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101 Reasons to love Bogotá

1. Coffee here is divine. Step forward Juan Valdez.

2. Everyone’s an eco-Hitler. There is a ‘No Car Day’ once a year. Your flatmates will be obsessed with turning out lights.

3. People are paid to wear orange jackets and help adults cross the road.

4. There are palm trees in Calle 57. We’re at an altitude of 2,600m, somewhere in the middle of the Andes and there are palm trees in Calle 57.

5. Sometimes people sell chocolate on the buses. Sometimes they rap.

6. Random power cuts help maintain that Blitz spirit.

7. Two-hour salsa classes cost £1.75 and that includes a beer.

8. Hearing “You look beautiful” three times a day is probably good for you.

9. Britain never invaded.

10. Manicures cost £1.75. They last for two weeks.

11. Streets are numbered, not named. You don’t need an A-Z.

12. Even if your haircut takes 3.5 hours, you won’t need an appointment.

13. You can get anywhere you need on a bus and it will only cost you 47p.

14. The City Paper. It’s quality, it’s published in English and it’s free.

15. My gym has spinning every day and the best rumba class in the world.

16. You will never be more than 10 metres from your nearest street snack.

17. The sun ALWAYS shines in the morning.

18. Your friends will rock.

19. There are employees in Parque Simon Bolivar who are paid to float on wooden rafts and rake weeds from the lake.

20. It is considered acceptable to love books. Bogotá has one of the highest concentrations of libraries in Latin America. It has the nickname ‘Athens’.

21. Even the men get manicures.

22. You will never get bored of the chocolate crocantino in Crepes and Waffles.

23. Bogotanos regularly dress up their dogs.

24. Every street has a £1 ‘eggs, coffee and bread’ breakfast deal.

25. Eating your main meal at midday is good for you. It’s also cheap.

26. It is possible to buy a film on DVD the moment it reaches the cinema.

27. Candelaria is old, beautiful and has a great selection of French bakeries.

28. You will lose weight. Thank the altitude or the exercise. It won’t be the diet.

29. If you stand on the bus, someone will a) offer you their seat b) offer to hold your shopping or c) offer to pass your fare to the driver.

30. Arepas (sin queso) are better for you than bread. They also taste nicer.

31. It is perfectly normal to refuse to plan a night out.

32. You only need one friendly smile and a police officer will do anything for you, including searching for a taxi at 3am.

33. Everyone has a friendly doorman.

34. Someone will always sell you an umbrella when it’s raining.

35. Aguila is a really, really tasty beer.

36. Papaya is a) good for you and b) bloody gorgeous.

37. Smiling at strangers is considered polite.

38. You can buy extraordinarily cheap, but nice cosmetics at San Andresito.

39. The mountain is both a stunning backdrop and excellent for orientation.

40. Sometimes bomb-check officers cuddle their hard-working Labradors.

41. It is okay to visit a café for the sole purpose of using the bathroom.

42. Having a British accent is the height of cool.

43. People laugh if you catch them checking to see if you’re wearing high heels.

44. You can buy anything from the street if you know where to look.

45. It is perfectly acceptable not to disembark the bus with the other passengers, but wait another ten metres so you can stop the bus right outside your door.

46. You can choose from four different types of sugar in Juan Valdez.

47. Phone credit is cheap and available in the weirdest places.

48. Ordering a drink with lactose-free milk is considered perfectly acceptable.

49. You can buy unbelievably cute fruit and vegetable-shaped cuddly toys in Exito, as part of a healthy eating campaign. I want Broccoli.

50. Outrageously flirtatious behaviour teaches you not to blush.

51. People love, love, love exercise. Parque Simon Bolivar is so cheerfully full at weekends, even the laziest people want to jog there.

52. Children are sacred. The mini-parks all have functioning swings, slides and see-saws and are entirely free of graffiti and illicit cider drinking.

53. Other people also go to work early, so it is bearable to leave your house at 5.45am. Dawn is also mistily beautiful.

54. Choosing to drink aguardiente shots for the night is fun, sociable and cheap.

55. It is both friendly and respectful to call a random woman ‘Mami’.

56. Sometimes, you can finish work for the day at 8am.

57. Journalism is considered a highly respectable and important profession.

58. Most people actually care about politics.

59. Bogotanos are impressed at descriptions of; the NHS, the Welfare State, universal free education and reasonably-priced universities.

60. New people don’t have to be drunk to talk to you.

61. It is acceptable to drink a beer, on a stool, in your local corner shop.

62. The girl who does your nails will know more about you than your own family.

63. Bogotanos are genuinely upset and worried if say you’re going to travel somewhere alone.

64. The Gold Museum is so immense, it’s overwhelming.

65. Birthdays are a seriously big deal.

66. There are around 20 bank holidays. The city is deserted for every one.

67. Dozens of major roads are closed every Sunday morning, just so healthy people can cycle, run and walk their dogs without fear.

68. You could have a date every day if you wanted. But be careful if the cab driver asks what you are doing for lunch. It is not an innocent question.

69. ‘Hey skinny girl’ is a perfectly normal greeting.

70. Your teacher is called ‘Teacher’. Your boss is called ‘Boss’.

71. Everyone has a farm in the country. You’re welcome to visit.

72. The National Museum is filled with genuine treasures.

73. There’s no compensation culture. People actually look where they’re going.

74. Saying ‘Good Morning’ when you enter a lift is considered both normal and polite.

75. Your friends will tell you if they don’t like your hair or your clothes.

76. Parking is charged by the minute, so it’s worth walking that bit faster.

77. I once saw a man put a plank of wood across a puddle for three women in heels.

78. Off-duty soldiers feel comfortable walking around in uniform.

79. People who perform at traffic lights are genuinely talented.

80. It is okay to run a little late.

81. Elderly nuns have been seen devouring huge ice-creams in Parque 93.

82. It considered sexy to have a big backside.

83. The taxi driver will wait for you to open your front door.

84. When people say ‘Welcome to my country’ they mean it.

85. It is okay to smile at someone else’s child.

86. You can always find free Wifi when you’re on the move.

87. Coffee shops are bustling at 11am in the morning.

88. Football fans aren’t drunk, depressed or euphoric when they get on your bus after a match.

89. El Corral kicks McDonald’s ass.

90. It is normal, reasonably-priced and good for the economy to have a cleaner.

91. Even cheap aromatic tea often contains real fruit.

92. Having your clothes tailored makes you feel great.

93. The Fernando Botero Gallery is free. It also has a beautiful courtyard.

94. The lads who clean shoes are both lovely and efficient.

95. Tipping is not considered normal. Therefore, it means something.

96. Avocado is cheap, tasty and sold from a wheelbarrow.

97. Everything has its own district. Even lamps. Yes, there is a lamp district.

98. People are genuinely excited at the prospect of shepherd’s pie.

99. If you throw a party, everyone will come.

100. The customs’ officers at El Dorado airport smile. Honestly.

101. Some people say it’s possible to list 101 reasons why you love the place.

Others might say that’s a reason in itself.

Like this? You’ll love Colombia a comedy of errors.

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298 Comments

  1. Dan Sharp

    Sounds like absolute bedlam. Isn’t anyone there the least bit repressed or unhappy? I bet there are racks of unsold Smiths albums in every record shop!

    1. Lala M

      we don’t spend much time in record stores, and sure we have problems and get depressed, but the guy next door or sitting next to you doesn’t have to suffer because of your issues. People do smile to you in the street without any particular reason. Being nice is what’s considered polite, helping the foreigner, since they may be lost or need help when paying, it’s the kind of things we would like to experience anywhere else. there are poor people, there are some serious social issues, I will not even try to deny it, but there are more reasons to smile about than to frown or be cold or even rude to a stranger.

      1. Dan Sharp

        Ahh so different to the UK! Frowning and being cold or even rude to strangers is the very essence of Britishness. Smiling at someone in the street is liable to get you arrested over here!

      2. bananaskinflipflops

        Haha… I would love it if we started greeting people in the lift in England. Or offering to hold someone’s bag for them while they are struggling to stay upright on the tube. Can you imagine the response???

      3. Catalina S

        I couldn’t agree more!!! we do have bad days but the guy next to you doesn’t have to suffer because you are having a blah day!! we do tend to have a positive attitude towards life and we are very sociable so people comforts us instead of being a burden with their presence.

    2. Archi Enemigo

      It is bedlam, and that is the beauty of it. Now I live in a city I don´t like, not because its building or transport system but because of its people. At the beginning almost any place can look beautiful and exciting, but if you have to live there you may feel that many constructions are just that, that the people around you can make your day or turn it into hell, that Colombian kindness is rare and should be cherished. I just hope that with hard work and perseverance the myriad of problems in Bogotá and Colombia will disappear and the only things remaining are the happy hearts of the Colombians and the gorgeous nature you can experience in the country.

      1. C

        I love how the positive perspective of this article detonates a positive thread of comments from us locals. I guess we live amidst a “mixed blessing.” When you think about our global second place in biodiversity, do keep in mind Colombia also still holds the number one global slot for internally displaced population, which in turn connects with the enormous amount of turmoil which took and takes place in certain rural areas, all related to land ownership: an undeclared civil war of sorts. Which only makes Colombia even more paradoxical. I like this article moves away from the “third-world-as-an-extension-of-a-living-room-in-the-first-world” tone, away from a theme park for foreigners description. We do love it when foreigners practise their Spanish (good, bad, ugly), you CAN erase your blues by having a conversation with the caring lady who served your breakfast in a barrio cafeteria. I would just say a foreigner like the author shows a kind of visitor who will stay clear of the Miami-ised latino-trash burgeois culture we also can sport. A relief!

      1. Dan Sharp

        Heh heh heh – thanks Julian! That is 100 per cent pure awesome. I particularly enjoyed the bit with two ladies and the little baby.

    3. Ivan

      I bet you wouldn’t be so proud of many of these things if they happened in your own country, plus many of them are just not true. For example, you should check actual pollution levels in Bogota compared to other cities. Do you know what drives people to clean your shoes in the street? Poverty. Do you think they can earn a living with the pittance that people pay them? The best coffee is produced in Colombia, yes, but it is exported to the US and Europe, not sold to Colombians. “Mami” is actually insulting to most of the Colombian women I know. Do you actually think that public transportation in Colombia is good? When I read that I though you were just mocking the underdevelopment.

    4. C

      Morrissey considered his 2012 Bogota gig his favourite on the tour, which he in turn considered his favourite tour ever. A small venue hosted the gig mind you.

  2. Mila

    Ciertamente muchas cosas diferentes de tu país! 🙂
    Estoy de acuerdo en muchas cosas, pero mejor es la hamburgueseria que El Corral!
    Si, los cumpleaños son importantes porque es un año mas de vida y hay que celebrarlos siempre! No todos los años es bueno porque tus amigos hacen fiesta aunque tu no quieras! Hahaha!
    Y por ultimo, yo también quiero un juguete de Brocolis de Éxito! 🙂

    Me encanto tu post!

      1. Guillermo Díaz

        I agree with you, unfortunately. Perhaps they meant “highly polite”, which is different. Besides, not always you will find people so polite.

