Morning started off with coffee, ham & cheese panini sandwich and fried egg. There was a grape juice from some Jamaica flower also waiting for me on the formal dining room table in the lovely Colombian family’s home who so graciously hosted me. Abuela, Tia, Tio and Hijo. Family is what I felt in this home. Brown old fashioned wooded cedar chest, hutch, curio cabinet with tiny Colombian artifacts and figurines. The feeling you’d get when you may have visited your own grandmothers home. Casa de Abuela, “home of grandmother”. Thank you.
Now it’s time to meet a Colombia friend at the local Juan Valdez coffee shop. Cappuccino was my choice as my second round of coffee in less than three hours. Yes, three hours from breakfast to the coffee shop around the corner cause I was struggling to buy my ticket to my next destination… Cartagena. A beach town on the northeastern side of the country. Why am I booking a ticket for my next city visit three days away? Great question. It seems, Colombia celebrates a lot of holidays and there’s another this weekend and flights may not be available for my normal departure date of Friday. Today is Wednesday.
So my host and I walk over to the coffee shop and in Bogota it’s an inland city unlike the beach cities I prefer to visit, but hey, you have to experience all geographical areas to call yourself a true “Trvlr”. So upon arrival to the shopping center I have my first opportunity to exchange my American dollars for Colombian Pesos. One hundred twenty U.S. dollars I give the attendant and he gives me $273.600 pesos. I know what you’re thinking. Yeah, sounds like a lot of money. To some, yes. To put in perspective, $1.00 = $2,280 pesos (on this day). A McDonalds Big Mac is $5,000 pesos ($2.19 US). So you see how your money can stretch a bit here in Colombia.
Now my second round of coffee has been had. Money exchange check. Next, headed to meet my hosts friend mom because he’s told her all about the lady from the US who’s a solo traveler and visiting Bogota. Across the street we march all the while I’m noticing cement construction apartment building going up everywhere. Multi-floor high rises on almost every corner so of course I inquired to my new friend. How much are these apartments? He said the range is between $500-$900 furnished. I just looked in awe. This is the north part of Bogotá well one would think you are making it ok. Not the extreme ok, but just ok. My mind is thinking. Nah, keep it moving Lady. So upstairs we go, I meet mom who looks like his sister and speak no English, but with my “what’s left of eighth to twelfth grade Spanish” I tried to hold a conversation with some
translation help and we had a lot of laughs. She’s nice, sweet and kind. I guess I understand now when people think I’m my sons’ sister or girlfriend. Again, Nah..I don’t think so. After great dialogue and laughs it’s time to head out to see the city sights when my host friend, who happens to have a beauty of a motorcycle parked downstairs offers me a tour of the city and some countryside. How could I pass this up? As we departed the apartment you best believe I was donned in my/his spare riding gear. I’ll share more in my next post. Please come back to check it out. I’m sure you will love it.
Now it’s time to head back and gather my things to head to the airport and I’ve been checking my email all day and noticed I hadn’t received my confirmation for my flight tonite leaving for Cartagena. I remain calm and ask for help. Come to find out and researching what I thought was my reservation number was absolutely nothing. So my hosts suggest we go to the airport to see what happened and if I can finalize the ticket. VivaColombia Airline is similar to Spirit Airlines in the states. No nonsense, alacarte, no apologizes and no freebies. If they could charge for information they probably would. The representative tells us in translated Spanish that my payment never went through because they don’t take credit cards only debit cards with Visa or MasterCard Logo. HUH? Are you freakin’ kidding me? There was no error message telling me this nor was there anything telling me that my credit wasn’t processed. Now I’m upset inside, but doing my best to be better at handling freakout and spasms. So I was calm. My host and his friend did a lot of Spanish talking to convey my concerns. NOTHING!!!! I have to rebook. Now it’s one hour before flight and the airport internet or their website is extremely slow and buffering constantly. I made over 5 attempts to purchase a new ticket and the prices kept fluctuating from $50US to $147US. Well my original ticket with a checked bag was only $60. Would have been $35 if I would have booked it before I left the states. Lesson learned. So finally I get a new ticket booked but for 7am the next morning. Can you guess what I did next? Come on, guess. Some of you got it. I stayed and slept at the airport. There is no way I was leaving with the overly congested traffic and make it back for 5am to catch my flight. I will be sleeping at the foot of the gates’ door. Funny and serious. These are some of the things that go on in a nomadic travelers life. I can complain and get upset. Sure, but why? I will still have the opportunity to volunteer with the youth in the Old City of Cartagena when I arrive. Things happen for a reason and I will go with that. So now I wait. My phone and Ipad is charging and next my computer. Buenos Noches de Bogota.