Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bogota Revisited





The ride to Bogota was incredible, with lots of twisties, trucks, high mountain roads, construction, and fog.  We managed to arrive at a reasonable hour, and thanks to Mr. Garmin again, did not have too much of a fight in the cities' traffic.  There are over 8,000,000 folks in Bogota, so everything is geared to fast city-living.


 The first challenge for us, after finding the shipper for Bruce and Anne's bike, was getting downtown, as we were staying on the north side, near the airport.

There is a bus system with huge articulated buses, well over 100' long.  On the first day, we managed to get into the system right at the busiest time of day.  I am guessing that each bus held 500 people.  Sardine city...
Bruce is probably thinking to himself: "What in hell did we get into??"







It is going to rain....
 Fortunately, we were stuck in a cab when the skies opened up in a huge downpour.  There was 6 inches of water in the roads in a matter of minutes...





 The buses are huge and it is kind of weird to see the front end curving in front of you...

Bogota is a complex city of many cars, bikes, and lots of traffic....

The first order of business was to get Bruce and Anne's bike to the shipper where it was set up for crating and to be air freighted to Miami and shipped by truck to Vancouver.




 Regulations require that the battery be disconnected..








After the bike was prepped, we went downtown and wandered about the city.  A highlight was the Gold Museum of Bogota.   The different pieces of pre-Colombian gold amounted to well over 50,000.  The Museum has done an excellent job of documenting the different pieces, and describing the importance of Gold to the early people of South America, and Colombia in particular.  It is not difficult to imagine the frenzy that the sight of this gold must have had on the early Spanish invaders, and the gold lust which resulted in the tremendous and rapid change in the culture of South America as a result of this demand for gold...




 Can you see the double-headed serpent in Gold?  Reminded me of the Sisitul of North West coast art...


































Emeralds were also part of the pre-Colombian collection....


and feathers from Amazonian birds...





Have I mentioned Colombian women lately???


The museum showed how the early goldsmiths repaired pieces which were damaged or broken by using gold wire to stitch the pieces back together again.  This was the same method we used to stitch Tiger back together again when Uli took a spill in the  sand, back in December.....

Some of the infrastructure of Bogota..

Lots of Chinese made vehicles in Colombia....




Anne and Bruce in front of one of the older iglesias of Bogota...

 We have doors....







And then we lucked on the changing of the Guard. The whole band and a company of soldiers were swallowed by the church in the main square.  It was something else to hear a brass band inside the high domed church...




















Some other grey-haired Canuck with a Blondy of his own...





Chatting up the Army: they must do two years of service, and this guy was nineteen..

The pigeons in the main square are so fat from being fed that they hardly bother to fly.....





Tourist eating pigeons: this lady is watching her husband dissapear....

I figure that they should figure out how to fry up all the pigeons and feed the homeless...
This College was built in 1604, around the time that  Champlain was thinking about exploring Upper Canada, I think...









The articulated buses which the city chose to fund over a underground subway system...
 The city is very progressive: closing down over 125 km. of highways on Sundays so that bikers, runners, and dog walkers can have some city-space...
 even unicyclists...


Some exotic fruit for juices being sold in one of the markets..

 We went up the funicular, which is like a cable car system, but based on one car going up, and the other going down...

 We got a great view of the city, and could better understand how Bogota is laid out...


 The car goes through a tunnel driven through the mountain...














Because today was Palm Sunday, the whole site at the top of the mountain was very crowded with tourists from the city...

 Kelowna folks...

 Tahsis folk...
 3200 meters is high, folks
 Mucho Colombianos....



 Today was Palm Sunday, so many folks were coming to the Church to attend Mass..















 For a city of the size, there are not a lot of skyscrapers....




 Colombian Red Cross was present for emergencies...


 The gardens were beautifully maintained...

And then we went down the Mounain...











To visit a house which was given to the Great Liberator, Simon Bolivar, by the country of Colombia....














This is for Pat...and her bog...














And then it was another walkabout of Bogota....
 A view of the Church from the bottom...

 Street Art....

 Why would a bear drive a bumper car in this traffic???





 Bruce insisted that we have our dusty moto boots shined....



 This beautiful girl was being drawn.  The guy told me that the beautiful girl was his....I said I was just an old guy who appreciated good art

 Yes, I took this shot...and I apologize to all of the beautiful girls of Bogota whom I was unable to capture with my lens....





When I first met Bruce and Anne, I was bummed that I was unable to ride through a part of Ecuador that I had planned.  It has turned out to be a great ride with these two grandparents from Kelowna. They survived the sixties together, had some nice kids and trips with same in the seventies and eighties, and now they are still enjoying each other and life as they travel together.  

  I have benefitted from meeting them and riding the mountains and valleys of Ecuador and Peru with them and their V-Strom.  They were great guides and co-travellers as we explored the cities of Quito and Bogota, and I have learned much about life and the world from this short encounter with this excellent couple of riders.  They have reaffirmed for me that we are only as old as we want to be, and that there is a huge amount of this planet to be explored and enjoyed...and that the wonderful mixtures of people and cultures which inhabit those places are what make the journey interesting and so worthwhile.