  3. bananaskinflipflops

    Ha Dan… too true… however, it’s not exactly balanced… For example, I was going to say I loved how even when tramps have drunkenly fallen asleep in the street, they still manage to keep their begging cups upright… then I thought, mmmmmmm, thousands of often highly-educated refugees displaced from the countryside due to the shady practices of a long and bitter civil war… not exactly a positive (or a ‘false positive’, depending on how you look at it)…

    1. doetouhgh

      A civil war? The country lives in harmony within itself and there is no conflict witin the regions. We are talking about a bunch of heartless Narcoarmies under Che Gevara’s pop image. It’s a war against marxists TERRORISTS, and you wouldn’t want them in the UK. I used to live thear Simon Bolivar park (They should stop calling everything “simon Bolivar”, or we’ll end up like Venezuela), I saw it being built and even went there when John Paul the II visited. Brings memories. I’m going back there for a fruit juice feast!

      1. Dan Sharp

        Wow – the concept of Narcoarmies is rather scary. Do they really exist? I always figured it was sort of an urban myth about Colombia…

      2. Justanswering

        Hello there, I am Colombian, checking this Blog just out of curiosity and I just felt I had to clarify some stuff for you.

        Colombian conflict is far more complicated than a Good-Bad side story. Sadly, everyone but the Civil people is kinda the bad side here. This conflict is not about philosophical arguments (I wish it was that romantic), it is about the land itself; See, as many other tropical countries, Colombia is blessed by its land, it is flooded in natural resources, biodiversity and a never ending agroindustry production; But as much as a blessing all that may be, it is also a curse. Resources are equivalent to money, and powers behind that big money is why this country people has suffered for so long.

        Now, lets resume it all reduces to 3 sides of the story: The Guerrillas, The Paramilitarism and the National Governement. Sadly as I stated previously, there is no good side on this story. All sides have tried to exploit the lands for their own interests no matter the cost, sometimes there is a blurry line between the three.
        Just so you understand better, indeed Guerrillas are Narcoarmies (they lost their political goals long ago), and yes, they’ve given lots of pain to our people, but its just the top of the iceberg.
        To precise on recent history (because its been more than 50 years of conflict), our last governement did indeed pull a hard war against Guerrillas but at the same part of it kinda allied with Paramilitarism (of course behind courtains), Paramilitars grew so strong these years they started pushing out -by force- the people form their lands in massive amounts, from every corner of the country, hence on the last 10 years the forced displacement ciphers have rocketed horribly, ONG’s talk about 8 MILLION displaced refugees on the cities. What happened to their lands? Well now most of them belong to Palm or Banana multinational companies who bought these lands on agreement with the national governement.

        I don’t want to enter in details about the horrors our Afrocommunities, Farmers and Indigens have got to suffer because of the huge violence, but just so you know there are stories about how they played Soccer with people’s heads after massacres… Sadly all three parts of the conflict have been involved in such things, don’t think Governement military is any better because it represents the people, I mean, in a way, they do and they’re more acceptable than the criminal groups, but do never forget a primate with a weapon is still a primate. Give a gun to anyone and you’ll see them pulling it out to demand something sooner than later.

        And that was just a flash glance at our reality, imposible to summarize in few words. Next time please do some more research before declaring things about something you really don’t know anything about. Your comment sounds like a George W. Bush speech, and thats not really a compliment.

  4. Abby

    You’ve done it again! I miss BOGOTA and COLOMBIA in general SOOO much, it almost hurts. Juices! I don’t think I saw the tasty juices listed!! Any kind, incredibly fresh (and oftentimes squeezed in front of you!), and outrageously cheap!! So glad you’re still having a blast, thanks for writing- its so great to read!!

  5. Alma Viviana Silva

    Me encanto tu post, creo que has logrado captar las mas divertidas y especiales habilidades de los Bogotanos. Te felicito por conocernos tan bien!!

    1. David Antonio Montoya

      Y es así, para tales fines de ser amables, de tener buenos precios en la comida, y de tener ciertos comportamientos peculiares, se describe totalmente a Colombia.

      ¡Excelente artículo!

      1. andres torres

        Please……haz otro post…another 101 reasons…….I did love the post banana….It really touch my heart and i laught as a kid…..Bogota does rocks!!!!! thanks to foreigners like u!!!!!

  6. Camilo De Guzmán

    Great post, you’ve mentioned some of my favorite things! (I would add the availability of freshly-squeezed juice at every corner). I’ve always thought the entire length Calle 26 should portray an army of Palmas de Cera (Andean Palm Tree) welcoming people to Bogota as they drive from the airport towards de mountains.

    1. Travis Crockett

      LOVE IT!! This is an absolutely brilliant post, it is so nice to read a positive perspective. Sure, sometimes this place tests the patience of the average foreigner but when you know this city well it is a delight and when you have an attitude like yours I am sure everyday is a great day.

      I would disagree with a few but then that is a the beauty of perspective, some things I dislike (papaya, arepas and Aguila) are appreciated by others. Nice to see this from a female point of view as well, because if a guy wrote this list, the first 50 would be about all the ridiculously hot Colombian women. Also, no-one has ever stood up for me on a bus even when I was in visible pain due to a football injury, that is definitely an advantage of being a 6 foot tall blonde girl. 🙂

      1. bananaskinflipflops

        Haha, Travis there were a few comments in the pub last night about buses being a different experience for blonde girls… I am considering spending the day disguised as a mad Granny, purely for research purposes, to see if my hair/eye colour does make a difference… 🙂

  7. Fernando

    Very inspiring to see someone from another country taking the time to write this down about my home town. I miss Bogota. Also, it sounds like Bogota is for you a place “where you have to go”.I’m not going to sell my blog to you BUT, if you feel like it, I’d be honored if you add a word or two to my site about Bogota, so not only colombian friends do it.

    I live in LA, on my way to NY, maybe next stop… Bogota? Tempting.

    Abrazos.

  8. alex

    you have captured some great things which makes me smile and feel so proud to be colombian! I always feel guilty and biased when I say how great it is but, it soooo pleases me that others see the beauty of my country 😉 xx

  9. Lu

    Soy colombiana, vivo lejos ahora y me hiciste feliz con tu post!
    Mi razón preferida: todo el mundo sonríe.
    So glad you’re enjoying it!

  10. l

    ‘No Car Day’ are some times in the year, not only once. and i don´t like el corral, they used to do burgers with californian red worms.
    well nice post
    i love bog

    1. bananaskinflipflops

      Californian red worms? Sounds like an urban legend to me… the Mexicana is still awesome. p.s ‘No Car Day’ has provoked a fight among my friends, no-one can agree on its frequency, it seems to just happen at random 🙂

      1. Carlos

        The red worms thing is an urban legend. It was a rumor supposedly started by their competitors in the 90’s. They had to fight it tooth and nail, but apparently some people still believe it.

        The no-car day started about 10 years ago on the first Thursday in February. It is still -officially- only once a year on that day, but once in a while parts of the city are closed to create pedestrian walkways.

  11. Laura

    It seems like we -Colombians- sometimes need someone from abroad to remind us the reasons why we live happy here even if we constantly complain about politics, violence, traffic and so. I think this is a great post! I love it! and I feel lots of my friends should read it too. I am glad you are having such a good time here. I arrived to Bogotá a few months ago, and I felt a bit weird but happy when someone offered me to carry my bag on a crowded bus… haha! I had forgotten about that kind of tradition we have here! 😉 .. oh! you should go on a cold afternoon to Solerno, is a panaderia and cafe on the centre, they have a very traditional Chocolate Santafereno, it is very good! … whit cheese and corn bread.. mmh!

    1. bananaskinflipflops

      Thanks Laura, I know I felt weird the first time an old lady offered to hold my shopping bags… she was sitting there with all my bananas and papayas on her lap while I clung on for dear life! Also thank you for the chocolate recommendation, I will definitely check it out…

  12. Alejandro

    Thanks for taking the time to write this post, “flaca linda”. We Colombians love our country, but also lack a lot of self-esteem about what foreign visitors might think about it. Also, it is amazing that you like Bogota, having the fact that it is not the best place in Colombia. You should visit the south too Cali, Popayan and Pasto 😉

  13. Natalya

    I read your blog. I lived in Bogotá for 3 and a half years, but could never appreciate it like you can. I guess it takes a foreigner to appreciate our land 🙂 Thanks for writing it!!!

    1. C

      Strongly agree. It becomes inspiring in turn for Bogotano locals like me so see inspired foreigners be inspired by us. The more visitors the merrier, we actually need other points of view, and a constructive perspective. I think one of the new great things about Bogota is its on-growing “expat” population.

  14. Julie

    Oh God I wish I could be with you over there, I love Bogotá and can’t wait to return in December.

    London is good and is my home town but Bogotá and Colombia in general is just a whole new thing.

    Thanks for writing something so enjoyable to read.

  15. Marcela

    Hey! Loved what you wrote about our city!!!!! So good to read what others love, sometimes I think is just normal, and don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it; but thanks for pointing out so many good things!

  16. Andres

    Now I’m living outside my beautiful Bogota, and you made me smile, everything is true, we have our problems but I know that any big city has them, I love the smile of Bogota in the Sunday morning in the It’s something unique, you feel that really is a different day.

  17. Gabriel

    Me encantó tu post. Gracias por escribirlo. Me pareció curioso que muchas cosas que mencionas que te gustan son cosas que los Bogotanos (o almenos yo) no nos detenemos a pensar y a disfrutar, sino que simplemente por el hecho de ser cotidianas las damos por sentadas y no las gozamos como debiéramos.
    Te deseo que la sigas pasando bien en Bogotá y pasa a saludar cuando quieras.

  18. Steven

    I have been to Bogota several times in the last 4 years, for my job.

    Each time, I love it more and more. I see you know what I am talking about!

    Every person I spoke to that comes back from there says the same thing, ‘Yeah, I could live here.’

    You know a place is special when a guy from NYC can manage a team in Bogota, and he doesnt even speak spanish.

    Bogota does rock!
    Steven
    voice123

  19. Paola

    Pocas veces he visto un post tan irrespetuoso de una ciudad o de una cultura. Un periodista de verdad debe rasguñar la superficie y no quedarse en nimiedades. Es evidente que usted no conoce Bogotá lo suficiente para emitir unos juicios tan apresurados como lo está haciendo.

    Decir que los cortes de energía (que no son usuales) son un bello recordatorio del Blitz además es un insulto a su propia cultura. Usted no sólo no vivió el Blitz, cualquiera que lo haya vivido le diría que NO necesitará jamás un “Bello recordatorio” de un episodio tan oscuro para la historia de una nación. Por otro lado, decirle a alguien Mami es lo más irrespetuoso que uno puede hacer, y asumir que la altura la va a hacer adelgazar no sólo es mentira, también es absolutamente ingenuo.

    Me parece increible que haya tanta gente felicitándola, cuando está insultando tan evidentemente una cultura y un país que al parecer le abrieron las puertas.

    1. bananaskinflipflops

      No way! I love Bogota (obviously!!) and I also love my country … they are different in many ways, but both unique and lovely … we British are very, very proud of our ‘Blitz spirit’ you know … stiff upper lip and all that… it’s okay to joke and be trivial sometimes, the world would be very dark otherwise 🙂

      1. Javier

        I think this person missed something important from the whole thing.

        Now to the very important and relevant things: I think the “mami” as a short way of saying “I wish you were the mother of my children”, although by now it probably means just “gorgeous” or something to that tune.

        It’s similar to when, on the street, someone calls you “monita” (well… you are actually monita 🙂 ), even when you are of African ancestry

        Keep up the writing. It’s wonderful to see my own city through a new set of eyes.

