(Bogotá: At the Beginning)
Dear blog readership of 3,
Sorry for the light posting. I’d like to regale you with stories from Panama, like the time I kicked the zip-lining guide in the nuts. I’d like to flash my super amazing pictures of tropical flowers before your eyes. I’d like to recreate the color, the diversity, the absolute wonder we saw as we snorkeled.
But, instead 4 days after arriving home, I headed back south to Bogotá, Colombia. Bogotá is a beautiful city. I’d been here before and I was looking forward to having a little more time to enjoy it.
One thing I love about it is that it reminds me of my hometown, Quito, Ecuador. Both cities are situated high in the Andes mountains, bringing a refreshingly cool year-round temperature. (It is especially refreshing after weeks and weeks of 90+ degree weather in Oklahoma this summer.)
Both cities feature gorgeous colonial architecture and mountain views on their edges. Quito is a bit higher in altitude at 9000+ feet above sea level, while Bogotá is at around 8,500 feet. Quito lies in a much narrower valley, stretching the city into a long, narrow swath between sky-scraping mountains. Bogotá is much larger than Quito’s 1.5 million population at 6.7 million people. It’s people are similarly a mix of shades between light and dark, and both are equally friendly. I love Latinos.
I could go on. But today, in glimpses from taxi windows and in quick trips down the street between meetings, a strange feeling came over me. Bogotá might be more beautiful (Don’t tell any Quiteños I said that!) Here in the northern part of the city, old architecture has been carefully modernized, and new construction is built to look European and old. They use a lot more brick in their construction and it lends color to the gray city skyline. The city seems more modern, like it has continued to keep up with the rest of the world, while Quito seems to grow in great spurts that leads to great contrast.
In Quito, a sparkling new movie theater will spring up next to a decrepit old, market. Then, within a few years, half the lights in the movie theater marquee don’t work anymore, the bathrooms smell atrocious and the trendy have moved on to some other newer locale. I haven’t lived there in 12 years, though and much may have changed.
Here’s the part where I impress you with photos of the city that I’ve taken since I’ve been here. And here’s the part where I say: hotel computer.
You’ll have to wait. Sorry!