Goodbye South America
07.03.2010 - 14.03.2010
We had come better prepared for the wintry temperatures on the bus but despite our efforts we were still absolutely freezing. For this reason it was bitter sweet when we arrived in Bogota at 4:30am. On the one hand it was nice to be somewhere a little bit warmer i.e. outside but on the other we didn't want to head into the centre in the dark, it just didn't seem safe. For this reason we sat in the terminal with hot drinks until the sun began to rise.
Once in the centre we went straight to the hotel we'd stayed at before, we did have a reservation but we were three days early, luckily for us though they had a room.
Once inside it we went to sleep for a couple of hours. The rest of that day we were pretty inactive, we just managed to make it to the cinema where we saw The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus, Heath Ledger's last movie which was ok. It was nice to see Heath in something, and I liked the fantasy behind it but some of the acting was a bit dodgy and the story flagged in places. Still it was a good way to spend a lazy afternoon.
The following day we first went to the tailors to check in on Adam's suit and were told to return in the afternoon. Our next stop was the leather area to pick up our jackets which were ready and waiting. First impressions were good although since then we have both found flaws, I'm not sure whether it's the jackets themselves or the fact that we're not completely comfortable wearing them. I think putting on something like that when you feel otherwise disgusting, wearing dirty clothes and in my case a pair of ripped trousers being held together with duct tape it is hard to not feel a little odd. I didn't really like the fact that mine had shoulder pads in it which Adam has since removed for me so I'm feeling a little happier but I am reserving my full judgement until I am slightly more polished human being. Either way they were great value for money. When we returned to the tailor he had an unfinished jacket for Adam to try on which turned out to be good because Adam could make more adjustments and have things move in the direction he wanted. It was now Monday and we were instructed to return again on Thursday afternoon.
The following day we caught the bus to another shopping mall in a really posh part of town and here we saw Alice in Wonderland in 3D which we both enjoyed. I thought the 3D was much better than in Avatar and it seemed to fit the story really well. I find it difficult to fault any film which combines Tim Burton and Johnny Depp so my review is not exactly fair but even with that said I think it is definitely worth seeing. After the film we walked around the mall which was very expensive, I tried on a £600 Diesel leather jacket just to see if I liked it better, I didn't. Then we headed back to our part of town and looked in some of the touristy artisan arcades where we bought the obligatory magnets. I seriously don't know what we're going to do with all of them but they're a nice keepsake.
Most of our time in Bogota this time round was spent shopping as we checked out different areas. One of these was San Andresito which seemed to sell absolutely everything but mainly trainers, there were a zillion of them and as we didn't want to buy trainers this was a bit annoying. Instead we looked at boots, belts, clothes and more, which all could have done with being a little cheaper but it was still good. My knees did not appreciate all this trudging around but as our trip was coming to an end we needed to make sure that we saw as much as we could in the time we had. As getting around town can become quite expensive if you take taxis we made sure that we took buses and got to grips with the TransMileno buses which in the end weren't so confusing.
On Thursday we returned for Adam's suit and it was much more finished but he still had the chance to make changes which was good because the tailor seemed to be erring on the large side. I think this may be normal though as you can make big smaller but not the other way round. Again we were told to return the next day. Finally on Friday afternoon after the morning at Unicentro one of the largest shopping centres in Bogota, Adam's suit was finished and it was great. The tailor had pulled it out of the bag in the end and everything was spot on. We're both interested to see how the Indian and Colombian suits compare when we get home.
Our final weekend in South America passed by in a blur as we tried to get everything we wanted before it was too late. We presumed Sunday would be pretty much a right off as far as shops were concerned and we had planned to visit various museums and art galleries instead. So wanting to make the most of our last day we got up early and walked down to Plaza Bolivar which seemed to be closed off.
After making it through the security check we realised that there was something official taking place and that's when we saw the voting booths. These congressional elections which were apparently the calmest in 25 years would put the kibosh on all our planned activities. We walked up to the Museo del Oro (Gold Museum) and we found army men, booths and a closed museum. We were both really disappointed as we'd really wanted to go in there. Next we tried our luck at the Modern Art Museum but that was also closed as was the National Museum. We were not having any luck. There were some markets and street stalls set up so we had a look round them and bought a couple of bits and bobs.
In the afternoon we tried to get the funicular train up a hill which looks out over Bogota but after a steep walk we were told that it was closed.
Not our day. Now resigned to the fact that our Sunday had been a bit of non starter we went to our regular, local chicken restaurant where our faces are known and had our last chicken dinner.
After our last supper we returned to the hotel to try and fit everything into our backpacks, which was quite a challenge. Then we attempted to go to sleep early as we had to be up at 3:20am, this was also a challenge!
Laura & Adam