    2. Ale

      Paola, ¿Irrespetuoso? Puede que lo del Blitz sea cierto, pero a mi me parece divertido que me digan “mami” en la calle, me siento bonita y feliz. La altura claro que hace adelgazar cuando se es extranjero, por que se hace el doble de esfuerzo, por la altura 😛

      No hay que tomarse las cosas tan en serio, y ser feliz!

      Excelente Post, me hizo sonreir!
      Y ya tengo una Berenjena del Exito 🙂

    3. Andres

      Irrespetando? De qué habla Paola? Deje ese complejo tan triste y no nos amargue el rato a los que leemos esto.
      @bananaskinflipflops Wonderful insights, you got all the essence, the spark and the colors of the people. Keep up with the good work!

    4. Crisspe

      Que pesada, Paola! Si, es verdad que Bogotá no es una cama de rosas pero tambén es cierto que tiene muchas cosas fabulosas. Me parece triste que se sienta insultada con este blog; quienes felicitan a Banana Skin se sienten nostálgicos al leerlo. Lo del Blitz es solo una muestra del sarcasmo Inglés, que uno sólo entiende cuando ha vivido en England mucho tiempo. Vicky, don’t let this boba rain on your parade. Keep enjoying beautiful Bogotá. x

      1. Sally

        What a great way of drawing a portrait of a city! Some of these 101 reasons are personal and disputable but many of them made me smile or laugh out loud because they are so recognisable. I don’t like it when people call me ‘mami’ but, from their point of view, I don’t think they are trying to be disrepectful or insulting.

  20. adriana

    Buenisisimo este post me encantó!!! no entiendo la tal Paola que se cree jaja están dándole la mejor imagen a Bogotá y esta diciendo que es un irrespeto. Cuanto me alegra que una persona de un país tan diferente al que es Colombia le haga semejante apología e invite a las personas a venir, ya que muchos tienen una imagen muy equivocada de lo que es Colombia. Gracias banana!!! love it

  21. Miguel Andres Suarez

    They said Colombians loves to hear compliments about our country/city, yes we are guilty!!
    often because diffciulties we forgot about good things also happens around us. Cheers

    1. bananaskinflipflops

      Haha, okay so there is some debate about 55… BUT 21 is 100 per cent true… I was having a manicure the other day when a high-ranking policeman came in for his manicure, while two uniformed officers waited outside!! I see guys in my salon all the time, which is great – except when they get them buffed – shiny nails are too much I think… 🙂

      1. Crisspe

        yep! I was having my manicure done on my last visit when an army guy (in uniform) came to have his nails done. He must have been a regular because he and the nail technician were chatting like old friends, asking for each other’s families. While he was having his nails done he was giving instructions over an army radio to other guys in army barracks all over the country! Only in Colombia.

  22. Liz

    Don’t worry about what others say about you or how you describe Bogota. I loved it!!!!
    It reminded me of the trivial stuff that goes on there that does make a difference in your day. People smiling at you, kindness, Corral kicking MC’s ass…that was great! the parks, the coffee shops, the food, people…everything. I know my country has its problems but we somehow manage to be joyful and grateful for what we have even if it’s little.
    You can only come to understand that when you are from another country or when you are living outside Colombia, like me. There are many many other reasons to love Bogota and all of Colombia! I’m glad you posted this. It brought a smile to my face 🙂

  23. Carlos

    I am glad you like Bogotá. I also admire your optimism. But just keep some things in mind:

    – As a foreigner you get a lot better treatment in the streets than locals (happens everywhere, one could say). Most Colombians are honest, helpful people, but we will only lower our defenses when around people we know or foreigners. There are too many “vivos” in this place.

    – Some of the things you find lovely are consequences of poverty rather than quality of life (think 3, 5, 6, 13, 26, 34, 38 -those are smuggled in, did you know?, 44, 53, etc)

    – We are not eco-nazis. We don’t even recycle. Lights get turned off because electricity is really expensive and the no-car day helps a bit with the awful smog clouds hovering some days over the city.

    Seriously, it is great that you love Bogotá. But for those 101 things you love there are 1010 we should work and fix to make this the paradise it could be.

    And last, but not least, the “Mami” one is not respectful. Most of the time is actually the opposite.

    1. Carlos

      And one more thing… 59… it is because we don’t have a good health system, or any welfare, and universities are out of reach for most people. Those are really important problems, but good on you for somehow making them a positive 😉

      1. bananaskinflipflops

        Again, I mostly wrote this for friends home in England – I was trying to say living in Colombia makes you appreciate some things at home we take for granted… for example, people moan about the NHS. But we have one.

    2. bananaskinflipflops

      Agreed and my housemate made the same comment about the eco-Nazis, although some people do recycle (my first apartment here) and there are separate bins in lots of places…. but as for ‘Mami’ – I’m talking about when women say it, rather than men…. shop assistants etc?

      1. Carlos

        We also try to recycle, but there are very limited facilities to do so. Some buildings will have arrangements with “recyclers” to pick up stuff, but it is far from standard and a lot of material that could be recycled ends up in land fill.

        Let me try and attempt to clarify the “Mami” issue 🙂

        1. Mami can be used as “mommy” (as papi for “Daddy”), and that is widespread. But not our issue here.

        2. Mami is used by some women to refer to “peers” or “dear ones”, but mainly (or even only) in lower socio-economic environments. It implies trust and closeness between the persons, and when used in the example you mention it is likely an unconscious attempt to friendliness, and would be seen by many people as “confianzudo” (over-familiar? too friendly for comfort?) . That is why is not respectful at all, it may actually show rudeness from someone if they try to hard to use it. But most of the time is just very friendly or too-friendly.

        3. When Mami is used from a guy (again, it is likely you will only hear it used by people from a low socio-economic background) it is too-friendly and if the closeness is not there, is likely to be sexist or an attempt to flirt.

        Hope this clarifies the most common uses. I would have loved not to have to introduce the context of socio-economic environments to explain it, but that is in intrinsic part of our culture. And hearing someone called “Mami” (except in case 1) in a higher socio-economic environment will be definitely frowned upon and not likely tolerated.

  24. bibianita23

    Brilliant!! your blog did the job. I just came back to my beautiful Bogotá after 12 years of living abroad and I am looking for reasons that would make me stay… here are 101 of them!! great post!! thank you 🙂 I teach Spanish with Rosetta Stone if anyone is interested 🙂

  25. Mike

    I didn’t agree on everything you wrote, and some of the things you like probably happened to you because you are a pretty girl…which is cool!

    The important thing is that YOU loved these things about Colombia. So, thank you for spreading the word about this wonderful country and its people! I swear I feel happier there than any other place in the world and tried to move there myself long term but just couldn’t make it work. I’ve probably been there 8 times more than any other country.

    My thoughts:
    2) Disagree with eco-Hitler. You can go out of your way to recycle and it just doesn’t happen. Many of the things you mention, happen for other reasons.

    7) Where are the 2hr cheap salsa classes? I could never find any because everyone learns how to dance since birth. Seriously! Digame mami! 🙂

    14) What’s the City Paper called and gotten? All of the major papers are in spanish. I’d like to read it.

    20) The love for books is true and untrue. I LOVE the Book Fair every year and how it’s such a big deal. However, Books are also more expensive than in English speaking countries which makes it difficult for the poor to buy and improve their education. Since less books are sold, companies have to charge more to make a profit. Books are so expensive, the poor often default to watching TV. So, this Catch 22 cycle is quite sad and must be solved.

    21) It seems some people are being hard on you because you’re implying all the men get manicures. However, I’ll back you up on this one. My Colombian girlfriend was shocked when I told her I didn’t go to the beauty salon. Evidently, most of the guys she knows do.

    28) Losing Weight is awesome. I eat almost whatever I want and 95% of the time lose weight. However, it is partly because of the diet. Even though there is some amazing food, they have a lot less preservatives, unhealthy sauces, etc. in their food than the US or UK.

    55) Yeah, you’re wrong on the Mami one, unless it was one of your friends says it to you affectionately or jokingly. It’s considered impolite. But, that’s great it doesn’t bother you! Most colombianas I know take offense but try to ignore it.

    83) Taxi drivers waiting for you to open your door is not that common, but hey you have a gift!

    Might be more accurate to say “101 reasons why I love Bogota” and to say things in reference that they happened to you, not imply they happen to everyone. But, hey that’s just being picky.

    WHat a great list. So glad you are enjoying mi hogar. If you’re still there or even if you left, please do your part to help make it an even better place.

    Cuidate mucho

    1. bananaskinflipflops

      Mike, thank you – yes, you are right – but you have to remember I wrote this list for friends and family… maybe it would have been different if I had known more than 5,000 people would read it!!! I would have thought about it more… but, firstly, I was talking more about when women call me ‘Mami’ often younger ones or in shops etc… The City Paper is called exactly that… you can find it in hotels, museums, Juan Valdez, pubs… as for books, you can buy them very cheaply (in Spanish obv) at the flea market on septima on Sundays (it’s around 24/25 something like that) and also close to the centre are cheaper shops and market stalls, museo del oro etc. I am addicted to bookshops even though I can’t read well in Spanish yet. These books are affordable-ish, but like anything, if you are really poor you need to eat first! My salsa class is in Chapinero and may be one of the reasons I have lost weight… 🙂

  26. Andrea

    Ok, hay muchas cosas que definitivamente hay que arreglar. Pero viviendo lejos puedo decir que a mi este post me dio unas ganas terribles de montarme en un avion y devolverme. Para mi el 39 es definitivamente el que mas me parece emblematico de mi ciudad. Mas aun cuando se vive lejos en un lugar sin montanhas 😦
    Gracias!

  27. Monica

    Thank you thank you thank you!!!
    I am from Bogotá and I have been away from Colombia for five years. Reading this honestly brought tears to my eyes just remembering all those wonderful things.

  28. Juanpa

    Wow I was impressed with the list, made me nostalgic. The morning view of the mountains after a rainy night can be awesome, maybe that is what I missed the most living in this flatland.
    Certainly Bogota has many charming points that we might miss while living there and then they are so obviously needed while abroad, like the tinto made with the ubiquitous “greca” in most offices. Sigh.
    Time to look for some flights back…

  29. Santiago

    You are so ready to write a book about Bogota!!! (Lonely planet? Helloooo!!!) GO FOR IT GIRL!!! This post was fab! And yes, you missed the best part: Ajiaco 🙂 I am sharing this on Facebook, I hope it goes viral!

  30. galactus

    Muy buena lista. Hay que decir que algunas de las razones en la lista se pueden resumir a que la mano de obra en Colombia es muy barata, y es muy barata debido a la enorme desigualdad social que existe. Asi, cuando se tiene un cierto ingreso, un colombiano (o un visitante) puede pagarse servicios que la clase media de los paises desarrollados no puede ni soñar: una empleada domestica de tiempo completo, un “celador” en la puerta del edificio, manicure todos los dias, etc. El título de la lista podria ser “101 razones para amar a Bogota, cuando se dispone de mas de _____ dolares al mes”.

  31. juan

    May I suggest an update to the title of your article? What about “101 Reasons to love Bogotá When You Are A “Good Looking” White Tourist With Some Decent Money And An Internet Connection”?
    All those “funny”, “corky”, “cute” situations that you mention are just the result of a proud, ignorant, macho, corner-cutting, “national mind” that has been snowballing down history since the foundation of the Colombian state. A mentality that violates and marginalizes millions of people because of their race, their socio-economic status and their regional background. They are the ones who don’t get to write blogs about how “cool” Bogotá is. They will never know what it is to do “rumba at the gym” or what a “chocolate crocantino” tastes like cuz they are SERVING it to you. They are the ones who have sell their labor for “£1.75” in order to feed their families and for you to enjoy and write about our “divine culture”. And they HATE you.

