Drive to Dublin, check.
Flight to Madrid, check.
Flight to Medellin, check.
Flight to Bogotá, check.
You’re probably thinking, ‘congratulations Daniel. The hard part is over, you’re finally in Colombia’. Well I wish I had the fortune of telling you this was so, but unfortunately this wasn’t a happily ever after. So I exit the terminal building, luggage in tow and peer among the exotic faces looking for my driver. He is nowhere to be seen. Using my travellers instinct I go to the official taxi stand, tell the driver the address of my hostel and off we go.
Bogotá is a huge city. The first things I saw were homeless people, big roads, dark alleyways, and a man standing in the middle of the road wearing a balaclava. (I thought I’d left Northern Ireland behind!) Still. We arrive at my hostel. And for safety reasons the driver approaches the door and knocks. No answer. He tries again. So after several unsuccessful attempts to get in, we give up. Stressed to the max, absolutely knackered and at my wits end I simply ask, “just bring me to a safe hotel in a nice area”.
We get to a hotel, they have a room at a costly £90. A bit steep but you can’t put a price on safety and peace of mind. My card is declined, “you don’t have enough money”. I swear I could have decked the arrogant prick of a receptionist when he said that. So off I go with my taxi driver on a tour of Bogotá’s finest ATMS. First one is closed. The second as well. Eventually we are at the fourth, and it finally works. Back in the taxi and as soon as you can say “Guillermo’s you’re uncle” the driver is asking me “Do you want a hooker?” I feel like I’m a García Márquez novel. Just get me to the hotel.
In bed, finally (Alone might I add!) I write my first ‘learning journal’ for my university. It’s a rather sarcastic and bitter entry, “Today I have learnt three words; cash, bank machine and pin code. I hate Bogotá”