Marley Chasing in Bogotá

Before I was persuaded to do otherwise by Paisas in Pereira, I was planning to go to Bogotá first to settle in for awhile, look for an apartment, and get to know the city. However, I was deflected to Medellín, and BOOM – a month went by. I finally arrived to Bogotá on Friday morning to gray skies and cold temperatures. I wasn’t so impressed with the city right away, but I knew I had to dig a bit to find the gems.

One of the coolest things I got to do was go to Rock al Parque, which is a massive concert in Bogotá held every year over the course of a few days. I think something like 100,000 people a day went. When I heard Ky-Mani Marley was performing, I knew I had to go. See, I’ve been trying to see the Marleys, namely Stephen and Damian, for three, yes THREE LONG YEARS. And they continue to evade me. It is ridiculous how many times I have missed their concerts due to bad planning, inopportune flights, et cetera. So I was absolutely elated singing along to “No Woman, No Cry” and “Redemption Song” with 50,000 Colombians (that’s how many saw him perform).

In Bogotá, I stayed in La Candelaria, which is the oldest section of town with museums, churches, places to eat, and this massive plaza called La Plaza de Bolivar which is surrounded by the Palace of Justice, the National Capitol, and some other impressive buildings. The plaza is also home to the boldest city pigeons in the world. I swear I could have stepped on one if I wanted to. When I walked through them, they looked at me as if to say, “And who are you to make me move?” Point taken.

It’s hard to describe Bogotá except by using a string of adjectives like this: Cold. Captivating. Complex. Corporate. Huge. Cheap taxis. Graffiti. Interesting looking people. Smart. The thing about Bogotá is, it is definitely a cool city, but I think it’s a city that you really need insider insight to fully appreciate. I mean, the city has like 8 million people, comparable in size to New York. Where do I even start? So I had to make a choice to either stay, dig, and invest myself in learning what is Bogotá, or keep it moving. Seeing as how I only have 2 months left in Colombia and there are still a million places I want to see, I decided to head to Villa de Leyva tomorrow. Plus, I can’t kid myself, the combination of a cold climate and a rainy one is too much for me to handle. Thanks for the peek, Bogotá…

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