My first day in the wide, wild streets of Bogotá was fairly unadventurous. I explored La Zona Rosa, saw Batman in the cinema… Oh, and a
police officer conman and his amigo looking for directions trying to bring me to the police station to get registered a dodgy alley and mug me, were skilfully outwitted by detective-extraordinaire me.
Day número dos came along swiftly and that morning I met some new friends- Ryan, Sarah, Ellie and Jay- fellow English language assistants. So armed with a guide book, some knowledge of spanish and a hefty helping of enthusiasm, we explored the city.
On day one I had Chinese food, and empanadas. Not too adventurous: both favourites of mine. Day two was my first taste of authentic Colombian cuisine. Huevos Rancheros por favor was everyone else’s breakfast order. Being a hater of eggs, I stayed away from the scrambled monstrosity and inquired to the señora, “Qué incluye changua?” I didn’t quite hear what she said, but I was certain she uttered the words for bread and milk. I like bread. I like milk. Famous last words, in the style of Doctor Pepper, what’s the worst that could happen?
I’ll tell you what. Out she came, all smiles, shits and giggles and handed me a bowl of what I can only describe as some kind of sick, twisted joke of a meal. A bowl of watery, salty milk with lumps of soggy stale bread, some undetermined vegetables and, floating amongst the horror story of a soup, was EGGS.
Being a big boy I did try some. Let’s just say if it was the last food left in earth, I’d choose to starve. Horrible. Disgusting. Not a single nice thing can be said about it- well, I guess the bowl was somewhat pretty.
After a long dander we got taxis to Plaza de Bolivar, one of the weirdest places I’ve been. A humongous square, filled with hundreds of mangy pigeons, a huge cathedral, some museums and a few llamas. The Time’s Square of Colombia was certainly an experience. Half expecting the crowd to start singing, “Feed the birds, tuppence a bag” we tried to tiptoe through the carpet of flying-rats but it just wasn’t working. We caused quite a stir. While locals and tourists alike were taking photos of themselves with pigeons on their arms, on top of their heads- eating seeds out of their hands- Ryan and I were screaming, spluttering and nearly crying as the swarm of palomas (Almost makes them sound nice, doesn’t it?) surrounded us.
Apparently you can rent the llamas for a few minutes, have a ride on them etc. We considered this, but couldn’t remember if “coger” (which in Spain means “to take”, as in, to take a bus/train) was actually a swear word in South America, and we didn’t want to spend time in a Colombian jail for asking to f
uck a llama.
Dinner time approached and we stopped in a cosy wee (English people find it every endearing when you say wee btw) restaurant where we could watch the Olympics opening ceremony. I wasn’t making the mistake of being adventurous with food, and ordered the plainest dish in the menu- arroz con pollo, rice and chicken. Out it came, beautifully arranged on the plate with a great big fried egg on top. They may as well have sprinkled parmesan over it just to further ridicule my dislike of eggy and cheesy foods. Nonetheless, it was easily manoeuvred around and the food underneath was scrumptious. On our way home we passed a store called Sperm Deportivos, or Sperm Sports. Interesting.
I no longer hate Bogotá- I now love it and can’t wait to see what else it has in store!
Thank you to Ellie for her wonderful photo of Plaza Bolivar