It's always appreciated when the travel gods grant a smooth flight, and ours down to Bogota was about as smooth as it gets. At a fault of our own we about missed the flight out of Miami by not watching my watch close enough but a call from American got us moving in short order. The scene as you fly into the Andes surrounded Bogota is an impressive one. Bogota sits in a plateau bowl at little more than 8600ft high and with peaks reaching up another 3000 around it. The city of 6.6 million sprawls out before you as you come in, colliding urban sprawl with the lush vegetation of the steep sides of the surrounding mountains. Typically large cities, at least in the states seem to sprawl forever tapering into suburbia before making it to the country or waters edge or desert. The contrast of void, lush green surroundings to urban mecca is a unique one.
We touched down around noon and caught a cab across the city. In San Jose, Costa Rica we were greeted by an anything but professional looking secondary taxi market, so I was surprised at the suit and tied cohorts trying to steal us away from the ready and waiting queue of official cabs. Despite the warnings and online stories the cabby was as honest as they come. The meter was on the second we got in the car and despite some election weekend road closures we were at the hostel within a few quarters of the hostels estimate.
Once we were parked and unpacked we headed out to see what the surroundings were like. Being the person I am the first thing I asked for was the nearest place to buy a SIM card. We set off down toward Carerra 7 and discovered a street alive with street performers, street food and vendors for every knick-knack you would ever desire. The street performers ranged from painted up clowns telling soap opera like stories using the crowd to a Michael Jackson impersonation in white face, a black hat, and a slick moonwalk. Sadly, as quickly became a reoccurring theme, our directions led us about a block off to the west and north of the Claro store and we gave up.
While on my search for connectivity we stumbled by the bus station for the Museum Del Oro and decided to get out of the sun for a few and see what the Museum had to offer. Stuffed with relics of the days past and an bit of context for where they came from and why, it was well worth the 6.000 pesos (3 dollars) and hour of our time.
With breakfast hours behind us and miles on our legs we made a pit stop on our way back to the hostile for the most notable of Colombian street foods, some empanadas. There seems to be a stall for these stuffed and fried pastries about every hundred feet and I have yet to stumble across any that were anything but delicious.
After a little down time on satiated stomachs and an early start to the day we headed out to find some dinner. After wandering around the still raging street extravaganza on Carerra 7 we broke off into some unexplored and all but vacant streets not to far from the hostile and settled on a small restaurant called Restaurante Civitas with a quaint feel. Our waitress was smiling ear to ear the whole time and was incredibly accommodating of or utter lack of Spanish. After street food for lunch a meal that would have been at home in the streets of Asheville was a welcome way to close out the day.