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01 May 2012

View from Bogota

Even before I landed in Bogota, I fell in love with the city!!

The view from the top as we were descending was simply breathtaking. It was picture-perfect. There were little red buildings, perfectly lined, as if some ancient architect has designed the city and it has never been touched. The streets were very straight and wide and there were small, cute vehicles moving on the roads all in line like a colony of ants (is it 'colony of ants'?) moving in a war like fashion. As I was telling Dhivya, my colleague, the whole scene resembled some of those well structured video games for children.

As I got out of the airport, the love only grew. The city is very neat and clean, with red brick buildings (the leit motif of the city is 'red brick') and wide and well arranged streets. It is very easy to find your way in Bogota. There are roads which flow from South to North, known as 'Carrera' (much like 'Main' in Bangalore) and crossing the Carreras are the 'Calle' which flow from east to west. 'Calle' is like 'Cross' in Bangalore. As you have guessed the Carreras run parallel to each other and so do Calles. Any building in Bogota can be identified as the intersection of a Carrera and a Calle.

Bogota city is surrounded by three mountain ranges. You can see many apartment complexes being built on the hills and you can't but envy those fortunate enough to live in them. The view from anywhere in the city is majestic. I had my room in the 11th floor of my hotel and I could get a splendid panoramic view of the city. The early mornig view is spectacular. As the sun peeps from the top of the mountains on to the city, the city looks like a well ornemented and glittering dancer in the opera on whom the lights are focussed. Unfortunately, I could not take any snaps of the city. I forgot to bring the camera which I had purchased specifically for this trip. The price of forgetfulness!!!

Bogota is much like Bangalore. There is extreme opulance interspersed with extreame poverty. Tourists are adviced from going out in the city alone after evening, especially to the older southern parts of the city where poverty is rampant. There are lots of constructions coming up. Morning I went out for a walk along Carrera 7 ('siete' in spanish for seven) and I couldn't take my eyes off the city. Such beauty, taste and grace. On the side walks you can see vendors selling coffee. Colombia is a coffee country. They have a variety of coffee each better than the next. I had two coffee each cost me 500 Pesos. The coffee was delicious. Of course you can also get tea here but the preferred drink is coffee. As I was walking, I couldn't help but notice the pleasent weather. The temperature here is pleasent with peak being 17 to 18 Degrees and low being around 10 degrees (celcius).

And the Ladies of Lat Am? They are tall, and fair and slender an so beautiful and add to the glamour of the city. It has to be like that, isn't it? A beautiful city needs beautiful people. You can't help but notice the flowing black hair, the chiselled features, the sharp noses and the piercing brown eyes of the ladies. They are much more beautiful than what you see in the pictures in the internet.

I wish I were 'Omar Khayyam' to capture their beauty in words....

Especially since I forgot to bring my camera and I have to depend only on words.

I have fallen in love with this place!!. Why did I forget my camera?......

I could see that you took a sharp breath when I told you that the coffee from a street side vendor cost 500 Pesos. That is something that you need to get adjusted to. In the airport, while exchanging US Dollars, I gave $100. The lady showed me 1880 in her calculator. I assumed that it is 1880 for 100 dollars. Then she handed over 1,88,000 Pesos with each note ranging from 10000 to 20000 pesos. Now I know what is meant by 'hyper inflationary economy'. This kind of exchange rate is common among the latin american countries. So much so that the venezuelan government has brought in a new currency which is 1 / 1000 of the current currency. The companies are having to replace the current transaction currency 'VEB' with the new currency 'VEF'. That is the project I am here in Bogota for.

Note: This article was written in 2008. For some strange reason, I did not publish it. I am rectifying that mistake now.

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