Saturday, November 11, 2017

Colombia day 2: Discovering Bogotá

Friday evening we went out for dinner with Elisa and Roland, relations of some of our SF Randonneuring friends, and new friends of ours. They are keen cyclists themselves and so were able to point out various suggestions and tips for our planned tour. Roland is also a Brit himself, lived in Colombia for 4 years now so interesting to get his take on life here. Describing the various adventures they'd taken his parents on when they'd visited I had to smile to myself at the thought of guiding my own worried mother around the Colombian countryside 😮😀

Elisa invited us on her morning cycle the next day, but a 5am start didn't sound appealing with our jetlag so instead we had a decent lay in before grabbing breakfast. Our hotel breakfast was quite satisfying but we were both intrigued by how petite we found it. Most likely five years in USA have made us come to expect breakfast portions that would do for lunch as well. I think the meal size here is what we'd have previously considered "normal"

Spent the morning doing a gentle shakedown ride on Dobbin, over to an outdoor store and back, to also get a few things we couldn't fly with (camping gas) or got confiscated in airport security (water bottle)

The plan for the afternoon was to stroll around Parque 93 area our hotel is in. On our second café stop I decided I could do with a more substantial wallet ("billetera") as rifiling through strange foreign notes in an audaxer's wallet (clear plastic bag) was feeling unnecessarily conspicuous. Thus began a journey to the El Retiro shopping area of town.
Uber is a fantastic invention of convenience for the taxi user, and doubly so when in a foreign country where taxi drivers all speak foreign and are frequently center of suspicion even for locals. However, while Uber is very common here it's the source of great animosity from said taxi drivers. Combined with the questionable to downright objectionable practices of corporate side of the company, we thought it time to try the highly recommended local taxi app, Tappsi. This was surprisingly easy to install and use: excellent English UI and good features rating and tracking rides and improving security. The one real snag we had with it was just as we were about to climb into our cab, a bird decided to crap right on my outheld mobile phone screen, so the initial interactions with the driver were extra challenging, trying to read the confirmation code and destination off the app without flinging or smearing more poo around the place.

Anyhow, despite that one glitch (which I can't blame the app for really) the ride and the trip were successes. Evening meal was a pizza washed down by a couple of fine beers courtesy of the BBC - that is the Bogotá Beer Company.


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