Monday, December 05, 2016

Colombia Adventure - Day 5

November 24, 2016

Our fifth, and last full day in Bogota, began in the style we'd been accustomed to: with a huge, delicious breakfast at one of the nearby bakeries. After finishing breakfast, I was pretty sure I wouldn't need to eat for the rest of the day.

We then made our way back to the historic downtown area where we hoped we'd catch a view from the tallest building in Bogota. Alas, the building was closed. But we rolled with it, opting to head towards the famous Botero museum and shop along the way.

As we approached the main square in the center of the historic district the police and military presence started to vastly increase. We skirted around barriers keeping traffic out and men armed with assault weapons. Finally, we entered the main square and found a healthy crowd of people hanging out. Apparently, nearby they were signing the peace treaty between the Colombian government and the FARC. In the time it took us to figure out where to eat, the deed seemed to have been done, as the police and military dispersed without incident.

After lunch we made it to the Botero museum. Botero, apparently Colombia's most famous artist, is known for his distinctively chubby subjects. I have to admit, I got a kick out of them, though Shira was less impressed. Also at the Botero museum were a number of other works by famous painters, including Monet and Picasso. The whole experience was like taking in an art museuem in the most fun possible way.

After browsing art, it was time to get down to the real matter at hand: emerald shopping. Colombia is well known for its emeralds and the 'Emerald Trade Center' is a location in Bogota packed full of small shops all selling little chunks of green perfection. Like a walk through an art museum, Shira didn't rush the experience. Instead, we browsed every shop in the whole place at least once and finally settled on one particular piece she liked. Some store keepers in the center spoke English, but alas, the place that had the piece we liked, only spoke Spanish. Not to worry, between pointing and Google translate we got the transaction done.

When we finally settled on a price we had just one more detail to accomplish: we needed to withdraw over a million pesos from an ATM. Is such a thing even possible? We didn't know. But off we went to find out. Although it took a couple of attempts, we eventually did get the wad of cash we needed and made it back to the jewelry store. The whole experience was a positive one, and finally a non-bakery experience that Shira could get behind.

The next day we'd be leaving for Cartagena. To fully prepare, after our day of roaming the city, we plopped ourselves on the couch with our friends and watched "Romancing the Stone." I'd seen the movie years ago, and enjoyed it then. I have to say, it's held up well and was still quite watchable. Sure, the 80's action seems like little more than a Universal Studios attraction (so many bullets fired, so few people hit), but the story is still a good one.

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