Colombia 2013

posted by : Jon Kroupa on 05/26/2013
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Photos: Colombia

I recently went on a very short trip to Bogota, the capital of Colombia. While I was there I ate at a couple of restaurants , found as much as a castle as one can expect in South America, and got engaged.

Because my trip was short I missed out on a number of activities I know are available but didn't have time for. Such activities include:

  • Getting mugged and receiving no help from the nearby police / security forces.
  • Getting kidnapped.
  • Getting murdered.
  • Taking a taxi in order to be mugged, kidnapped, and ultimately murdered.
  • Being forced to become a drug mule.

I was staying with a family that lives in the most expensive part of Bogota. I'm told that all U.S. Embassy workers are required to live in this area. This is the U.S.'s way of helping to stimulate Colombia's economy (because we aren't buying enough of their illegal drugs). The higher income area subsequently meant it was reasonably safe and enjoyed an environment free from oppressors and graffiti. All housing seemed to be gated and have either private security or military police patrolling the area.

One thing this area isn't free from is horns. The rule of the road is the largest vehicle whens the right of way, regardless of anything else. Pedestrians would be wise to only cross the street when there are vehicles anywhere in sight, because these people are not even going to slow down for you. Motorcyclists (which are en mass) need to live every day in fear of being crushed by the cars around them. A car wishing to change lanes with a motorcycle next to them has only to begin changing lanes and push the motorcycle out of the way. Sometimes out of the way means mashing them into a bus. Perhaps the car will sound its horn (or siren) as a courtesy, but that isn't necessary. The law of the Colombian jungle says you can run anyone off the road at any time, as long as you have the bigger vehicle.

I was told by more than one person that Colombia has the most beautiful women in the world. If there are amazingly beautiful women there they are hidden away and not to be found in the richest part of their capital city. What little I saw of the native population did not impress me in the slightest that they stood alone above the world. Perhaps they need to be seen through under the influence of some of the local agricultural products.

What more can be said about this trip? I mentioned a castle park. This was a large park which had turrets surrounding it. The story goes it used to be a private yard and the person donated it to the city. The turrets and stone walls are like castle walls (or a walled city) , albeit a very small ones. The park has lots of fountains, benches, and playgrounds. After taking around 500 engagement photos a woman in a security uniform came up to us and told us photos were not allowed. This information was surprising because we saw professional photographers in the park that very day. Fortunately we had already taken the bulk of our pictures, so we left.

I did the unthinkable on this trip and actually purchased plane tickets. I've had my share of stressful experiences in the past and I didn't want to worry about it this time. I flew on Spirit Airlines for the majority of my trip.

This was my first experience flying Spirit Airlines so I was surprised about a few things. First was their seats do not recline, at all. Second was on some of their aircraft the seats are packed so tightly together that my knees are pressed into the back of the seat in-front of me. I am not exactly a tall person and it was uncomfortable. I can only imagine how much worse it would be for people taller than myself.

Spirit Airlines charges you extra for nearly everything. You want to bring more luggage than just a personal item? That will be $25. You want to check a bag? $35. You to pick your own seat on the plane? $10. You want a snack, a drink, or even just a water? $2 or more. The only thing I decided to pay for was the luxury of a carry on item. Everything else I gambled with. I ate nothing on any of the 3-5 hour flights and I took the seat they gave. Three out of the four flights I flew with them for this trip were late in some way. The flight from Vegas to Florida was 2 hours late leaving because the plane had hit a bird and needed to be thoroughly inspected. The flight leaving for Bogota left a little late, the flight returning was nearly 2 hours late, and it was a tight timeline from getting off the plane to making my connecting flight. I had to pass through immigration, customs, and security in the space of 45 minutes. In the end it all worked out, but having tickets can be just as stressful as flying standby.

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