Archive for April, 2010

Something unexpected in my herb garden

by Alex on Apr.28, 2010, under Blog

So I bought a chilli plant and a rosemary thing – what is it, a plant, a bush, not quite sure…

Anyway, I put them on an old planter box thing on one of our 5 (five) balconies and of course I water them diligently.


Seems that their drainage has facilitated the propagation of some other herbs that have been lying dormant for a while:



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DAS – tourist visa extensions

by Alex on Apr.26, 2010, under What to do in Bogotá

Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad
Edificio Platino
Calle 100 No. 11B-27
(1) 601 7200 (landline)

Opening times:
Monday to Thursday 07:30 to 16:00
Friday 07:30 to 15:00

To call a landline from a mobile/cell in Colombia prefix the landline number with 03 followed by the region code. For Bogotá prefix with 031

Click here for instructions as to how to extend your tourist visa

Find DAS on the map here

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Agent Frank Patrick, FBI.

by Alex on Apr.26, 2010, under Blog

So my mate Andy, owner of Cranky Crock (hostel) had to turn down a small acting part as it was being shot on a Friday and Friday is his BBQ day. I think he wishes that he’d asked me to do the barbie, instead of giving me the part.

The week before, my friend Sarah the Barber and I had been witness to a massive drugs bust near her house, complete with guns and blood (I even managed to get a picture of the huge stash:)


being filmed as part of a new series of a popular soap opera El Cartel de los Sapos. A week later I was to be recording with the same bunch of guys…

The scene was set in a strip club brothel type place. Normally, working on Latin America time gets right on my tits – I arrived at 11:00 and we didn’t shoot ’til 16:00. This day though I wasn’t that bothered about the time – being surrounded by scantily clad and interested in the ‘gringo’ Latinas was far preferable to hanging out in the apartment working away with the only scant cladding to be seen belonging to Travis my housemate and business partner as he wanders past me betowelled on his way to the shower.

To be fayre I was a bit nervous during the first walk-through of my scenes, surrounded by professional actors, some of whom had travelled from Mexico for the filming, film crew, director etc, even the mostly nekkid laydies didn’t have much of a calming influence. After a couple of goes though I got into my stride, as it were – it seems to me that Latin soaps are mostly about holding massively exaggerated facial expressions for overly-long periods of time, which I think I’m quite good at.

It’s due to air in a few weeks and although I’m sure I’ll look a proper spaz, I’m quite looking forward to it. I wonder how many of the natives will question why an FBI man has a Brit accent. Far more I’m sure than those who will pick out the double entendre in my fave line: ‘You’re very good looking. You can pull it off.’

Bit embarrassing but if you want to see my 5 seconds of TV stardom then click here and go to 18 minutes…

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Extending tourist visas in Colombia

by Alex on Apr.26, 2010, under Blog

Extension of tourist visas is administered by the DAS (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad). My understanding is that one is entitled to stay in Colombia as a tourist for six months per calendar year but from experience DAS will only grant up to six consecutive months.

Each time your extend your tourist visa you need to pay COP 72,800 (you do this at a bank, details below), whether you are granted a 30, 60 or 90 day extension is up to the discretion (or lack thereof) of the official that you deal with. DAS in Bogotá have recently been issuing 60 day extensions without question.

The first time you apply for an extension you need to present the following at a DAS office:

  • Completed tourist visa extension form (download here)
  • Photocopy of the photo page of your passport
  • Photocopy of your entry stamp into Colombia
  • A 3 x 4 cm photo with a white background
  • Receipt of payment of visa extension fee
  • Your passport
  • You will need to include on the form the name and address of a Colombian who can act as a reference. After submitting the above you’ll have your fingerprints taken. For all subsequent extensions you only need to provide receipt of payment, as well as your passport of course.

    You can make your payment at any branch of Davivienda or Bancafe (banks).

    Below is an example of how to fill in the pay-in slip, note the price has increased (click to enlarge):


    For tourist visa extensions in Bogotá you need to go to the DAS office in Edificio Platino at Calle 100 number 11B-27 (Tel: 601-7200), it’s open Monday to Thursday from 07:30 to 16:00 and Friday from 07:30 to 15:00.

    From the centre, a cab will cost less than COP 10,000. You can also take the transmilenio (big red bendy bus system with dedicated carriageways) from Museo del Oro to Calle 100 for COP 1,600. The quickest transmilenio bus to get is the B74, other B busses will get you to calle 100 but will make more stops. From the calle 100 stop you can either walk, take a local bus or a cab for the 10 or so blocks east (towards the mountains) to the DAS office.

    Take a book, sometimes it can take 7 minutes, other times 3 hours…

    Cheers, Alex

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