    1. bananaskinflipflops

      I completely agree with you and I could have written 101 things I dislike about poverty and inequality across the world, including England which is supposed to be a ‘developed’ country. As you say, I have the education, time and even the Internet to do so. But my blog is meant to be fun and trivial and is not the place for politics. The world is grey. The girl who does my nails has an iPhone. Crepes and Waffles prides itself on its ethical hiring practices, supporting single mums and yes, they have a staff meal before the start of a shift. Rich people must, must, must spend their money because if the economy fails, poor people die quicker. We also often choose the cheapest places, even though we can afford to spend more. That’s, for me, the harsh reality of a failing capitalist system. I guess Marx would argue ‘false consciousness’ means they don’t hate me. Thanks again.

      1. Andrés Villaveces

        Good reply! of course, one may always find 101 reasons to like Bogotá (as a bogotano, I actually agree with most of your own reasons) or London or whatever interesting place there is… Also, one may easily find 101 reasons to dislike Bogotá (or London, or whatever interesting place there is) if one wants to do so. But beyond that, I like the freshness of your view of this (complicated, but wonderful; unequal but shifting and dynamic) city. Finally, it all boils down to the world being grey, or multicolor (not black and white). The paradoxes you mention (Crepes and Waffles’s hiring policies, girls who do nails with iPhones) are very real. The fabric of our society includes them.

    2. Carlos

      Come on Juan, dial the resentment down a notch. You are right the she is likely to enjoy some advantages for being a tourist and obviously a foreigner, but there is also plenty of people that -even when faced with awful economic conditions- find pride in being honest, helpful and nice.

      Our mindset is certainly a big hindrance in our ability to develop, has caused a myriad of issues and has made this country worse. But you can’t jump to the conclusion that all people in difficult situations HATE (in capital letters!) people like the blogger. They are more likely to dislike those arrogant and pretentious Colombians that feel entitled to act as if they were masters of those around them. Hardly the case of the blogger from what I can gather.

      I don’t agree with all of her points, think that a better title would have been “101 reasons why I love Bogotá” and I even call her on the reality behind a couple of points, but I am grateful she has been able to interact with enough of our peers to make her feel this is a city worth loving. A lot of us don’t usually feel that.

      1. Travis Crockett

        Hola Juan,

        I feel really sorry for you, would I be right in saying that you didn’t like living in Bogotá? It also appears that you don’t believe that you or anyone else can do anything to make Bogotá or Colombia a better place to live due to the culture? You don’t believe it is worth trying to make a difference, even a small one to level the playing field for poorer and less fortunate Colombians? My suggestion in that case is to stay where you are and don’t return, it sounds like you have nothing positive to add. Ask yourself, if you truly believe that Bogotá can not be changed for the better, do you think that Bogotá has experienced change in the past 15 years or do you think it is the same or worse?

        Ok, point taken, you are not blaming the blogger you are blaming Colombians and attacking the character of the blogger for being superficial and fortunate. In fact it appears you resent all first world tourists to the point of being racist – “superficial white views” was it? For a start, not all tourists are white and the blogger is not a tourist, she lives here and that is probably why her insights are so much more interesting than those of a tourist.

        I wasn’t suggesting that you were trying to solve the problems, I was suggesting that would be a more productive activity rather than moaning about how terrible Colombia and Colombian culture is. Perhaps we could take some reading comprehension lessons together. Please enlighten me as to what it is you are contributing to anything other than satisfying your need to be critical, negative or to demonstrate your intellectual superiority. Being critical is not difficult.

        Your opinion is noted and probably valid and clearly you are very intelligent but sadly it seems that is where it ends for you, offering an opinion and you have no intention of taking action to effect change or to offer or look for solutions. Perhaps that is a characteristic you share with those ignorant Colombians you seem so intent on criticising.

    3. Daniele Bianco

      thank you juan, i was more disruptive but you caught the point i brutally and so unelegantly exposed afterwards. In fact, no one talked nor replied to your comment.

      1. Juan

        Thank YOU Daniele, I think your comment (apart from the ALL CAPS in the first paragraph) was spot on. In conclusion, the post is fair. Coming from the perspective of a first world tourist with the means to enjoy our little piece of hell, that is. What is tiring and disturbing is how quickly Colombians fall for words of “approval” coming from first world, and how, with the internet, they feel the need to disseminate these superficial white “views” as absolute realities, as a mean to sell Colombia back to Colombians. Like a cheap self-propaganda suggestion therapy. That colonial complex is part of the many reasons why things in that country will never change. Colombians absolutely define the concept of “selling out”.

      2. bananaskinflipflops

        Brilliant! From a white girl (I prefer blonde, but let’s not split hair :-P) living in Colombia to a Latino (si?) living in the United States (cierto?) … this blog is nothing if not polemic… what could I expect with 10,000+ hits on a list I wrote one night for pure fun, sitting in my room, listening to the rain (as always) in this gorgeous city …

        Ironically, I am currently working on a controversial piece of actual journalism… but don’t worry, I won’t put it on my blog. Had a look at your art Juan, seems pretty cool, good luck with that.

      3. Juan

        I’m glad you agree with me. To be honest, I don’t find your blog to be polemic at all. Part of “being Colombian” is growing up listening to those romantic visions of how “my land” is cute, corky, and “gorgeous”, from tourists from all over. It is expected and totally understandable. Again, what interests me is the way Colombians furiously circulate those versions to propagate and defend an image of their land that is not real (or that is only experienced from a highly privileged place, supported by a system based on extreme social injustice and economic inequality). I guess, we have to thank the had work and corruption behind the “Colombia is Passion” country brand for that one. “A lie repeated thousands of times becomes a truth”.
        I’m glad you get to enjoy Bogotá, if there’s one thing Colombians are good for, it’s making a “24-hour rumba” out of that (literally) bloody mess.

      4. bananaskinflipflops

        Well, I half agree with you. Clearly the blog is polemic – just look at the extremes of the comments. But I think you misunderstood the post. It is not a piece about Bogota. It is a piece about the ‘quirky’ things to love about Bogota. All of these are personal to me (it is entirely possible not everyone loves papaya – don’t know why)
        I don’t have a romantic vision of Colombia or the world generally. I wish I did. I write this blog and posts like these for light relief from my usual misery at the widespread love for capitalism (THAT is where we agree. “Extreme social injustice” just about sums it up.) and THAT is why I believe people shared it so widely. Sometimes we all need a boost and a break from it all.
        For that reason, I believe a similar post from a foreigner would have been equally as popular in my home ‘first world’ city. I also believe people loved it so much because it was so obviously truthful. You couldn’t create a list like this, you couldn’t see these details if you didn’t love a place, whatever its failings. Like you say, I have means. I could have chosen to live anywhere. And I chose Bogota.

      5. Travis Crockett

        Brilliant response Bananaskinflipflops. Danielle, Juan and Alejandro, maybe you could find somewhere else to post your rhetoric. The original blog post was not about anything other than the authors positive observations of this city and it shows that she is able to look at things that others might see as negative and find the bright side. She is not ignoring problems of social injustice or capitalism because that is not what she was writing about. If she is on the receiving end of some good luck being born in a first world country and being an attractive blonde girl then so be it, it is not your place to judge her for that. She should be judged on the content of her character and knowing the author personally would be the only way for you to make such judgements, not based on a positive perspective piece.

        As for your comments Alejandro, I know a number of aspirational Colombians that think that living in the US is the ultimate and believe in “The American Dream”, there are even TV novellas about it, see “La teacher de Ingles”, that it turns out lots of people actually watch. This I agree is very sad. The average Colombian, in general, is far happier, less obsessed with obtaining wealth, less stressed, more connected to their family and more interested in the concept of social equality than the average American, living in the US (in general).

        Colombian culture, like any culture has it’s good and bad but I certainly enjoy living here and think that it is worth trying to have a positive impact and change some of the bad. My question to all of you, Juan, Alejandro and Danielle, what exactly are you doing personally to try and solve the problems of social injustice that you so violently object to and seem to be blaming the author for? Or is it all just talk?

      6. juan

        I’m sorry to see that you have reading comprehension problems, Travis. If you get someone that can help you reading my comments for you, that person will explain you that in my writing:

        a) There’s not one suggestion that the author is to blame for what Colombians have work hard for (making that country a tropical paradise for tourists and a living hell for 90% of its habitants).

        b) There’s not even a hint about me having ANY intentions to “solve the problems” of millions of people who have chosen to proudly live in ignorance, drinking aguardiente and killing each other, while the rest of the country lives neck-deep in poverty and tourists enjoy the 24-hour rumba.

        Good luck developing those reading skills, Travis. They might come in handy in a near future.

      7. Chirri

        Juan, si ud vive aca y piensa que el 90% de la gente vivimos en pobreza y en ignorancia porque asi lo decidimos mejor larguese del pais ya que con esa actitud no va a lograr nada, si no vive en Colombia no me extraña en lo mas mínimo el tipo de comentarios que hace, al ser LO SUFICIENTEMENTE COBARDE para huir de la situación y no hacer nada para mejorarla. En vez de estar criticando publicaciones de extrangeros que se enamorardon del país y que se quieren quedar por cualquier motivo, pongase a pensar (ya que ud es parte del otro 10%) en como mejorar la situación del otro 90%.

        Juan, if you live here and you think that 90% of the people live here in poverty and ignorance because they chose to, you better get the f*** out of the country because with that attitude you’re not going to be any help. But, if you don’t live here, it doesn’t surprise me at all the kind of comments you’re posting. You’re being A COWARD by running away from the situation and doing nothing to make things better. Instead of wasting your time criticizing the post of an foreigner who’s in love with the country and wants to stay for different reasons, you would be better to think (as you are part of the other 10%) of how to fix the situation for the other 90%.

        Thanks… and go to hell =] ♥

      8. Carlos

        I was trying to come up with a good response to Juan’s latest rant, but Travis and Chirri beat me to it. Clearly having an education or opportunities is not enough to add a positive contribution. One has to have the attitude. One of the things I wanted to achieve was to motivate some of the people overseas to come back and make a difference. Today I have learned that having experienced other cultures is not sufficient. A desire to give back to the culture that has made us -in great part- what we are is a major requirement.

    4. Crisspe

      …and they are what makes Colombia what it is. Otherwise it would be Norway or Switzerland and Banana would have nothing to be amazed by or to write about. And they DON’T hate her.
      YOU hate her, judging by the tone of your post. Banana has every right to LOVE Bogotá and to share her love and amazement with the world!
      Keep writing Vicky! xxxx

      1. Crisspe

        …that was in regards to Juan’s 1st post; in regards to what he said to Travis on his last post… clearly you are the one who need help developing your reading skills, not Travis.
        It’s very obvious you don’t get anything anyone has said to your comments.
        To summarize: Juan, you’re the typical ex-pat asshole who live abroad slagging-off your
        country whilst doing nothing to help improve it. Stay where you are and good luck playing “white” whilst knowing you’ll always be nothing but another latino immigrant. I bet you make your mates call you James.

