colectivo's. That means dealing with much smaller buses that are sometimes so crowded that you are literally packed shoulder to shoulder like refugees or something. You also have to deal with people getting on and off the bus to try and sell you things you generally don't want or need. This system of selling goods on the bus only works because the seller has to give a free whatever it might be to the bus driver. Generally speaking they will just shove their goods into your hands and launch into their spiel. Once they are done talking they come to either collect the money or you give them their goods back. It just annoys me when I have had a long day and just want to get home. Many times you will have to deal with this multiple times on one Colectivo ride. Also, the Colectivo's cost 1450 pesos during the day and 1500 at night. Here it is quite easy to pay a good round number like 1500 but frustratingly hard to have 1450 pesos! So I end up with odd amounts of change all the time.
Bogota does have the "Pica y Placa" days and Ciclovia on Sunday's both of which are aimed at getting the number of cars off the road which I think is good. Pica y Placa means certain cars cannot drive on certain days between 6am and 6pm to help reduce pollution and congestion here, both of which are a problem. Ciclovia is the cycling on Sunday's for four hours a day which is also good. You have to keep in mind though, if people are legally unable to drive their cars they will just load up on the public transport which means for me on P y P days the buses are much more crowded!
Bogota is a huge city and generally speaking if I have to get anywhere I allow myself at minimum an hour. Traffic can sometimes be at a standstill. Bogota is very much like Thailand in the sense that there is road laws and rules but you only know them if you are a local and they are very rarely respected. Locals drive like maniacs and I won't ever be driving here! If there is two lanes of traffic going the same direction side by side, motorcycles make a third lane of traffic by driving in between the cars! The traffic lights here in Bogota are like "racing lights" they go from green, to yellow to red. What really annoys the crap outta me is all the honking! South Americans are the most impatient drivers I have ever seen! If there is line of ten cars and car number one has not started moving the INSTANT it turns green then car number ten will blow his horn (and everyone else too) soon the whole street is going off! This happens all day, all the time and it makes me nuts.
If you think pedestrians have rights in South America forget about it lol. If you are not careful you will get run over. Cars will not stop for you for any reason really. Just as in Asia. You have to walk across quickly and with confidence and hope you make it. If you see an opening you just have to take it! There are very few official cross walks and even when there is, it doesn't matter. I have been run over yet though.You have to hurry though, the lights change quickly and without warning and every swarms all over the road. The all numerical address system here in Bogota can get crazy too. They leave up old obsolete addresses many times and also the signs are posted on every corner of every block but they don't necessarily make sense. In addition, they are quite small. In the day time this is not such a problem but, at night it sucks trying to navigate! I can only get around at night by landmarks.
Now onto the weather. It is generally speaking between 10 and 25 degrees Celsius or 40 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit year round. This is colder than I am used too so I am still not a big fan of it but, Bogota is nestled into a valley with the mountains surrounding it. The weather never really changes here, the only thing that changes is whether it will rain or not. It does rain here quite frequently actually. I am also not a big fan of that! This is truly a four seasons in one day city. Very much like Auckland New Zealand. I never ever leave my house here in Bogota without a jacket and an umbrella, even if it is super sunny and hot outside. It can change quickly! But, Bogota does have it's nice days though. It can be warm and sunny and nice (for a while) I have only had one day here where it has been warm enough to wear my shorts and sandals though :( I miss them! In Thailand I was wearing them every single day and wore my sandals so much I got sandal tan lines haha.
This is a "P.S." but I wanted to let yall know something else interesting about where I live. Bogota has trash collection like most civilized societies in the world but, it is not on a regular schedule and things can get quite dirty here sometimes. So, even though it is completely illegal, there is many many people on horse drawn carts (Yes in 2012 they still have horses and buggies here) and they dig through the trash piles and take what they want. I am forever seeing and hearing the noise of those horses pounding on the pavement. They cause big traffic slow ups sometimes but, even though it is illegal it is tolerated here.
Well this blog post has been almost all negativity but I wanted to vent and get that out of my system haha. Hope yall don't mind. The good news is now I don't have to keep rehashing this over and over and we can move on to more positive things lol. Sorry my mini rant turned into a long drawn out one, you know how I sometimes get carried away lol. Yall take care.