Bogotá: Mountains, Ajiaco, and Lost Money
Guess who's back. Back again.
Shady's back. Tell a friend.
Guess who's back, guess who's back...
Iss me. I'm back. It's been a long time since I've posted regularly on here. I have work, grad school, and lack of inspiration to blame. But I'm back. And looking forward to posting more regularly on here. No matter how often I go away, I always come back to writing. Whether it be in this blog or one of my many journals, I've loved writing since I was eight years old. And I ain't gone stop any time soon.
As the title goes, I'm writing about my most recent trip to Bogotà. It's one of my favourite places to visit, and will continue to be even after the nonsense that befell me on this trip.
Truth be told, this was the first time I went to BOG and actually did something touristy. Usually, it's a nice trip for relaxing, getting some delicious (and cheap!) food, and hanging with crew members. On this particular trip, the majority of us that wanted to hang out had never been to Montserrate, so we decided to venture up.
Not gonna lie, I was nervous. Not because of my relative fear of heights. More so for the altitude that we'd be climbing to. Bogotà itself sits 8,660 ft about sea level. Montserrate is 10,341 ft above sea level. The one time I tried to run in Bogotà, I barely made a 1.5 miles before calling it quits - I couldn't hang with the altitude. So I assumed I'd probably pass out on top of Montserrate. Of course, my nerves turned to joy when we reached the summit and took in the beautiful view.
Anytime I look up the weather for Bogotà, it always says that it'll rain all day every day. I've learned not to really trust the weather forecast, prepare for rain at some point, and venture out anyway. I'm really glad we didn't let the rain earlier in the morning deter us from visiting Montserrate. It was such a beautiful sight to behold. Even with it being cloudy, watching the clouds roll over the mountain tops was breathtaking.
After marveling at the view, we toured the little church atop the mountain and walked around the little market that snakes it way to the back of the mountain. At one point, we were offered a sample of a sausage that was being grilled at one of the restaurants. While the sausage did taste good, I was slightly afraid of getting food poisoning and being confined to the lav for the return trip the next day. I'm here to say that I survived the Colombian mystery sausage tasting and suffered no adverse effects. I'm pretty adventurous when it comes to doing things, but food...that's where I'm cautious. Because I don't want to end up with Montezuma's revenge. Amirite?
After Montserrate, we all decided to head to an early dinner. After trying to figure out how to get to a particular restaurant, a crewmember said that he'd found a cab driver to take us for $20k Colombian pesos (that's USD $6.70). After we made it to our destination, the crewmember handed the cab driver cash. He refused it and explained that he only took cards. He then produced one of those handheld card readers. This is where we should've taken a second to consider what was actually happening. What kind of cab driver doesn't accept cold, hard cash? So, after trying a few of our cards (including mine) and the reader saying "Communication Error," the driver accepted the cash and we all went on our way. One of us joked that he probably just stole all of our money.
We enjoyed a nice dinner at Andres, a local chain restaurant with a menu that rivals that of the Cheesecake Factory - literally SO many dishes to choose from. I settled on a bowl of ajiaco de pollo, a potato soup with chicken, corn, and various other lovely additions. It was delicious. I'd never had aji before, but had heard of its deliciousness. After a wonderful dinner and fun conversations, we headed back to the hotel (in an Uber, which is way more reliable in Colombia).
Fast forward to me reading on my phone, waiting to feel tired enough to fall asleep. I go to my email for the millionth time and see a message saying that my bank account was low. Before I even checked my account, I knew what was up. Ole cab driver skimmed my card with that card reader and stole all my hard-earned coins. I was furious. Partly at myself because I'm very careful when traveling; I'm aware of the latest tricks and scams. I just got caught off-guard this time. Mostly upset at the cab driver for being a dick. Sorry not sorry for the coarse language. I was up for the next hour or so, contacting my bank and figuring out how to get my coins back. And to top it all off, this was right before my birthday. So, it cast a dark shadow over it for a bit. Thankfully, that didn't last long - I'll write up my 30th birthday extravaganza soon.
Lesson learned. Word to the wise: if you're in Colombia, take Uber. Or a yellow cab with a visible meter. Always pay cash. Don't jump at the first opportunity like we did because we were hungry.
Although the trip ended on a low note, I'll still go back. I'll just be that much more careful in the future.
Here's to protecting all my hard-earned coinage from here on out,