Donkey Crossing

Welcome to Donkey Crossing! Donkey Crossing is an on-line account of one Limey and one Yank living one Dream. From September 2006 until the end of 2007, we plan to visit friends and family on five continents and immerse ourselves into various cultures, natural phenomena and ways of life. We hope you enjoy our tales and visit often! Cheers, Jason and Rachel Napoli

Sunday, November 12, 2006

GREETINGS FROM SUNNY COLOMBIA!!! Hola amigos! Here we are in the country that is Ecuador´s northern neighbor...
It´s the home of the legendary Juan Valdez Coffee, Pablo Escobar and our mate Dom (you´ll be meeting him shortly). We´re currently on the Caribbean coast taking in some sun and enjoying the absence from the chaos of Bogota. Reflecting upon our visit, we came up with...
(in no particular order)

Above is the view from Dom´s flat. He lives in the beautiful historic district of Bogota called La Candelaria. It´s the colonial center of the city where Simon Bolivar fought for independence years ago and where the Bohemian student scene congregates today. We spent hours strolling the streets and enjoying the corner cafes in this eclectic neighborhood.


We had some fantastic cultural experiences in Bogota, most notably the Gold Museum and the Botero Museum. The Gold Museum is the most famous museum in the country which consists primarily of pre-Colombian artifacts. It was recommended by Rachel´s parents as a "must-see" from when they backpacked South America 35 years ago. We found it quite interesting and would certainly agree it´s a sight to see. The Botero Museum highlights the art of Colombia´s most famous living artist El Maestro Botero. His rolypoly sculptures, figures and still-life paintings, along with his collection from the European greats, make a most memorable art museum.


As with everywhere we will visit on our journey, the opportunity to visit friends will always be a highlight. Whilst in Bogota we were able to visit our old friend Dom, whom we hadn´t seen for seven years. We used to work with Dom in Ecuador and he´s been living in South America ever since. We spent quite a lot of time with Dom during our visit, culminating in a great night out with him and Lili, who are pictured below.

Another highlight we had in Bogota was reuniting with one of my old students, Pilar. Pilar (below) was one of the first students I taught at Intrax and we shared the corridors there for over three years. She´s currently working as a coordinator with a music charity for disadvantaged children. We had a great afternoon with her in La Candelaria, as we met at the Juan Valdez Cafe and then toured around the Presidential Palace compound. Thank you to both Dom and Pilar for their generous hospitality.


Rachel hasn´t had a cup of tea since we´ve been here and is still buzzing from this morning´s coffee as I write.


Don´t panic...I´m fine. After arriving from Ecuador feeling completely out of sorts, and not improving after the first three days in Colombia, I decided it was necessary to visit a physician. After a few hours at La Clinica del Country, an IV drip bag and some drugs I was on my way to normalcy. The admissions process was speedy, the service and treatment were excellent and the price was right. Only $65.00 for an emergency room visit in a top hospital, compared to the thousands it would´ve cost in the States. Cheers to Dr. Castro!


Bogota has traffic management figured out. With seven million people in the city, the traffic flows smoothly in the right direction, at the right time. Changing the direction of traffic on major thoroughfares to double the amount of lanes during rush hour simply makes does the helmet and vest law for motorcycle riders. You can also still see horses and buggies on the city streets alongside speeding buses and Mercedes. Bogotanos know how to share the road.


Above is an example of some colonial architecture in Bogota. What you can´t see are the attractive courtyards hiding behind these colorful facades. One never knows what lies behind a plain, old exterior.
There are simply very few of us here and we like it!
Colombians are simply the friendliest and proudest indivduals you´ll ever meet...and they´re always up for a good time.
Although our time in Colombia is limited, we look forward to exploring the rest of the Caribbean coast.
Did we mention we weren´t crazy about the food in Bogota? And actually, after the best meal of our stay in the city (Spanish tapas), Dom still hadn´t had enough to eat.


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