Bogota, Colombia 2017 Part 2

Bogota Street Art

Continued from Part 1

 

The best way I know how to take in a new city is by wandering.

Bogota is quite vibrant and there is an energy to it that makes you feel like you are walking through a movie - incredible murals are dotted throughout the city, dancers perform in the malls and public thoroughfares, people swarm every which way through the streets. Angelica and I walked and talked, stopping to observe a little here and there, but mostly talking.

We stopped a while at Bogota Beer Company and tried a few beers, which I think make the best beers in Colombia (but that is another post). We were joined by a frind of Angelica’s before heading off to another bar and meeting more, then finished the night at a party where I met more of her friends, including a number of French expats who are part of a growing community here.

Bogota Book Fair 2017The following day, we went to the Book Fair of Bogota (FILBO). When Angelica suggested it, I thought it would be an interesting way to get a feel for the culture of Bogota. Filbo is a massive event consuming the entirety of the convention grounds – 8 multilevel warehouses, each themed – and it was filled with people of all ages. We were met by some of Angelica’s friends and spent the afternoon and evening wandering the event. It was a bibliophile and pop-culturist’s paradise. Everywhere there was something to catch the eye – second hand books, new editions, hardcovers, mass publications, textbooks, comics, art and artisanal products, government and educational displays, foundations and more. The sheer variety and volume of the fair was more than I expected, and far more diverse than anything I’ve seen in Australia. I think most of Bogotano society were reflected here and proudly.

Once again I learned the lesson of my travels: Homogeneity of culture is a strange fantasy we indulge in; we are and always have been a collective of disparate and diverse people finding a consensus we call society.

Usaquien, Street PerformanceMy final day in Bogota was spent visiting the markets of Usaquien. Usaquien was once a separate pueblo, but has been absorbed into Bogota as it grew. It is a beautiful part of the city, and the markets are part bric-a-brac and part artisanal. Another friend was meeting us here, so we went for coffee. At this coffee shop, I introduced Angelica to one of the great Australian cultural practices – The Tim Tam slam! She adored it, and why shouldn’t she? It’s great.

Amistad, ColombiaThe rest of the day was spent walking the markets and talking, sharing a wonderful day. Towards the evening we stopped at ‘London Calling Pub’ for a quick bevy, where they had Cooper’s Pale Ale, a beer from Adelaide. So, I introduced my friends to a South Australian beer, which they enjoyed. Coopers is a very different style of beer to what is normally drunk in Colombia.

It may not seem like I did very much in my days. I could have hit the clubs, explored the gastronomy, run around the city like mad man trying to see all the sights listed on Trip Advisor, but that’s just not my way. These few days were me living a non-romantic version of Before Sunrise (1995), which is my favourite way to explore – gentle meanderings through the unknown, learning through the lens of another.