  32. June Carolyn Erlick

    Soy la autora de Una Gringa en Bogotá y me encantó esa lista….

    I’m the author of A Gringa in Bogotá: Living Colombia’s Invisible War and I found this list hilariously amusing!

  33. Felipe

    Thank you, your point of view about Bogota it´s refreshing, I won´t make suggestions or criticise, no one should. This is your point of view and everyone is entitled to have one based on their experience.
    Im glad you are having such a great time here and soon enough you will discover more things, some will be bad, some will be very very good, but for me, as a “Bogotano” your blog made feel proud and happy.

    To the rest, especially to Galactus , every part of the world has issues, ive been in London and there are homeless people in the tub, in the streets, i was robbed with a knife in Oxford street, but i could also write 101 things I loved about London and neither of those experiences made it to the chart, so its not about the money, or the social issues, this city has a pretty face and you should be happy thay someone is enjoying it, perhaps more than you or me.

    1. galactus

      Yo no estaba juzgando la lista, me pareció muy acertada. Solo hacia un comentario sobre el hecho de que algunas de las ventajas de vivir en Bogotá solo existen para un grupo reducido de personas. Un grupo muy muy reducido, comparado a otros lugares del mundo.

    2. Dan Sharp

      Cripes Felipe! I’ve been to London too but thankfully there wasn’t a homeless person in my tub when I got there. How did you get them out? I suppose turning the taps on would’ve been a start!

    3. j.

      No creo que Galactus pretenda que la lista incluya el robo callejero. El punto de Galactus es distinto. Lo que él dice es que buena parte de las cosas listadas son posibles gracias a que en Bogotá el sistema social hace que la mano de obra sea inmoralmente barata. Por eso es que hay tantos “servicios” disponibles a bajo costo que en otras sociedades son considerados lujos. Esto, obviamente, no explica por qué la calle 47 tiene palmeras, o los cerros, pero sí la existencia de porteros, salones de belleza donde pintan las uñas al precio de una coca-cola, etc. No tiene nada de malo apreciar las cosas buenas de una ciudad, pero supongo que también es importante recordar que algunas de esas cosas buenas son simplemente otra cara de la deprimente desigualdad social.

  34. Diana

    Great post, V! We’ve only met once – through Robert. Anyways, I came across this post cos a friend who lives in Chicago posted it. Glad he did. I’m having a party tomorrow night, does that mean you’ll come?? 😉

  35. Mauricio

    Amazingly creative!!! I got your list via email from a close friend in Bogota; I left 15 years ago. It was very refreshing to see a simple but comforting list of the day-to-day activities and situations that happen in our “Southamerican Athens”. Situations that some how we oversee. You have to be a tourist to see Bogota from a different context and truly appreciate the simple things in life. Thank You! You managed to put a smile on my face. I think it was entertaining, fun and very different that any journalists column or editorial after spending “36 hours in Bogota”. Colombia is sui generis in many aspects, but you managed to capture other ones in a very unique and singular way. Kudos to you!

  36. sofia

    Lovely post!! I’m from the north coast of Colombia and I just love when anyone calls me ‘reina’, ‘mami’, ‘veci’ is ust pure affection. Stop re-thibkibg everything is said, you are not in a negotiation… Es el dia a dia!
    Pd. I rent a furnished appartment in chapinero 🙂 if anyone is interested.

  37. Adriana

    Siempre es bueno conocer a alguien que logra ver el lado bueno y bonito de la vida. Quejarse de Bogotá y verle lo malo y lo feo es de lo más fácil . Agradecer por todo lo lindo que nos da toma más talento y generosidad. Gracias!!!

  38. Daniele Bianco

    I DON’T MEAN TO BE DISRESPECTFUL NOR BITTER OR ANNOYING BUT I HAVE TO SAY THAT ALMOST EVERYTHING ON THE LIST IS RUBBISH AND IT IS PRODUCT OF MANY SAD AND UNDESIRABLE SITUATIONS YOUR NAIVE AND HEDONISTIC OBSERVATION DO NOT ALLOW YOU TO SEE.
    YOU ARE SPEAKING MOSTLY OF A HUGE QUANTITY OF RANDOM SUBCULTURE IMPERFECTIONS, WHICH ARE THE RESULT OF THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF ACHIEVING WESTERN DEVELOPEMENT STANDARDS. AS IMPOSED BY TV AND DISTORTED VIEWS SPREAD AROUND BY YEARS OF MISINFORMATION AND CULTURAL SUBMISSION WE HAVE GROWN AS A LARGE AND DISFUNCTIONAL, DISRUPTED SOCIETY!!!!
    EVERYTHING AROUND HERE IS HALF THE WAY DONE; HALF THE WAY ACHIEVED, BUT I GUESS THAT YOU EUROPEAN OR AMERICAN SHALLOW TOURISTS CAN ONLY SEE AND ENJOY THE AMUSING ODDITIES THAT YOU WOULD OTHERWISE COURSE AND CONDEMN IN YOUR OWN COUNTRIES!!!! FOR YOU IS JUST A NICE SAFARI, A NICE TRIP TO THE JUNGLE, TO THE ZOO, WHERE PEOPLE BEHAVE IN STRANGE AND CURIOUS WAYS AND YOU SIMPLY FIND IT TO BE FUN… HAVE YOU TAKE ANY PICTURES? HAVE YOU RECORDED SOMEONE CALLING ‘MAMITA’ A GOOD LOOKING GIRL ON THE STREET? IT IS THE MOST SAD AND PRIMITIVE SAMPLE OF ‘MACHISMO’ AND UNEDUCATION THERE CAN BE, I CAN ASSURE YOU NOT A SINGLE WOMAN FEELS COMFORTABLE WITH AN UNEDUCATED GORILLA CALLING HER MAMITA WHEN SHE PASSES BY.
    ME MYSELF, AS A MAN WHO LIKES WOMEN, LOATH AND AVOID THAT BEHAVIOR FOR IT INSULTS MY MOM’S MEMORY AND ALL WOMEN DIGNITY, STARTING FROM MI wIFE’S AND MY CHILD’S.
    MANY COLOMBIANS FIND IT DEEPLY UNPOLITE!
    HONESTLY I FIND THIS LIST A LITTLE BIT INSULTING AND OFFENSIVE TOWARDS MANY PEOPLE THAT HAVE AKNOWLEDGED THAT BOGOTA IS IN FACT A HELLHOLE SURROUNDED BY AN INDEED BEAUTIFUL BUT ENDANGERED AND GRADUALLY HEAVILY DAMAGED ENVIRONMENT.
    CELEBRATING AND PRAISING THIS “FOLKLORISTIC” AND “SPECIAL” “QUALITIES” IS ACTUALLY VERY HARMFUL BECAUSE THERE IS JUST A tiny PORTION OF OUR POPULATION THAT CAN ACTUALLY AFFORD TO SEE THINGS THIS WAY: THOSE ARE THE WEALTHY ONES: BOGOTA IS ACTUALLY ONE OF THE WORLD’S CAPITALS OF SOCIAL INEQUALITY.

    Just last year many economic studies demonstrated how Latin America was the most unequal region in the whole world, and how Colombia was the most unequal region in LatAm…

    I find this list only a shallow and DREADFULLY deceiving expression of a momentary touristic distraction.
    It has no relevance whatsoever and shouldn’t have ever reached the facebook visibility.
    EVER!
    Therefore I just don’t understand so many colombians celebrating it.
    But, again, we are so deeply underdeveloped, poor and uncivilized, that whatever tiny crumb of a distorted compliment makes us blind and makes us drown in our own extatic drooling.

    Let me tell you a few things about lovely Bogota:

    Bogota is by all means the worst urbanistic mistake ever made by humanity, excluding perhaps a tiny portion comprised between, Calle 6 and Calle 45, and, Carrera Quinta, (Tercera if you want to force things a bit) and Carrera 30. The rest is , facing south, a sad and bitter reality of self – built housing, dusty and filthy unfinished streets, representing all that is rotten and abandoned by Institutional and Institutionalized neglection in Colombia; and facing north, a sad, poor and lame resemblance of a wannabe Miami or New York, only A LOT cheaper because we dont have the means to achieve anything that gets near to those so called models (admitting they are to be followed, any way) and we don’t have the BALLS to accept we are NOT them. In fact, no one around here knows what does it mean to be Colombian, other than showing around what you HAVE and by that, making a statement that you are MORE than every one around you… That and starting drinking on wednesday afternoons until the week is approaching to the down of sunday, ARE clearly TWO lovely features.

    Real Estate Business, the Finance involved, Politics and SO CALLED Politicians, have made sistematically impossible to achieve anything like LONG TERM PLANNING in this place. It is just HINDERING of their MONETARY GROWTH: City has been growing by particular INTERESTS, not common INTEREST, for decades…
    As a result, we have what we have: Nothing that can seriusly be called A CITY.

    There was a time when we were able to do things in a better way, though.
    It ended forever in 1948.

    Political Corruption at all levels has turned Bogotá into a hole of dirt and disconfort for most of its inhabitants. People have to spend an average of four hours a day in bus travelling to get from their homes to their jobs, so it is not quite that amusing knowing you can get anywhere by bus, when you have to SUFFER it all life long. But then again, you as a senseless tourist can have but a distorted and presunctuos superior perspective…
    No mass transportation system whatsoever, for a “city” that counts more than 7.5 million inhabitants, thank you, and still very far from achieving something like that.

    When it rains down (and it does pretty hard and almost daily) people in cars become more stupid and uncivilized than they usually are, because -and here is something very special about Bogota, everyone has its own traffic code, its own rules and the sovereign rule amongst drivers is: I GO FIRST, YOU BASTARD!!!

    Intolerance is one of the most common causes of crude violence in the streets even in the middle of most stupid or normal situations. If there is someone that won’t not let someone else passfirst, it is very likely to see that person draw a gun and shoot AT LEAST to the other driver’s vehicle: as a matter of fact it happened yesterday and the radio was talking about it less than 24 hours ago. If there are no guns involved, fists are for sure!!!

    Drunk or hi-on-dope wealthy youngsters (only them can afford it) kill themselves and fellow bogotans in their nice luxury cars after exiting bars and disco clubs at down. If they don’t kill themselves, they would run and get lost before anything else could happen. Should they get caught by police (at down? Police around at down? They aren’t there even when it’s raining, it figures they are not around at down…), of course they could go to prison, at least for driving drunk, but, daddy would bail them out immediately and pay for a fake driver’s license. Kiddo just can’t go around on a bus.
    Damage to PUBLIC property with the car, remains PUBLIC matter so, no problem there, People’s taxes are meant for something, aren’t they??? They won’t fix it any way.

    People sings and sells chocolates on buses not because they are nice people that want to sweeten your ride, but because there aren’t any different jobs -that can be called that way-available. They try to make a living by those means, so if you think about it, it’s rather SAD. For they do it to get some coins: admitting that they earn something, it does not go directly to their pockets. At all! It actually goes to some “boss” that manages and exploits a group of these poor peolple, usually teens or single moms, that are forced into it or just do it to escape from delinquency or drug smuggling or drug abuse. Beware though: they’ve been there, you can see it on their faces. They are not happy at all and most likely they come and go from rehab centers. Not those fancy rehab centers where european or american tourists go after having sniffed all the cocaine they come to get at lower prices around here, no…
    Many more use that money to GET drugs, but again, beware: not that finest COLOMBIAN COCAINE you would find along London’s or New York’s elegant streets and avenues, no. They usually don’t even know what the hell they are smoking, many times mixed up with pulverized bricks (yes BRICKS!!!) or even GLASS and CHALK. It Is called BASUCO it is by far worse than CRACK and it’s probably the most harmful shit there is around. Any of those cheap, terribly unbalanced meals you praise and find adorable in every street, probably cost more than a basuco dose, which will help them hide a little bit longer from hunger and cold and unhappyness…

    This list gets to my nerves because it shows nothing but a disrespectful attitude and a very lame superiority complex.
    It is ok to see positive things about people and places but this silly list is both shallow and deceiving.

