After an 8 hour ($12) bus ride from Armenia, we finally arrived to the capital city of Bogotá during rush hour. Our bus languished along the bustling streets and we witnessed the dramatic transformation from the unpaved streets of south Bogotá, to the clean, illuminated city center. We waited in a large queue for a taxi to our host’s house located on the northern side of the city. Our new host, Felipe (a lawyer), greeted us at his family’s home dressed in a business suit and tie, before having to return to the city for another meeting that night. He showed us around his home and his room, which we would be staying in for the next week, insisted we help ourselves to any food we found, and turned on some Colombian music for our listening delight. Felipe lives with his mother, an importation / exportation consultant, his brother Julián, who is studying musical composition at the university, and their adorable golden retriever / lab, Tobías, who is preparing himself for the perfect role on a mainstream (North) American sitcom.
Most of our time in Bogotá was spent stuffing ourselves with ambrosial homemade meals of carne asada, fried plantain empanadas stuffed with cheese, spaghetti carbonara, tamales de pipián (sweet potato / onion / pepper / saffron mixture with pork steamed in banana leaves and served with a spicy peanut sauce), and ajiaco (corn and potato soup) served with chicken, rice, avocado, and capers. Felipe’s family (including Consuelo, their cook / housekeeper) were extremely welcoming to us and we truly felt at home the entire time. One night we were able to repay them by cooking a vegetarian (only the mother eats fish and meat) Thanksgiving meal of mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, green bean casserole, and stuffing (from scratch). They must have enjoyed it as much as we did, because when we returned from visiting Villa de Leyva the next day, all of the leftovers were demolished.
Our routine in Bogotá was tranquil–we woke up, had a light breakfast of fresh fruit and zucaritas (frosted flakes), worked out, researched our day’s activities, showered (with hot water), and awaited whatever majestical feast Consuelo had planned for lunch, before venturing off to explore the massive metropolis. We explored la Candelaria, Museo del Oro, funicular to Monserrate, Museo Botero, Museo Nacional, and the city center. In the evenings we met up with Felipé at Bogotá Beer Company, Usaquén, la Macarana, Cervecería Irlandesa, or simply a public park. We told travel stories, lost in cultural translation jokes, described each others’ family, discussed possible business ventures with his mother, and entertained how we wanted our lives to be in the future. We thoroughly enjoyed Felipé and his family and plan on seeing them again expeditiously.