The two faces of Bogota

Bogota the big city, many times it is really difficult to leave all the air pollution, the noise and the busy lifestyle behind you. But there are ways! The only diffiuclty is to find them and to know about it.

But yes I heard about such an emergency exit. I asked some friends about it, they as well heard about it, but couldn’t help me further. Only this year in 2012 I found finally someone who actually went with me. This was good because finding the entrance to the emergency exit out of the big city isn’t that easy.

We needed to cross a funny and interesting subsurface way until we could finally enter into the natural “park”.

This “park” is not a park, it is “only” the mountain which is the borderline of Bogota. These mountains actually constrain that Bogota would grew more to this side. Anyway we went to a small door and we found ourselve in another world. We started to walk up the mountains, which actually was a really good workout and up the mountains we obtained a great view of the city and of course we gained a lot of fresh air.

 

That morning we only started really late our walk. Around 7.30am…so when we finished this little adventure trip we couldn’t leave the mountains through the same door because this door will be locked for security reasons at 10am. So we needed to cross a stream and climb over a fence and then we were back to city life. This was a great experience and the right thing to leave the city behind for half a day. Thanks to my friend 🙂 !

 

 

As well have a look at this article:

http://www.colombia.travel/de/official-bloggers/entry/christina-zimmermann/bogota–eine-der-gefahrlichsten-stadte-der-welt

 

Special Days in Bogotá –Stories out of context

Daily life in Bogotá doesn’t really exist, I would say. But of course I’m going regularly to my university and this is a kind of routine, so a bit of the daily life I have.

        

But nevertheless in Colombia there is not a daily order like in other countries. Every day is different and special. Especially the climate (four seasons during one day), the timetable of the busses and Transmilenios (TM) doesn’t work either and well, being late here in Colombia is kind of normal with this crazy infrastructure. But you always got to your objective somehow or somewhat. If you go by bus, sometimes someone is entering in the bus to earn some small money, so you can pass your time by listing to poems, self-written songs or life stories. But the busses don’t have their own lane on the streets, so with in the rush-hour-times it takes a long time to get to your place. For that reasons I’m taking most of my time the TM.

With this public transport you are normally on the safe side, but as well there are events which change the timetable and working hours of the Transmilenio. For example at the beginning of this month there was a strike in the public transport. So some streets were closed by the protests, so all the TMs took one way as you can the in the photo. As well you could find many police men in the station, who were there to prevent the worst.

The public frustration with the TM is increasing because the busses and the stations are always crowed and sometimes you even have problems to get out of the bus. As well the original TM plans anticipated 170km of lanes. But instead Bogotá only have 84 km of completed lanes. All this leaded to the strike…but the public transport system always is difficult to solve in such a big city. But surprisingly you get used of all this and in the end you are fine when you actually get to point A to B.

Funny and completely out of context is the story with the names. Here in Colombia almost everyone has four names (two names and two surnames). Well when they heard my name, they asked me “That’s all!?” or “Isn’t that a bit boring!?” or something like that “What do you do, if you have a double ganger, a person with the same name”…Well in fact I do have a third name and many persons of my nationality too, nowadays we have the trend of double names after a marriage moreover, but the names here seems to be without end. I always have the problems how to call the persons. So in the worst case I call a male person: Juan or Camilo and for the females I would guess: Ana, Angela or Maria…Well it stays difficult. But back to my third name….my third name is Anita. Whenever some of my German friends heard that name..he/she was singing “Anita,Anita” (Costa Cordalis) or just laughing over this name. But here in Colombia “Anita” actually doesn’t exist. Anita is a diminution form of Ana. So everyone was delighted over my other name and liked it very much. This was a completely different experience.

Some photos from my “daily” life in Bogotá:

I’m confused…winter in Bogotá!?

On Sunday I went out to visit a friend of mines. I took first the Transmilenio and then I walked to the place where we wanted to meet up. And you should know that in Bogotá all the streets have a special number depending on their location. This order is kind of a raster, so it isn’t that difficult to find places, at least you always know, if you are on the right track or not.

Anyhow, I was walking from the bus station to this place and found myself in a quarter which was closed this day for cars. So many people cycled or walked in the middle of the street. In Bogotá every Sunday a different quarter is closed for activities like this. So yes, I enjoyed walking this street. In the end I was half an hour before the actual meeting time. So I sat and watched the people. Then suddenly it began to rain out of nowhere. Luckly my friend came and we sat down in a café and had both café late with milk which did not have lactose in it. Yes this as well exists in Bogotá – milk without milk sugar.

During this time inside, the sun came out again and it seemed to be a nice day. But short time before we actually left to buy some stuff in the supermarket. It started to hail. Only a bit, but when we arrived in the supermarket the hail was really heavy. The cars which parked in front, started to make annoying noise. Of course their alarm went on, because they were hit really hard by that hail. As well the roof in the supermarket couldn’t stand the hail. So water came in but nothing more happened.

 

Well it looked like it snowed on the street and felt like the world is going down. But these kinds of climate changes are normal for Bogotá. As I said, Colombia doesn’t have seasons like summer or winter but many seasons during one day…sun, hail, rain, wind…almost everything.

 

It is raining…

It’s raining a lot nowadays in Bogotá and in the whole country this leads to many problems…roads collapse, rivers overflow its bank, traffic is worse and people are more stressed than ever. Of course everyone get to his or her cozy homes.

