You know you’re in Colombia when…

I’ll admit it.

I was feeling a bit guilty when our plane skidded to a halt at Bogota airport.

It’s not that I like to take advantage of the average Colombian customs’ official and his weakness for women.

But I’ve been through customs a few times in Colombia now and this time I actually wanted something.

Renewing your visa in this country is expensive and irritating and the simplest and cheapest way to do it, is to leave and re-enter the country.

Having spent five weeks in Peru and Bolivia, I was hoping for a free three month tourist visa, just to give me some breathing space while I figure out what to do this year.

Unfortunately, they are only supposed to give you two months.

I bounded up to the window trying to look as blonde and friendly as humanly possible.

“Good evening,” I said, smiling hopefully.

“How long do you want in Colombia?” the young man muttered.

Hmmm. Not as flirty as usual. Probably because it was 9pm.

“I would like 90 days please,” I replied politely.

“You can’t have 90 days. You can only have 60,” the lad answered, before explaining his reasoning in rapid Spanish.

“I’m sorry, my Spanish isn’t very good. Could you explain in English?” I replied, shaking my curls.

The lad looked at me, then at the desks around him.

“I can’t explain in English,” he said, lowering his voice.

“You can have 90 days.”

Relieved, I dragged my rucksac to the scanner (Bogota must be the only city in the world where they scan your luggage upon arrival, as well as departure)

A young police officer walked up to me.

He looked stern.

“Where did you fly from?” he snapped.

“Erm, er, Lima,” I said. I was shattered.

“And where are you from?” he continued.

“I’m English,” I replied, trying not to panic.

The officer looked thoughtful.

“The English girls are always the prettiest ones,” he said officiously, trying not to smile as he walked away.

I’m definitely back in Colombia.


  1. Alejandro

    I really appreciate the fact that you took some of your time to show people that what’s on the media about my country is not the whole truth!!!
    And yes, we still have some problems… I am not going to deny that… but I know that there are lots of great things there too, in fact good things disguise bad things when you are living or visiting any Colombian city
    Thank you one more time

  2. Ricardo

    HAHAHA this reminds me of me with a wide smile at the customs in Heathrow once… all I got was the officer to show me a bench and a 15 minutes delayed to get the train into central London… I guess customs are not the same everywhere….
    Great posts!! I’m glad you are having a good time in Colombia….

  3. mfasthoff

    LOL, cracks me up, I remember waiting for my flight in Bogota’s airport and a good looking woman with very tight jeans a top (shaking her hips as Colombian women do)walks by, two older men say to each other: Se fija? You see? That’s why this country is great!
    I miss that, no apologies, no shame just direct flirtation.

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