Monday, May 07, 2007


I've only been here for a day and a half, but it already seems like a long time. In a place as different as this, my brain is working so much trying to figure everything out that I never have trouble sleeping.

Even the plane ride over here was different. This was the oldest looking plane that I can ever remember being on. Maybe just because the flights to Bogotá are cheaper than others of the same distance... I don't know. The whole immigration/customs experience was much more chaotic than you can usually expect. Granted I can't read many of the signs, but even the ones that were in English didn't make a whole lot of sense. So my approach to the whole mess was to just get in the shortest lines, and to keep walking until someone stopped me. When I finally got to the doors to the outside, I was stunned for a second. I thought I was just going to walk out and Angelica would be waiting there to pick me up. Quite a few other people had the same plan apparently. I could barely see the street through the windows. There were people pressed against the glass, and they were all waving and tapping to their respective loved ones. From the door to the car, I was asked if i needed a taxi by 5 different people. I never felt like I was in danger, but I was happy to be in the car driving away from all of those people.

The next morning we woke and had a huge breakfast. Here they eat a lot in the morning and work down from there... which is pretty much the exact opposite from how I normally operate. We then drove to the Catedral de Sal, which is an underground network of chapels and the stations of the cross. It is making use of the caverns created when mining this place for salt. In addition to the many assorted catholic icons carved into the rock, there are a few interesting rock formations caused by the mineral rich water that was dripping everywhere. I was glad to see it, as it is one of the highlight attractions of the area.

We went to a mall or two, which are interesting in terms of people watching and the occasional foreign thing offered, but for the most part malls are the same everywhere. It was also a lesson in economics, as some things are much cheaper/more expensive than they are in the US. It seems like food and textile stuff is much cheaper, but things like electronics are more expensive to the point that I wish I had brought something with me to sell. A visit to a bit shadier area offered such things as bootleg movies and video games.

Dinner was very entertaining. We went to a place called Andre's Carne de Res, which is much too large to be called just a restaurant. It was more like a small compound. A series of buildings surrounded by fence and covered in all sorts of cool artsy things. Many are made from things that would have been thrown away, such as bottlecaps and old rusty pieces of iron. Duos of performers strolled around keeping everyone entertained. I think that a place like this would do very well in the US, and we brainstormed a bit about how we could run such an establishment. Very cool.

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