    Bogota, on behalf of our NICE and CLEAN and HONEST and VERY COMPETENT politicians, is trying to become a TOURIST DESTINATION. Nothing wrong with that except for the fact that a complete wreckage with nothing to offer but chaos and dust cannot be proclamed as TOURIST DESTINATION. That National Museum you mention is indeed a nice place to visit, but that’s it. Museo del Oro, right; Coleccion Botero, check. OVER.
    The very reason because Bogota is trying to get recognition as a TOURIST DESTINATION is because there is a LOVELY recent legistlation that grants a some 30 year TAX EXEMPTION to entrepreneurs and investors whom might want to build and run HOTEL FACILITIES in the city.
    So, ordinary people, like me, like many thousands, who pay taxes as it is due, have to see how those heavy investments are just a financial scam to rip-off public funds, with which, lets push forward a FOOLISH theory, we could sustain educational campaigns to prevent, e.g. drug abuse by those poor bastards that are very often forced to sniff off glue vapors in search of a surrogate of what in normal cities around the world, such as LONDON, would be called A MEAL!
    I profoundly ignore if you as a journalist, even a serious one, are aware of the fact that many tourists, just come here in search of cheap drugs, cheap sex and “freedom”, where “freedom” stands, sadly, for total abscense of rules and sense of community .

    There are many lovely people in this urban agglomerate, hundreds of thousands of them that come from all around Colombia through decades of national degradation and emargination; as a matter of fact I am from Bogotà and I love it for i have studied its history and I am well aware of its past and its possibilities. But my love for bogota is completely irrational and . Bogota stopped being latin american Athens in 1948. Libraries are very nice, but what’s nicest about them is, once again, and just for a few, the great economic benefit for the construction contractors and their politician friends: it is no surprise for anyone anymore…

    After having flooded this page with this heavy and seemingly bitter reply, i just want to add that is completely legitimate for an orfinary tourist to comment and post shallow and imprecise impressions froma relaxing journey outside routine. But for a British Journalist, it’s awfully blameworthy to go around publishing deceiving and harmful informations about foreign realities mostly based on momentary imprssions. Most of the items in this list are likely to happen just because there is a foreign tourist.
    Smiles, morning greetings and all that rubbish are as odd to us as they are nice and presumably normal for you.
    Bogota is not that lovely after all and for what it costs to live and die in it, one would expect at least a hundred times more of everything that it offers to anyone. Especially those millions whose misery is the base upon which the few build up their fortune. BECAUSE IT IS SIMPLY LIKE THAT.

    As a citizen from Bogota, I would appreciate more if a Journalist from another country stopped by and instead of celebrating and prising meaningless minutiae, would have a little bit more of observation, awareness and criticism. Just as a contibution to build and grow amor decent and LOVELY Bogota.
    Cheers!

    By the way, you dont pay for salsa “classes”, you pay for salsa LESSONS you ignorant deceiver!!!

    1. chiflado

      Aqui vemos otra razón para no querer a Bogota: mucha gente no puede exponer sus argumentos sin caer en el insulto….

      Si entiendo bien, este es un blog personal, no el sitio donde la autora publica sus artículos periodisticos. Deberia calmarse un poco.

    2. Carlos

      What is it with the YELLING!!??? It is considered good manners to use lower case to express one’s opinions.

      But well, the tone of your reply, the under-analysis of many issues and the lack of regard for someone else’s point of view shows exactly what makes Bogotá a difficult place to live in: the culture (or lack of) of a large number of its inhabitants.

      Don’t just chill out. Become part of the solution, don’t keep being part of the problem.

      1. carolina

        Plus, you yelled way after you’d already run out of breath. I agree, couldn’t read past the first paragraph of yelling, too boring…

    3. Alejandro

      “resemblance of a wannabe Miami or New York only A LOT cheaper because we dont have the means to achieve anything that gets near to those so called models (admitting they are to be followed, any way) and we don’t have the BALLS to accept we are NOT them.”
      –> Do you really think the majority of Colombians want to be as USA people? or want the city to be like those in the US?

      “Nothing that can seriusly be called A CITY”
      If Bogota is not a city….What is your definition of a city???

      “THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF ACHIEVING WESTERN DEVELOPEMENT STANDARDS.”
      if the western development standards you are talking about involve a boring life, weak family links, drug problems, high suicide rates, living completely independent, going to a disco just to listen to R&B and electronic music and things like that ones… I AM SURE THAT MUST COLOMBIANS DONT WANT TO ACHIVE THEM

      You must be kidding… do you really think all of this shit???
      Have you gone to Paris, NY, Miami, Mexico city, or any other place at all?
      Take this as an invitation just to travel around other cities… and you will see that all big cities around the earth have those same problems you are mentioning like unique Colombian problems in that shit you have written

      You know… I have lived in Vancouver, Paris, and my current location is Switzerland… and I can assure you… there is NOTHING LIKE COLOMBIA

      FINALLY… don’t miss this, it might teach you something

      1. Mila

        Now, I appreciate that the original post Is meant in a lighthearted and funny was and, in that respect is absolutely brilliant even if ignores all the social issues that cause the situations described. But this video, which has made the round on facebook for some pathetic reason is properly insulting!. Colombia is rich because you can buy sandias for cop$5k? Give me a break!

        At least the OP was being light-hearted, this guy was actually serious. Daniel samper had a terrific article in semana which summarised it: people say that the best thing about Colombia is it’s people, so all our troubles must be caused by the actions of the mountains, the rivers and the seas?

      2. Carlos

        Mila,

        I believe you completely miss the point in the video. It talks about how rich our personal relationships can make us. How rich we are in that sense when compared to a culture like the Japanese. It is about how some things other people find exotic and expensive can be easily available here (the watermelon example). It is about how the definition of rich in something that each culture and each person needs to develop and how we may be facing the wrong way.
        In many (maybe most) ways, Colombia isn’t rich. But in others we may be.

        The video is not about a false sense of richness and hope. Is about what we can do with what we have and how we could appreciate more some things that we take for granted. Some soul searching can take us far if we can abandon some alien models imposed on us. Not easy, but good that some people can see it.

    4. Ivan D Solano.

      to Daniele Bianco
      We, as a persons or Colombians have the possibility to express our ideas in different ways.
      I respect and love the Ideas for the British girl, it has sensibility, humour and capacity to see the big and the little things.
      Is truth, We have many problems, but it depends how you see this problems and what do you want to contribute to improve or to be part of the solution.
      Daniele your text is so aggressive, We ( in name of the Colombian Habitants) are so happy if You are out of here, Our process is to be part of the change and We are going to do, for sure, with patience and happiness, is Our trademark.
      I hope that You will note giving violence trough the world in the name of Colombia, I think that this is only Yours.
      Excuse me for the Bad writing in English, i just try to express You a simple protest for some one Who love, respect this place and want to be part of some change, and for sure someone who see a pretty girl and says , “adios linda” !

    5. Crisspe

      I lost the will to live half way down the paragraph written in capital letters…. Yaaaaaawnn!!! What have you done today to fix any of the rest of babbling you wrote after?

  39. Juan Carlos

    To the author, many many many thanks !!!!!!!!!!!!

    And to Daniele Bianco, if this is not being bitter and disrespectful … what is ???????????

      1. Jen

        To Daniele Bianco: What the hell are you doing living in Bogota? We don’t need people with your attitude. I just got sick reading your rubbish comment.

      2. Diana

        People need to chiiiiill out. The post isn’t titled 101 Realities of Bogotá or anything like that. What is so disturbing about a light hearted post pointing out some nice, humorous observations of a city most of us love? Keep up the good work, V!!!

  40. Daniele Bianco

    Anyway, reality is too harsh to accept for the average colombian.
    It is like it is, and people, british, colombian, nepalese or whatever, they never like to hear bad things about what they believe is good or they like.
    I am WILLINGLY accepting all the criticism I’m getting here for having posted that long and most likely BORING comment.
    I got very angry but just because I could not understand all taht cheerful celebration coming from a JOURNALIST.
    I am truly sorry but I did not know using capital letters meant that I was actually yelling.

    There is much to be done in this place, but bad politics and social indifference are too hard to accept and even harder to remove. Silence and acceptance are preferred..
    And we are not doing much and the compliments for stupidity are not helpful.

    I am a victim of my own stupidity myself, thus I want to apologize for having occupied a space that was probably meant for a more light and joyful expression.
    It got to my nerves just because every day I see how deeply trobled is our city and our community and our culture. I would like to live among a bit more civilized people.
    Being a tourist not always gives you the right perspective. Europe is not perfect, Usa are not perfect, no place in the world is perfect but here in bogota(lets say colombia, lets say latin america, lets say the third world) things are wrong because we stubbornly keep following that western developement model that has been showing its unsustainability and is by far too expensive in terms of human and natural resources, to be extended and evenly distributed to averyone in the planet. Bogota is just another remainder of that disfunctionality.
    I still live here and like it a lot, but just connot bear all that shallow celebration of the little, meaningless, lovely things, thinking they were able to shade all that is so deeply wrong…
    I know the reasons that trigger many of those lovely things and not always are merry reasons.

    Once again I’d like to sincerely apologize to everyone but I’d also like to ask to everyone a little bit more of criticism and wisdom in observing and delivering ideas and opinions, and the will of looking things directly in the eye, without prejudice and without superstition and without ideolog.
    As a remainder, here in Colombia, anyone who does have a different judgement, a different point of view that threatens by any means the cheerful lightness of just seeing good things, is automatically considered a Bitter and Resentful person. A sorehead. It is a fact, it is a feature of our culture.
    That’s the reason why I started saying i did not mean to appear bitter.
    And I know perfectly I did not achieve that, but it is not because I am actually bitter.
    It’s just because you don’t like to read what you read… Opening your eyes is often painful. I TRY to do it everyday and believe me when I say that I almost cherish and enjoy all the criticism I get. I am always looking for debate and smart confrontation because I’m not the owner of truth and I know there are many lovely things about my city as well.
    I just wish this community, this colombian, bogotan community could be a little bit humbler to accept that we are really far from a just and more equal society and that is therefore reflected in our urban developement, for sayng the least…
    That is that and I’ am really embarrassed for having called the author of the “101 reasons” an “ignorant deceiver”. It is always nice knowing there is someone around enjoying life as they can.
    I wish i could express things through a more satirical way. I don’t have that gift.
    Bottomline, i just think If we keep seeing only the good but so often meaningless things we have, we will never gain the strength and endurance nor even the dexterity it takes to overcome the really bad things that surround us.
    One last time, apologies.

