Do you know what it means to be in Bogota when you need to go somewhere and it’s raining, especially between 4-8 pm on a weekday, worse still on a Friday? It means you’re grounded.
If you need to go from one place to another out of reach by any form of public transport (well, not an awful lot of choices, just the SITP, busetas or Transmilenio), then all you’ve got is the taxi. But somehow, suddenly all of the taxis have disappeared. I mean, NONE. You have been starring at your taxi app for a quarter of an hour. You’re also in the street waiting for one that would miraculously come by. And of course, at the same time, you’re scanning around to check that you’re safe from any peering eyes while awkwardly taking a peek into your bag for the taxi on the phone app. ABSOLUTELY NONE.
Then you decide to go to a different place that might be more frequented by taxis. Your app is still running. Another 15 minutes have passed and not a single sign. What should you do? You assess your destination. It’s within 1 hour on foot. You decide to walk. (Yes, right decision.)
You start walking in the rain. You hold up your umbrella while carefully choosing where your feet go, because you don’t want to activate any of the minefields – those cheeky little loose tiles that often sneak up on you, splashing the nastiest mud onto your heels.
Just when you think you’re safe, an aggressive SUV just so happens to splint along the curb, splashing the quietly sitting puddle gathered by the cleverly laid roads in the city. You’re wet and filthy. You also believe you’ve tasted a bit of dirt on your lips. You learn that not everything is in your control. You plod along steadily. As you are constantly scanning far and close to avoid the pools, you realise that you may be going through some quiet streets where pundits operate so you speed up to save yourself from being killed.
After a 40-minute walk you’re glad you’ve finally made it, at which point your heart is racing, your adrenaline rising, and you feel like you’ve just run a marathon. So now, enjoy whatever drink that relaxes you because you deserve it.
Or if you are comfortable with manouvering the 2-wheel vehicle, you may wish to bike it. (That’s not me unfortunately)
So, that’s Bogota at its worst. Any other times it’s lovely. Luckily for Bogota but not so luckily for other regions, because of El Niño, we have had a pretty good time this year, until last week. Being at 2,600 meters above sea level, it’s easy to forget that Colombia is a tropical country. It does pour here.
Lesson learnt: you will never know what to expect in Bogota. It may be sunny right now and the next hour it’s pouring. Or it may be sunny WHEN it’s pouring. So, always have a light weight umbrella in your bag. Since it’s not realistic (or healthy for your feet) to be wearing wellies all the time, I suggest raised/padded shoes for easy walking, something you can ruin. Definitely not suede.