A friend who traveled with me around Colombia sometime ago recently asked me “Why Bogota?” Realizing that we had travelled extensively throughout Colombia and she obviously hadn’t been impressed by the capital city, I asked her where she would have chosen. Just as I expected she responded, “Medellin!” While I do share her enthusiasm with Medellin, I have to standby my decision to stay in Bogota and here’s why.
I’ll admit, my initial experience with the city wasn’t entirely a pleasant one. I tend to be very solar powered, if you will. I realize I’m not unique in this sense but I usually tend seek out the sun. Places like Seattle or London, for instance, would never make the short list of places I would want to live. Now, Bogota isn’t a gloomy or depressing city in my opinion, but you should definitely question the weatherman’s daily forecast. It can go from bright and sunny to dark and rainy at the drop of a hat. I’ve learned to pack for the unexpected when leaving my place for the day. Minor issue for the most part.
Being a born and bred Texas boy I grew up in an environment where it was very common to share pleasantries with one another. Folks genuinely want to know how you are doing and will pause for a quick second to wait for your response. This is not the case in Bogota, nor is it in many other cities of its size. So again, more on me than on the city. I quickly realized that my friendly demeanor wasn’t the norm and that this was going to take some getting used to. Bogotanos or Rolos, as they are referred to locally, are a complex group. I feel like there are many layers to the folks who call Bogota home. Initially they can seem very standoffish or maybe even cold but I assure you this isn’t the case. Some of my closest friends are Rolos. Yes, with a few of them, I did experiencde this initial coldness but as with many other behaviours they seem to be instinctual and nothing personal. Give them a chance. Afterall, good vibes flow both ways. If I had to pick one and just one of the reasons I call Colombia home, it would decisively have to be the quality of its people. Rolos, Costeños (peeps from the coast), Paisas (people from Antioquia), Caleños (Cali peeps), etc. all share the common quality of the Colombian spirit. Founded in love, you can feel the warmth of the people with a simple “amor” or “vecino” or “papi” or even a “marica” (look it up). In a Colombian friend you know you’ve found a friend for life. Not one to ask for favors or help (Texican remember) they have taught me that that’s what friends do. To them it’s not just something they say but something they truly live. I have taken something from every person I have met in Colombia, no I didn’t rob them, but I have taken a lesson or an experience with me that has truly shaped the life that I am making for myself. If you have a Colombian friend I’m certain you agree with me, if you don’t, go get you one and see for yourself! Even if he/she is a Rolo 😉
More to come..
Anything that appears to be an error in spelling or grammar is actually the author’s clever use of the vernacular, and as such is not an error, but rather a carefully placed literary device demonstrating prodigious artistic prowess.
Hola hola to our small, but ever-growing band of adventurers! I’m happy to report that we had some great feedback from VFA’s first blog. One recurring question, however, was…
Who would have thought? Around this time last year, I was exploring Mexico City with my lovely madre when I decided to run the idea