Sunday, October 5, 2014

Blue Skies in Bogota

It's almost 5pm here in Bogota, the city that is almost constantly overcast, misty, and chilly, and there have been bright blue October skies all day long.  It has been warm with a slight breeze, and we aren't even having to wear jackets in our apartment.  To say that it has been a wonderful Sunday would be an understatement.

We had to break from our Sunday routine of having pancakes or french toast simply because of our lack of groceries, and settled for some off-brand Fruit Loops.  While we were getting ready, the children were having a blast playing together.  It is such a sweet noise hearing children, especially those that recently became siblings, having a grand old time together.

We had church in our living room.  We were invited to a church here in town, and were thinking about going, but it was so far from where we are staying that we opted not to.  It is so exciting to think that next Sunday we will be back in our pew at First Baptist with our amazing church family.  Samuel has never sat through a real church service before, so the first few Sundays may be a little interesting.  I am very curious as to how he will do in Sunday School once he first goes, but we will most likely keep him with us in our class at least the first week or so.

After church, Brent had an Uber come and get us.  It is convenient having this service available in Bogota, since there are not taxis readily available on our street. We went to the Colonial Spanish part of town.  Sunday traffic is minimal, but there are so many roads closed due to restrictions that it still took a while to get to our destination.  I was excited at first, but hesitant when our Uber driver rolled up the windows and told us to be careful before we got out of his car.  We made sure to hold on tightly to the kids' hands, and kept our belongings close at hand.  It was close to the city center and had its fair share of vagrants and pedlars, but we never felt unsafe.

We were dropped off at the plaza in front of an old cathedral.  There were llamas to ride, pigeons to feed, venders selling snacks, and a stage being set up for a concert or a rally.  We had a snack of strawberries and some sort of cream, then began exploring.  We meandered down Spanish streets that were closed for Sunday restrictions and enjoyed the sights.  There were vendors on most corners selling roasted corn, sweet treats, fried plantains, and fresh fruits and juices.  We stumbled upon one of the most gorgeous cathedrals we had ever seen, which is shocking for Bogota.  Most of Bogota is interesting, but far from pretty.  The bulk of the architecture, aside from the Spanish district, looks stuck in the 1940s - 1960s.  The church had a Gothic twist to the Spanish style, and had vibrant, gorgeous stained glass throughout.

After that we kept walking, and came upon a bizarre/ Colombian flea market.  In areas where the market wasn't open, there were street vendors selling all sorts of items.  Brent accidentally dropped all of his Colombian cash out of his pocket, and though he picked it up in a split-second, the vagrants noticed immediately.  They flocked to him faster that a cheetah catching prey, and Brent convinced them he didn't understand Spanish while I held tight to the munchkins.

We soon arrived to a main street, only to be welcomed by a massive protest parade.  These folks were either PETA or the Colombian equivalent and were clearly wacko.  They were holding up ridiculous signs, including one of a person looking like he was getting ready to be served on a platter.  Call me crazy, but eating a hamburger is a way different ball game than murdering somebody.  We sort of wanted to grab a hamburger and eat it on the street while staring down these goobers, but decided against it. Instead we ate at a PPC - Pizza, Pollo, and Carne (Pizza, Chicken, and Steak) and really enjoyed our meal.  Alex, Brent, and my meals came with a Coke, and we became the parents we used to judge - we gave our two year old a Coke.  In our defense, she only had a little bit.

It was inching closer to nap time, but the kids were being amazing so we kept exploring.  For dessert we went to a pastry and coffee shop.  A pedlar came in begging for money, and we were very impressed with how the barista handled the situation.  He clearly wanted the man gone, but gave him a nice fist bump before he ushered him out.

It truly was a great day spent in the Spanish district.  We came back home and all took long Sunday afternoon naps, followed by a snack of popcorn and Tang.  Dinner is going to be blah: ham and cheese sandwiches, chips, and apple slices.  Tomorrow we are heading to the emerald district to shop, and in the early afternoon Samuel and I will pick up his passport and get his TB test read.  We are doing our best to make the most of our last week in Colombia, and counting down the days till we land on American soil and Samuel will officially become a US Citizen!

Munchkins in the Colonial Spanish district with the mountains in the background

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