miércoles, julio 10, 2013

Mr abroad:

If you had asked me 4 months ago about my hometown Bogotá, I probably wouldn't have had much to say. Sometimes you get so involved in your own thoughts while you are in a Transmilenio going to your work or getting back home, that you forget all the possibilities in the other side of the window. But now I do have something to say about my city. I am sure you already know our impressive economic indicators and how cosmopolitan is the city, so I’m going to let you know the perspective of an average citizen like me.

Last July my best friend’s boyfriend decided to come to Bogotá to learn Spanish because he was going to travel around Latin America. He, Gavin, had been informed that we speak the best Spanish in all Spanish-speaking world, so it must be the first place if he wanted to interact properly with other people around the continent. They put their trust in me for being Gavin’s host and right now I cannot be more thankful with both of them because it made me meet my city again. I had to find him accommodation, so I chose La Soledad, a traditional neighborhood that encloses 60’s and 70’s modernist architecture with a public space full of trees and green parks. In fact, Gavin’s apartment has this vintage smell that reminds me of my grandmother and the window to his room displays a beautiful painting of our top mountains Monserrate and Guadalupe. Actually, our city is surrounded by a huge line of mountains that you can see from every point in the city and are always there for you just by taking a look to east.

I vividly remember that Sunday when Gavin and I went to La Candelaria, deep downtown. It was 10 am and many people were riding their bikes taking advantage of Ciclovia, a consolidated public initiative which consist of taking some main avenues for the exclusive use of bikes on Sundays. It was great hearing nothing but people’s laughs instead of noises of traffic. That day we experience a bohemian walk into a colonial architecture where the walls of homes, theatres and museums tell the stories of Bogota’s past. We ended up having lunch at La Puerta Falsa, a small traditional restaurant with best Ajiaco soup ever. It is surprising that in that place politicians and people in government made big decisions for our country.

I witness every day the contrast of the vintage zone in comparison to a more vanguard one. I live in the north of the city and study near the center at Javeriana University. My neighborhood is composed by big residential buildings with a lot of threes and big green fields. But it doesn’t take me away from all the economic and social dynamics. I just have to drive or take a 20 minutes bus to any of the north malls such as Santafé, Unicentro or Santa Barbara. But the greatest thing is that whenever I need to get in Bogotá’s essentials downtown, I just take a Transmilenio, the bus of our main transportation system that in its exclusive lane, get me in the center in just 30 minutes.

Every Bogotan person has a totally different experience. Our city is the home of people from all around the country that come to make their dreams come truth and fill all their expectations. I can tell about how great it is for party, as Gavin can tell how he learnt Spanish in four months or my mother could say how she accomplished a better quality life when she moved here in the 80’s. So welcome to my city, I’m sure you will have a totally different story to tell, because Bogotá has more.