We got to Bogotá, Colombia, on Friday night after an uneventful flight. This is my ninth (?) time being here, and it’s as close as any place has ever gotten to being a second home.
We were greeted by hugs from family and hot, cheesy arepas as soon as we got to my mother-in-laws. I thought I would fall into bed like a rock and sleep until noon Saturday, but it was tough to wind down and I was up at the crack of dawn.
I’ve vowed not to neglect my running. I’m thinking of signing up for a 5K to do with a friend once the weather has cooled down in Houston, and I figured training at high altitude would give me a nice boost for when I go back. Lesson #1: Running at 8600 feet is not the same as running at sea level! While I was prepared to lower my expectations, I lasted only 2 minutes to my 25 in Houston!
Yesterday afternoon brought more relatives over, and between catching up, distributing gifts, and, oh, catching up on lost sleep, it sped by. We met up with my brother-in-law and his family at a restaurant around the corner, and I went with his wife (co-sister-in-law?) to look at some jewelry. One thing I am really appreciating is that, although Bogotá is full of traffic, there is a lot in the neighborhood that you can walk to: grocery store, pharmacy, gym, jewelry store, mall, bakeries, cafes, doctors’ offices, hair salons, clothing stores. Parking is kind of a pain, so a lot of times, it makes more sense to walk.
In the evening, we went to the food court at the mall to eat. Here, the food courts are nice compared to the ones in the U.S. It’s not just fast food, and a lot of times, they even bring the food out to you and wait on you at the tables. I got bandeja paisa. Paisas are people from a certain region in Colombia known for its agriculture. The farmers used to pack up a lunch to eat out in the fields, consisting of a sunny-side-up egg, beans, white rice, Colombian chorizo (not as spicy as Mexican), blood sausage, a big slice of avocado, and thepiéce de resistance, chicharrón. That’s right, pork skin. I used to think it was gross, until one day, I actually tried it. And now that I know how good saturated fats are for you, I’m not scared to indulge.
They also happened to be having a beauty pageant on the first floor of the mall. Colombians love their beauty pageants, and it was fun to watch for a few minutes.
It seems the theme so far has been food. Today, we went to a Boyacá-style restaurant where I had mojarra (grilled whole fish), glass after glass of fresh-squeezed limeade, guacamole, yucca, and a different kind of arepa with a sour cheese inside. Oh, followed up by peach cheesecake.
I’m wondering if we’ll do anything here but eat. If we don’t, I won’t complain.