Day 1: Bogota
Who knew Pablo Escobar was such a c**t?
That was the overriding takeaway from the Heroes of Colombia walking tour which started in the Bolivar Square and visited some of the key sites in the capital linked to Pablo Escobar and his reign on terror. Car bombings, fire-bombings, thousands of extra-judicial killings, and even a time in the Congress. The horror, the horror!
The tour highlighted some of the people instrumental in exposing his crimes and bringing him to justice – almost all of whom nobly died for their efforts. At his peak, he shipped 15 tons per day to the US, and made the cover of Forbes.
One corner on the main thoroughfare Calle 12 is the intersection of power. The church on one side, the bank opposite, and…here I beat the tour guide to his joke to point out the McDonalds on the third side, and as a result don’t know what the fourth one was.
Lunch at a French restaurant, discovering the taste sensation of fruit lightly coated in hot pimento spices, then a visit to the gold museum…where I learnt that gold was used for ceremonies by ancient indigenous tribes, but that’s about it…and that they made at least enough ornaments to fill 4 floors of a large museum.
A return trip up the funicular to the Montserrat peak, which is about 3000 metres ASL (Bogota is 2600), admiring the view of foreboding thunderstorm on one side of the mountain, and a hazy sunset view over Smogota on the other.
Dinner at a delicious vegetarian restaurant that had a no WiFi policy (so avant-garde!), with succulent avocados, corn, and salsa…accompanied by a blackberry juice.
Crashed in bed watching a series (not Narcos, though that is next on my cultural appreciation guide), to drown out the couple in next bedroom having loud sex.
Even though my room was “private”, the adjoining wall didn’t reach the ceiling, so it was about as private as a toilet cubicle in an airline toilet…