    1. bananaskinflipflops

      Woah Daniele… don’t be so hard on yourself, no need for the apologies. I liked your “ignorant deceiver” comment. I didn’t agree with you (I think what I do is a class, because for 5,000 pesos there’s no real instruction – we learn a routine and have fun. Actual lessons with my teacher cost 25,000). But anyway, I liked “ignorant deceiver’ because I like words and I like this combination. I also know what you mean re: “the cheerful lightness of just seeing good things”. I don’t always just see good things … don’t tell anyone but sometimes this little blog is my therapy 🙂

      p.s Your “I GO FIRST YOU BASTARD” comment was pure genius.

    2. Alejandro

      still, after this I would go for stupid

      you know…. this blogs made by foreign people is usually for foreign people also (possible tourists), if they see this kind of comments in it… guess what?… YES, you might got that one…. they will probably cancel their trip or not plan it at all.
      I normally I would say constructive criticism are good but this particular one I just found it to be misplaced, stupid, not constructive at all and possibly prejudicial for Colombia’s image in foreign countries.

    3. Carlos

      Daniele,

      I am going to say apologies accepted, not because I believe you needed to apologize to me or anything of the sort, but because I admire people that can look back at their actions and find a better way of doing things. It is not easy and, arguably, almost nonexistent in our culture.

      I agree with you on many of your points. I believe we need to be more honestly critical of our reality and define a better model for our Country and our people than can realize the good of our culture and vanquish the bad in it. And I am sure the way we are going about it is the wrong way. But I also believe we need to be able to do a deeper analysis to solve some of the issues. For example, you say “Anyway, reality is too harsh to accept for the average colombian.” I don’t think that is true. I think one of our bigger problems is that the average Colombian is TOO accepting of our reality. Since the average Colombian is unlikely of ever having experienced a different culture, the average Colombian thinks our way is the way the world is and feels proud to the bone of the good and the bad things alike. The average Colombian will see something like the US model (likely on TV) and will swallow hook and sinker that is how things should be. In other words, the average Colombian can’t open their eyes (in the sense you use it) because they don’t know better.

      I don’t know if this is the right forum to try and discuss all these issues, but I am passionate about our ability to change this Country. I hope the blogger forgives me hijacking her post to try and present my point of view, but I think those of us that know we are going on the wrong direction have the duty to do something about it. And I believe you can be one of those people. Hence my comment: Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

      Some days I do hate this city. And I could argue convincingly that I am right. But that would only put me in the 95% of inhabitants that are part of the problem. It is not easy but I try to be part of the 5% that will help solve the issues. I do as much as I can within my circle of influence. If I can change this city a tiny bit, and hopefully motivate others to do the same, maybe we can change for the better. Maybe not, but I will only know if I try. And I am sure you can do the same or more.

      For instance, after reading this post I tried to get people in my blog to come up with 101 things we (as individuals) can do better every day to make this a better city. Don’t have too many readers so not much success so far, but maybe it’ll achieve something. I’m sure it’ll achieve more than if I don’t do anything.

      And thanks for your comment. It is good to know more people worry about our city.

      1. Travis Crockett

        Carlos, I am really impressed by this response, thank you for your efforts to effect change. Where can I read your list? Daniele, maybe you could read it too?

      2. Travis Crockett

        Thanks Carlos, I think it is because you can only reply to an original comment, you can’t reply to a reply. I will check out your list, it will be good practice for me to read it in Spanish anyway. @ Vicki, I think it is great that your list somehow led to Carlos’. I have found this whole thing very interesting. Due to the responses of people like Daniele, we have ended up in a completely different place, a list of ways to make the city better, what a great destination! I agree with many of the points that Daniele makes I just don’t think this was the place for it, but that is the great thing about freedom of expression I guess.

        Vicki, I love your list for what it is, a light, entertaining, funny and relatable list of personal observations of Bogotá (from someone who lives here by the way, not a tourist as many of you have wrongly suggested) from your positive and unique perspective. However, Carlos’ list could really be useful for those that want to help change some of the not so good aspects of Bogotá, and I encourage those who think it is worth trying to change this city for the better to read his list as well. Especially those who engaged in hot-tempered rhetoric, it’s fine to list all of the problems and throw your hands up in despair, but in my opinion it is a much nobler pursuit to search out the solutions and actually take action to bring about changes.

        Ademas Vicks, it means you don’t have to write the other list of “Things you might not like so much about Bogotá”, Carlos has skipped that step and gone straight to the solutions. 🙂

      3. Carlos

        I’d say it is a forum. Healthy (and unhealthy) sharing of ideas, with a lot of freedom as Travis pointed out, so in my books I am willing to upgrade (really, why would there be some type of hierarchy? but your post makes me feel there is) your blog to a forum :-).

        Well Travis, I hope we can compile a good list. But more than that I hope we can promote it enough so some people will actually adopt some of the items in it. And maybe then we can give Vicki another 101 reasons to love this place even more and get the virtuous cycle going all over again!

    4. juaneme

      I guess thats why the thread is called “101 Reasons lo love bogota”. we are Very far from perfect but that we will leave it for a future thread.

  41. Nick R

    “Mami”,
    I was born in Bogotá, I have travelled around, I live again in Bogotá, probably I will die here someday (hopefully not soon). I love my city. Thanks for seeing and telling what many people see and live.

  42. Jorge

    I’m sitting in my bed, wondering what my friends and family are doing back home, thinking how nice it would be to go for a stroll just for the sake of staring at los cerros. I come across your blog. I peruse each of your 101 reasons to love Bogota. I laugh. I’m glad you’re enjoying your time and mi Bogota has treated you well. I’m still sitting in my bed. I wish I were in Bogota. Great post!

  43. Lucía

    Hi, good post. I love Bogotá too… although I’m from the valley and sometimes Bogotá is too cold, mostly at night. But I don’t think “everyone has a farm in the country” – it depends on what people you hang around with. It’s not that cheap to have a farm in the country. BUT everyone that do have a farm in the country will surely invite you over and make you feel at home there too…

  44. Rafa Laverde

    Hi Vicki, you just described Bogota perfectly well, thanks to your article I’d love to go back to my city again, to live there, after 11 years. Keep posting more please

    cheers

    Rafa

  45. bananaskinflipflops

    Thanks to the kind people at El Bogotazo magazine who translated my list into Spanish: (http://www.elbogotazo.com/miscelanea/manual-de-bogota/1769-101-reasons-to-love-bogota.html?start=1)

    Also thank you to all of you for your comments – lovers and loathers – and to all the people who took the trouble to email me personally, especially all the Colombians now living in England, say Hi to my country for me!

    It’s great to have suddenly received so many new perspectives and such intelligent, measured and generally respectful responses. The power of the Internet!
    Suerte a todos.

  46. Boyacense2_0

    I really loved your post. It reflects a wonderful experience of what everyone (no only foreign people) should live in my country. Yet, I have to say that some of the thing that you describe ocurred just for the fact that you’re british. Not all colombians enhoy the paradise you lived (and I’m not talking about far country side people or poor ones). Sadly, Colombia has various issues that with this post seem to be unexistent.

    But it doesn’t matter at the end, because I love the impression that my country gave you. Come back whenever you want. Y si puedes traerte a otros inglesitos que quieran conocer este paraiso, they’re also “welcome to my country” 😉

  47. Neonovo

    From the perspective of a tall-blonde, all things must look rosie, specially in a city where the average height is several incches below that of the city she hails from.
    Avocados cost $3-4 dollars each. The minimum wage is about $300 monthly.
    Paying about 10% for of your monthly salary for avocadoes is not cheap.
    Maybe she should ask the The lovely lads who clean your shoes so efficiently, or the lasses who do her hair and nails, or the employees in Parque Simon Bolivar, if they think avocadoes are cheap.

  48. algobuenobcn

    Bogota is one of the most beautiful and powerful cities I have ever lived in. It is great there is someone who can recognize this, write about it and have so much feed positive feedback.

    I join this crowd and support the wonders of Bogota 100%

  49. Ivan

    My five cents here. Yes, Bogota is worth of a visit. There is a good number of world class tourist attractions that make Bogota one of the great stops in Latin America. If I have to choose five, I would go with the streets and monuments in La Candelaria/ Bolivar Square, the Botero museum, the amazing nightlife in the T-zone which I think it’s the best in the world (yes, over NYC, London, etc., way more character and fun), the views from the East hills (Guadalupe,Monserrate, La Calera) and the beautiful surroundings. And yes, part of the beauty of Latin America is in its people. It’s nice to say “good morning” to a complete stranger to start your day on the right foot. It’s nice to be a participant or the victim of a mild but really funny joke, as it’s the life style over there. There is a better social thread, there is more family focus, there is a lot of love for friends, relatives and foreigners. In summary, it’s a great place to visit once, twice, or many more times.

    But the negative comments expressed in this forum are not far from the truth. I don’t need to repeat what has been already said, so let me just reiterate a couple of items. Yes, there is an issue with the lack of respect. Colombians are not the best when it comes down to respect others’ rights and time. And yes, living there (as oppose to visiting) is very hard. Daily life is a nightmare for many Bogotans, mostly due to the lack of opportunities and the extremely poor infrastructure. Traffic in Bogota must rank among the worst in the world. It’s very common to have a commute of over an hour (each way), and it’s not rare to find people who have commutes closer or above 2 hours. And that’s for short distances because Bogota is not a large city. It’s a very dense city, where everything happens in a small area, where life is confined to small spaces and where rich people spend the weekends in country clubs and houses in the country side, because the city is unbearable. I was born in Bogota, grew up there, live now in the SF Bay Area and would find very difficult to go back to my hometown. I miss my family and the friends that still live there, but every time I visit the city I’m reminded of the city’s problems and the desire that many of my relatives have to leave the city and the country.

    I hope you find my comments fair.

    1. bananaskinflipflops

      Fair enough Ivan. I’ve lived here for six months and yes, it is at least an hour commute for most people – generally on buses through impossibly slow moving traffic, hanging from a wobbly rail, trying to juggle chocolate and chewing gum, listen to a guy play guitar and hear another man tell you about his distant cousin who needs a hip replacement – behind a driver who learned to drive playing Grand Theft Auto. Don’t get me started on Transmilenio as an alternative. Still… Bogotanos complain all the time about the traffic but, to me, it’s no worse than the traffic in your average English city and the same goes for the hour commute.

  50. Nomada

    I totally love this post!!! I think we are so focused on our problems that we don’t see all this little things that makes us different and appealing to foreigners… i love your point of view, it’s refreshing, funny, and 101% true!!! And i agree with the “Corral kicks McDonald’s ass”!!!

  51. carlos

    this post is funny hahaha it’s incredible how the foreigners find great some things that the bogotans judge like a problem, for example, they found funny the transportation system and for us is kind of a problem, so enjoy bogota the way it is, the city have to improve so much things but i think we never get bored in this city.

  52. lizeth

    OMFG it just put all the colombia girl out of me
    it kinda made me cry XD..there is no words for express how thankful i am …see that a foreigner can see the same awesome things that Bogota has and really mean it and appreciated it
    it doesnt have price….i hope you are having awesome time in Bogota…i miss it already…and i live really far away now…awesome post
    and you are right el corral kicks mcdonalds ass so far 😄
    and yessss bogota friends will always be the best….girlfriends…friends…lovers or whatever….cuz we have something special….damn im for cry right now 😄
    i will publish your post in my facebook i really want my bf who is from vietnam and that he going to back to meet my parents with me read this 🙂
    thansk again
    hugs and kisses from Paris, France

  53. M.

    Thank you so much… this is a lovely post about my city…
    But I have to say:
    You never walked for the séptima.. south to north? no? then you don’t know the greatest experiencie for the bogotanos… believe me…

    Lo demás en español porque no se casi nada de inglés…

    Es una visión muy linda, y que bien que te haya ido bien aquí, para los extranjeros es más fácil, para quienes vivimos aquí no es tan perfecto, el dinero no es suficiente, las oportunidades tampoco… aun así es una linda ciudad no te lo discuto… tiene su encanto, y muchos extranjeros la ven con unos ojos que es difícil a veces entender… Un abrazo, y gracias por tu post!!