 

        

Here in Colombia we don’t have any seasons, which mean no winter, spring, summer or autumn. Well here, especially in Bogotá, we have all these seasons in one day. When the sun is out in around 2500m it is really hot and of course it is really fast to get sunburn. Then clouds swallow this warmly yellow balloon and it gets cooler, with wind and rain it’s really cold then. It feels worse because there is no heater in the buildings or houses. And as well there is no warm place to go; it only helps to drink coffee, chocolate or eat something really sweet, which exists in one big candida in Colombia. But back to my topic here in Colombia the “winter”, I would say the rain period starts in October and should hopefully stop in December. But nowadays we have sun in the morning and in the afternoon it is raining really heavy, so in a short time many streets are flooded and you only will return wet at your home place if you were out. As far as I was told, this period will come again around May. So let’s see what will happen. In this moment I’m only thinking about my travels because some streets/ways are closed…so I have to check if it is possible to travel in bus to my next aims.

El hombre nace bueno y la sociedad lo corrompe

 

 

I still can’t believe it. It is hard to accept. Now after almost 4 months here in Bogotá, Colombia, I was robbed. The timing was of course the worst…In the morning time I was organizing my visa for another 6 months in Colombia. Because of this reason I had all my important documents with me, as well credit card and other material stuff for my long day out. I got everything done in around 5 hours. All the time I was on my own and did take care of my surroundings. But later I was meeting up with two Colombian friends to have a snack. Then and there it happened – I felt more secure then before in the day and was a bit distracted with talking and relaxing. So I hadn’t my eye on my backpack…some guy should have watched me very carefully. Bad luck and I was robbed…things like this happen, but still I’m not happy about it! Some people said: Welcome to Colombia, how awful is this…!? I do think it is a social problem; there are a lot of tensions between the socials levels. They are really poor people, the mid class and the rich one. The poor ones don’t have anything; they don’t receive something from the stage. They are depending on people who give, on some small incomes, like selling candles or something else, or in the worst case stealing for surviving. But of course there are black sheep…in every country and city they are….you never know.

There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft… When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness.

A man who has nothing can whistle in a robber’s face.

 

 

 

Daily life in Bogotá

Daily life in Bogotá…it starts and ends easy but between there are something which are a bit annoying and strange for me. So let’s start with the university. The university ( Escuela colombiana de ingenieria Julio Garavito) not only has a too long name, but it also not really is a university in the German sense. It feels like school for me. In the university there are three exams during the semester, moreover homework, “entregas” and of course control of homework in form of tests/quiz. Moreover the physical presence in the classes is important as well. All in all it makes university kind of difficult, but not the level of education, it’s more all in all. But of course it is not a bad university, it is just a different way of education and of course it is useful for the Colombians students because they are so young. Many of them start their studies with the age of 16. Probably in this age some persons need the daily pressure, the daily push and discipline. But one big advantage of this system is that it offers a much personal contact to the teacher/professor. The classes aren’t allowed to be bigger than 30 students in one class. When you compare this to German schools, it actually makes you wonder why our classes in school, not university, are bigger than that. 30 students are enough and in this kind of surrounding I have a good opportunity to learn and practice Spanish. The teachers are in general very nice with me, but of course I do have to write the same exams like the other students. But two teachers I don’t really understand, one didn’t want me allow my dictionary during the exams, only after the students in my class complained about this. The other teacher just doesn’t have an interest, if I can follow the lecture or not. I asked him to send me the homework or at least to write it on the board, but no. But besides this it is really great. I met a lot of really nice people and all of them are so nice with me. They support me in everything and take their time to help me with homework or other problems. (Thanks so much for that :)). Moreover I met the professor for German, French and English classes. One time per week I meet with this professor to practice and especially to improve my Spanish. That is really great and helpful! As well, she offered me to come to her office or classes, if I have problems with some homework or other understanding problems. It is such a good feeling to have so many nice persons around one. Well it seems to be that my daily life here only consists of university. But that is not actually true …alright a bit. My university is 45min (with two buses) from my home away. So it is not worth to go home during my courses. Most days I’m free for three hours during midday. One course is at 10am, the other one at 2.30pm…not too bad. I get a lot of possibilities to talk to the students 🙂 . I enjoy it very much. After my last course I practice some sport, which is awesome as well. For these reasons I’m most of my time during the week in the university.

Moreover the infrastructure, especially the Transmilenio, which I have to take every day, is kind of hilarious…

In my first weeks I wanted to be in time in the university and I always had to squeeze in the bus. It was so full, that I really could feel every bone of the other person…If you need human contact very intense you should live in this bus.

 

Every body part of yours is stuck to another body part of someone else. Actually you can’t fall because they are plenty of people to pollsters your fall around you. And that is not even the worst. On my way back home from university I actually have many problems to exist because these people in the Transmilenio, don’t move a bit. They are just staring at some point which doesn’t exist and ignore everyone and everything around them. So I only have a chance if I just jump into them, crawling, struggling and pushing the people myself…horrible for me. I’m always proud of myself when I’m outside :). So far I’m good…nowadays I realized that in the morning it is better to be late with the school times, because then the Transmilenio is empty and more enjoyable. But unfortunately I couldn’t think about a solution for my returns. Waiting to night time is no solution…There is a life beside university, I would say. All in all I’m happy but many things are different of course…next time I try to make some exciting photos of my adventure trips in Transmilenio. Only one thing to add, the Colombians are really nice, warmhearted and friendly people but as soon as they enter the bus they are just one statue of person. Ignoring everything and not moving…but well, the infrastructure will improve soon. It is really necessary. Bogotá is the only big city without any underground system. But there exists plan and the infrastructure of the Transmilenio is expanding too. Bit by bit the Colombians can be like my friendly Colombians in the public transportations as well. Would be great to see that soon.