Bogota, reunion, and departure.

As far as cities go (and a capital city at that) Bogota is pretty good. And most significantly, it was where K joined me; I am half a pair again.

She joined me Tuesday night after a rather stressful journey from San Francisco (do any airlines fly on time anymore?) and we spent three days wandering around the city, remembering how to be together and how to travel non-alone, both of which used to be easy, but take some reactivation time.

Wednesday we spent resting, hunting for food, admiring the truly impressive and ubiquitous graffiti, avoiding the impressive piles of dog feces, and trying to tell if we were feeling hints of altitude sickness (I think we were). On Thursday we walked around a large protest of bicycle taxis, whose horns and whistles drowned out the snazzily dressed fellow who had been shouting his message in La Plaza de Bolivar the day before. (He stood and calmly recited his Message anyway.)

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Friday we walked to the Modern Art Museum, exploring the myriad differences between guide book maps and reality. There was a surprisingly small number of actual art pieces (Bogota‘s real modern art is the graffiti), but we did happen to be there when the current artist was, so we found ourselves accidentally sitting in a lecture hall listening to Orlan speak about her art in French, translated into Spanish, and shouting between the lines with the common latent hatred of the artiste for the audience.

By Saturday we had had enough Bogota, so headed for Villa de Leyva, a country town whose single paragraph description included “spectacular mountains…a must-see showcase of colonial architecture…sitting around the 400-year-old plaza drinking sangria…untroubled ambiance…mild climate…perfect place to relax.”

I read that while sitting in a cafeteria in downtown Bogota while a nonstop parade of mini-buses roared by outside, each puking a visible cloud of black airbarf so the other side of the street looked hazy.

First we took the TransMilenio, Bogota’s double-length red buses that act more like a subway than a bus, stopping only at elevated stations which are entered via turnstiles and are built like cages to prevent freeloaders. Public transit systems abroad are always a learning curve, and first here, and then again at the normal bus station, I was impressed by the helpfulness of the Colombian people, even in a big city.

About four hours of green countryside and one seriously epic kung-fu movie later we pulled into Villa de Leyva and I got a funny feeling. The cobblestone street was… The white-washed buildings with doors and windows of bold greens, blues, and reds were… The people walking around… The perfect temperature felt…

Oh my. I’m in love. With a town.