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Bogotá at night, from on top

by Alex on Aug.02, 2009, under Blog

I’m sat in the kind of living roomy place in the Platypus Hostel in Bogotá and of the 9 of us here there are 6 with laptops – what a change since my last traveling stint in 2002. Robbing a backpacker in those days meant you’d be looking at a battered copy of Lonely Planet, some useless travelers cheques, at best a soon-to-go-out-of-date APS camera, some fisherman’s trousers and a couple of pairs of skidded pants. Nowadays you could jackpot it right up with a laptop, iPhone and massive 12 megapixel SLR. And, to be fair, robberies are pretty rife around here – La Canderaria in Bogotá. It’s a pretty place: an old colonial part of town close to the historic centre with lots of little eateries, hostels, universities and I guess guys with blades judging by the number of people I’ve chatted to recently who have been robbed at knife point. Now, don’t worry mum I’ve not heard of anyone getting hurt, it seems as if the local ladrones have discovered the easy targets that are non-attentive tourists wandering round a nice yet poor area supposedly laden with phones, cash and cameras. To advertise the fact that I’m not such an easy target I’ve recently purchased a tambo – an extendable baton that fits neatly in the pocket and can be drawn at a moments notice to suggest that they might like to seek out a less potentially violent source of profit.

Anyway, that is not what this post was to be about. I’d taken some lovely photos of the lights of Bogotá at night, was struggling to think of anything to say about them and now seem to have run away on several tangents. Oh well, back to the pics…

I’d not been out to a good good restaurant since leaving the UK – coming on for a year ago, and the other day booked a table at the restaurant on the Cerro de Monserrate, the big hill thing overlooking Bogotá with both a cable car and funicular railway to take you to the top. The decor, ambiance and general quality of service was fantastic which is a rare find in Colombia. It’s perfectly usual to go into a shop, bar or restaurant here and be consummately ignored for minutes on end and I’m sure hours were you to be happy to stand about unattended for that length of time to see if it would really happen.

There was a slight down side, and of course when I say slight I mean reasonably significant – it was a French restaurant which as a vegetableanarian is second only in the ‘what can you knock up for me’ stakes to dining at an abattoir. The meat looked pretty high-level though and value-for-money-wise at less than 11 quid for a Chateaubriand, anyone spending pounds, dollars or euros and not yet scared of all the zeros involved in spending pesos would be well happy with the set up. Wine though is a different matter, it being easy to spend 10 times the cost of your main course on a bottle, which amounting to significantly more than half the minimum monthly salary here in Colombia seems a little odd, especially considering how much wine is produced a few countries down in Argentina and Chile.

Anyway, all of this has nothing to do with the photos, and it’s getting late, so:

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