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Impressions from Bogota

Bogota appeared very unusual from the airplane. From the window I saw long stretches of land, flat as a cutting board, permeated here and there by land masses too large to be hills and too small to be mountains. These were extremely unusual in that they broke out of the land abruptly without transition. As large nails pounded through the cutting board. Total flat, then scattershot mountains, a unique combination. I was on the wrong side of the airplane to see most of the city.

When I finally got my Uber my driver yelled at me for waving my phone around and getting into the back seat. “It’s illegal here!” We drove several hundred feet then he made me get into the front seat and promise I wouldn’t hail people with my phone in my hand. I agreed. The roads from the airport to downtown were excellent. In India people honk for no reason, they enjoy the soothing gasp of the horn. In Bogota a bus cut us off and my driver didn’t honk. Surprised, I asked, “Is that illegal?” And pointed to the horn. “No, no, but he saw us anyways.” Lord save me, heaven.

In the morning I walked to the grocery store. Noteworthy, small mountains off to the right. Except for a few bare patches they are covered in trees, thick lush forest. Strange because almost everywhere else the city spreads and dissolves into the country over many miles. Here at least in this particular part of Bogota, there are apartment buildings then nothing, green. An extremely abrupt transition, very unusual. Strikes the senses as wrong, somehow. Can’t look away.

The coffee, sampled from Cafe Colo. Brilliant, a circus on the tongue, flavor for days. Small hints of electricity balanced with a fruity aroma. For the New Yorkers out there, it’s as good as Blue Bottle but a cup costs $1.40 not $32,839. How many bags can fit into my backpack?

In a way I can’t put into words Bogota reminds me of Kiev. Subdued but professional. A current of tension running through the affairs. I’ve been here twelves hours and I like it. With few exceptions the cities that I’ve liked immediately have stayed in my good graces for life and those that have drawn displeasure have never redeemed themselves. Except for maybe Bangkok, which I hated immediately but now feel ambivalent about. My recommendation, come to Bogota. I do not recommend the same for every city I visit.