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Liz On The Loose
31st Jul 2018 - Journey to the Galapagos
Ola Colombia (updated)

I was stressed for Cheryl’s luggage situation when I woke up.  I was surprised that she was surprisingly calm.  I quickly checked Facebook and saw that she got her luggage from the front desk around midnight (I guess I was asleep)!  Hooray.  We were so excited.  We packed our items and headed down for a quick breakfast before catching the airport shuttle.  

I have failed to note that driving in Panama is a little chaotic.  Lanes are a suggestion.  They have to have stop signs and traffic lights to stop traffic...and that probably only works 50% of the time.  Also, if you want to turn and there is an endless stream of cars, you just continually inch out blocking three lanes of traffic until everyone is forced to yield to allow you to make your turn.  I would definitely not want to rent a car here.  

At the airport, we checked our bags in a said a little prayer that we would see them again.  I used the hour before we had to be at our gate as an opportunity to search for another ring in the shops.  I found one.  Yay!

We boarded the plane.  Cheryl and I were placed across the aisle from each other.  As I walked down the aisle, I could see that my seat had big lettering that said, “Not operational”.  No one said anything, so I sat there and assumed it meant that I couldn’t recline.  Right before take off, a different attendant came up to me and said that I couldn’t sit there.  He offered me a different seat and I said that I would pick the option that was closer to my sister.  He then said that we should sit together in our own exit route with so much leg room.  Score.  

We landed in Bogotá and got a taxi to our hotel relatively quickly (as our suitcases were one of the first ones on the luggage belt).  A quick note here about taxis in Colombia, there is no meter.  The airport taxi guy had a counter at his rear view mirror and the numbers were skyrocketing.  It is not uncommon for tourists to get ripped off on airport taxi.  We were worried, because soon the amount would equal almost all of the money I took out at the ATM.  When we arrived at the hotel, I believe the driver was asking “how much would you like to pay in Spanish” but it was to quick for me.  Then he said a number that was super low.  We said yes.  (We have found all taxis to be much cheaper here in Colombia compared to Panama...and the cars are much nicer.)  Our hotel is incredibly nice.  It was also filled with men here on business.  There were also a couple of sports teams here.  The male to female ratio is easily 10:1.  It is a very swanky hotel and I am clearly not dressed appropriately.  The hotel has orange accents and is very modern in design.  We got a room with a view of the mountain and were happy to get over there while it wasn’t raining.

I enjoyed looking at the graffiti art on the way to the cable car.  The city is very clean with many great graffiti art walls that just draw your attention.  We headed up the cable car to the top of Monserrate.  We headed to the church sanctuary to view the Virgin Mary that inspires thousands of people to climb this hill each month as a mini pilgrimage.  Then we ended up taking a slow meandering walk around the grounds taking pictures of birds, flowers, and architecture.  It was good that we took it slowly, as I am very susceptible to altitude sickness and I was feeling sluggish.  A flight of stairs at the top of the mountain made my heart pound.  Once we had photographed almost every inch, it was time to go for our dinner reservation of Casa San Isidro.  A nice upscale French restaurant allowed us to have a delicious meal (I had Chateaubriand and a lychee mousse with rose sherbet dessert that was deconstructed and fancy enough to be on Masterchef).  We enjoyed watching the sunset, and watching the city come to life with lights.

A quick taxi ride home and went to our room to see that the government building across from us was having a soccer game.  We watched about 5 minutes before it ended.  Another point I keep forgetting to make was that we kept hearing dog barking.  We are high up in our hotel and couldn’t figure it out, as we couldn’t see any residential buildings.  When we Googled our area we learned that the space across from us was a government building and we figured that the security dogs had a kennel right by our window.  We hope to see them at some point.  As bedtime was drawing near, I went to close our blackout blinds and saw that right beside the soccer field, they were setting up a stage with disco lights and getting ready for a big party...on a Tuesday?!?!  If they were partying tonight, we would be fast asleep before it even starts.

Cheryl suggested we listen to a podcast on the Galápagos Islands while I type my blog.  She started to fall asleep and then woke up right as it was time to turn it off.  She has an uncanny knack to wake herself up.  

Well, we are off to bed.  


For Dad: 

PTY-BOG - Airbus 320

Next: A lovely start and end to a wonderful day in Bogotá
Previous: Capybara tracking, shopping, and a rooftop swim!

Diary Photos

Tryp Hotel

Monserrate Cable Car

Bogotá at night

Church atop Monserrate

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