Friday, April 15, 2011

Juan Valdez here we come!

After a nice relaxing month back in Ohio visiting family and friends we are off to our next destination Bogota! When I first found out we were coming here I was rather apprehensive. Like most people, the only thing I knew about Colombia was coffee, cocaine and crime. But after speaking with a lot of people who have either visited or lived in Bogota, I started to feel more comfortable about going.

We are staying in a neighborhood called Rosales (Chapinero district), which is in the northern part of the city and known as one of the wealthy parts of town. The entire city is broken out by zones and the zones in our immediate area are called Zona G, Zona Rosa, Parque de la 93 and Usaquen. These areas are filled with high end restaurants, shopping malls and an active nightlife. All within walking distance from our apartment.

Our new home away from home...
We are staying in an apartment/hotel building. The staff at the hotel are extremely nice and the location is perfect! The best part is I don’t have to coo, do laundry, iron or clean the apartment!! Yes, I know I am very spoiled....
The gang is back together and enjoying our first night out in Bogota.
There is not a lot of activity during the weekday on most of the side streets. This particular street has restaurants one after the other, I call it restaurant row. A lot of these places remind me of restaurants you would see in Chicago, Los Angeles or New York.
A popular bar that has many locations around the city.
One of four shopping malls all within walking distance from our apartment. All the malls are at least 4 floors with a movie theatre at the top and food court area. A lot of American chain restaurants are here which surprised me.
Bogota has a population of around 7.8 million people and is one of the biggest cities in Latin America. The traffic is really bad here but the air pollution is much worse! Not only do you have to get used to being 8,500 feet above sea level but the quality of air is so bad that on a sunny day, which is not often, there is still heavy smog and darkness above you.

They are also experiencing La Nina, a rainy "season" that has latest over a year, so it rains everyday for about 2 - 5 hours. When the sun is out I definitely take advantage of that time to explore the city.
Along some of the major streets there are dedicated bike path lanes on the sidewalks.
Not the prettiest city and definitely a lot different than living in Vienna the last 7 months but each place is unique in their own way. I am looking forward to exploring more of the city in the coming months!
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