      1. M.

        No, believe me, walking for this avenue is amazing… is like the spirit of the city… if in another moment of my life, I’ll leave Bogotá I’ll really miss that…
        If you coming back, I offered me for be your guide in this simple and relaxing activity…
        Thanks for say me that… sometimes I’m insecure for my English…
        A big hug!!!

  54. Gina Ing

    Like someone said, We are poor but happy.. We never lonely…Stop being so close minded, it is one of the most expensive things a human can own. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. My gringo Husband saw beauty on the geture a peasant had in a town West of Bogota called Tenjo: The rugged looking old peasant, with his goat wool poncho and old hat, once he notice RObert was a foreing, he took of his hat, vowed his head, and put his hat on his heart as a salutation.. He will never ever get that treatment, not even once in his life in San Diego, California…. We pay attention to the smallest things in life.. And yes we are not perfect, but you can not concentrate on the negative… There are negatives things about this industrialized society, it is the product of loneliness, lack of family nucleous, lack of profound connections, that make people so self-centered. But again,not everyone is like that.. ENjoy life, have your children play with live toys instead of a lonely computer.. What I give my kids on a daily basis in Bogota, I can not give it to them in this society…
    .

  55. llili

    El Corral kicks McDonald’s ass., by milessss!
    10. Manicures cost £1.75. They last for two weeks. , thats what i miss the most in englad is impossible to have a manicure even every 2 weeks :S
    11. Streets are numbered, not named. You don’t need an A-Z.

  56. Prophet

    Dear Vicky: I just find out that your list made it to the English School bogota – colegio de inglaterra web page:
    http://www.englishschool.edu.co/TES/TESTemplate.aspx?ID=586

    Maybe you should copyright this list LOL. Just kidding… but it seems your lists is reaching a mainstream level.

    BTW are you teaching at the english school? maybe you could teach a subject called ” How to be the Brit # 1 in bogotá with your hell of a blog ” or making your debut in “Britain’s got talent: The Journalist that took over Bogotá. ” hahaha

    1. bananaskinflipflops

      Hahaha – well, under British law the list has copyright until I declare otherwise, most people are pretty good at respecting that.

      No I don’t work at the English School but I know people who do, they wrote and told me they wanted to use the list on their website. I don’t mind, it was written to be read, although it’s so old now – I probably wouldn’t write it that way again… life changes so fast 🙂

  57. Hernando

    61. It is not acceptable to drink a beer on the corner shop, IT IS A MUST hahah. So cheap and they always have nice corny music.

  58. as

    Dear BananaSkin! Books are actually cheap you just get the “unauthorized copies” and college students usually copy a whole textbook and have it ringed like a book for around 20 bucks, pretty cheap compared to my law school books.

    Also about Juan and Danielle Bianco.

    Yeah there are issues like any part on the world, but some people are just bitter and hateful. Most are ashamed and bitter because they were not born elsewhere because they LOVE to blame their own failures on the social/economic places of their country of origin.

    Yeah Bogota has issues, so does NY, Miami, Quito, Buenos Aires and even London. These people do not seem to understand that posts like these increment the amount of people wanting to go see Bogota, which in turn benefits commerce and small business. Yeah you may find our little quirks “cute” just the same way I find some English quirks adorable even thought they irk the residents. 😉

    People like Bianca and Juan do not seem to understand that you are OBVIOUSLY an outsider judging from what you see the best you can, and I think they would throw a shit if you said “101 to hate Bogota.” or anything else. You cannot please people, and some people are too close minded, bitter and complicated to even TRY and see it from someone else’s point of view. Yeah, there are issues but someone took the time to compliment their “little hell hole” and see the good in it. What are they doing? WHINING , Complaining from other countries, and bashing tourists that take more interest and obviously have more LOVE and appreciation for the city than they do.

    Grow up kiddos, you are Colombians. This is a strength, stop whining, dust off and use this to your advantage. If you are not helping then you might as well shush. Mamertos. I wish they could spend a nice season on the DPRK so they will be more appreciative of what they have/had.

    Banana, thanks for the post. Ps. Mami is not respectful. “señora/ señorita” and “usted” speech is. Mami is like saying “mamacita” a pet name hinting at your beauty, but it is not respectful. Also, buy “copies” of books. This is how everyone does it when they are expensive, tho now Panamericana has book sales from books ranging 3,000 ~ 5,000 depends. 🙂 Good Luck.

  59. hexagramword

    YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT MY CITY IN A VERY VERY RIGHT WAY! THANK YOU, YOU COULDN`T HAVE SAID THAT ANY BETTER! 🙂 WE ALL LOVE BOGOTÁ AND THAT`S THE BEST WAY! KNOWING THE CITY LIKE A BOSS! 🙂 PROPS MAN!

  60. Juanfe Rivera Troncoso

    Excellent words, all of the reasons are true, that is why we are the happiest country in the world! All thought not everything is as good as it sounds but perfection might be boring after all!!! Colombia, my Colombia is a beautiful country with some of the nicest people in the world. Is sad that sometimes it seems that foreigners love our country more than the colombians themselves. We all know is true, the only risk is wanting to stay!!!

  61. Gina Escobar Cuero

    I love it!!!! I believe Bogota is a magical city!
    I do want to say that I am Colombian, not blond and I have had taxis waiting for me to enter into my building…I have had people giving me a seat on the bus and I have been called mami. Wouldn´t necessarily date a guy who calls me “mami” but still it does feel nice when someone makes an effort to get your attention…Also, don´t have female friends that use the word mami. But i don´t think it´s bad, it´s just different!
    It is true that some men get a manicure. However, I must say that in my personal experience 99.9% of my male friends don´t get manicures. Yet, they keep their nails clean and cut..I do get your point!!! some men DO get manicures…!!! that is really interesting and AMAZING!
    ps: It is true living in Bogota makes you thinner…I would say it´s because of the food and the fact that it is not so preserved as in other countries!
    Congrats on your work! it´s amazing!

    1. Cory

      I agree 100% with Daniele Bianco.

      People are probably going to hate me, but I have to play the devil’s advocate here.

      I appreciate the intention of the post, it is written to be funny and cute, and some of its points are well-said and based on good observations.. But, with that being said, I will say that there are but some gross exaggerations and generalizations in this post.

      This post is could only have been written by a foreigner living in Colombia, because a local would never have such a distorted view of life here.This post makes Bogota out to be a kind of paradise – and despite some of the wonderful things about this city – it is far from being that.

      Why do people sell chocolates or rap on buses? Because there is terrible unemployment, and poverty due to neo-colonial business, violence and displacement.

      Why is it afforable and ‘good for the economy’ to have a cleaner? Because the economic inequality is vast and there is huge unemployement. Getting paid the minimum wage probably isn’t so good for the cleaners themselves. But the elite class who run the country don’t care about any of that. Oh, btw, you’re aiding them with your uncritical bourgeois mentality of ‘oh, we can all have a cleaner, and it’s good for the country!’.

      Bogota seems nice if you’re living the life where you go to Juan Valdez and places like El Corral frequently. Try asking all the service workers and street workers their perspective.

      I am just ranting because I didn’t like the naive tone which the post was written in… It seems great that someone wants to highlight the good things about Bogot’a but why not contrast some of the bad realities which are connected?

      But I don’t have the knowledge to express what’s really going on here…

      Check out Daniele Bianco’s post if you want to really understand this…

  62. Gina

    Every single one of those reasons shouldn’t end with a dot, but with a comma followed by a but or a however and then a complete sentence of what reality looks like for most of the average people. Then they’d actually show some of the other side of the coin, providing objective insights of reality. It does sound as written for friends and family as you say, since it doesn’t mention any of the reasons that would make them feel worried. I do the same all the time, my life it’s perfect abroad. Is it, really?

    Too sad for those people that actually believe that this list is the one and only portrait of reality, they’re missing a lot. Thanks anyway for making them smile, not so much for encouraging their blindness.

    1. Travis

      Hi Gina,

      If I can give you some humble advice, with respect, I think you need to look at the bright side. Vicki was writing this list from her perspective. It is not a political commentary or an attempted insight into the perspective of everyday Colombians, it is simply the observations of a warmhearted new resident of this country, which is why it is interesting and in many respects, flattering. I agree that many of the things on list highlight serious problems in Colombian society and could be construed as negative, depending on your perspective. However, sometimes it is nice not to get bogged down in the problems and the negative and celebrate with the author her joy in the small wonders that she has discovered in her adopted country.

      1. Gina

        Thank you Travis.

        I do look at the bright side most of the time, but that’s what it is, only a side. I’m glad that she’s having a good time in Colombia and I’m not saying that she’s biased, I’m sure she could perfectly write a B side of this post. What makes me sad is the reading of it from locals, who don’t want to see, hear, know or get informed about any kind of possible B side. They are the ones who are missing a lot of a rich variety of a much bigger and complex picture. I’m a fan of half full glasses on a daily basis, but even with that attitude I keep aware of the fact that’s a fifty-fifty deal. I just hope people don’t drown in apparently full glasses.

      2. Travis

        Great to hear Gina, sometimes it is hard to see things from the perspective of others, especially when your context and experience is so different. Some of the ex-pats in Colombia certainly only see Bogotá from a perspective of privilege, but with the passing of time and living in the reality of Colombia these perspectives can change and be influenced by experiences and new observations. Perhaps Vicki’s list today would be a bit more insightful.

        Cory also makes a similar point and it is easy to be offended when someone trivializes serious social issues. But in the spirit of tolerance, I find it is best to try and understand things from the perspective of others, Vicki was only expressing things from her point of view and it is an interesting point of view as evidenced by the number of comments and views of this post. Just because a person is privileged doesn’t mean they are bad or wrong, this article was not written for the New York Times or the Guardian, it was written in a blog and is completely personal. The reason I read blogs is for that connection with the author and for their completely biased opinion. If I want a balanced article, I read something else.

  63. Carlos Nacio Vives

    Should come to Barranquilla/Colombia, in comparison with bogota, all people here are three times more nice than bogotanos….sry to say it, but bogotans to a large quantity of colombians, are selfish, cold and hypocrites…because you’re a tall blue eyed blonde, things really change a LOT, people in colombia dig so much on european descent that when a colombian have a european last name, he is treated like if he had a PhD title, no kidding. now in the coast region you will really experience legitimate warm attitude towards other people, in the coast people are more tolerant, they are more helpful, they are less annoying than “rolos.”

  64. Dianafis

    Gracias! Desde esta Londres gris no hay día que no extrañe esos 2600 metros de corazón. No están en tu lista los tamales de La Puerta Falsa, junto a la Plaza de Bolivar 😦
    Disfruta nuestra ciudad.

  65. Ariana

    Soy Bogotana y considero que la mayoría de cosas que dices no tienen sentido, es una débil apariencia de lo que es vivir en Bogotá. Seguramente como eres inglesas te parecerá divertidísimo el desorden de la ciudad, el machismo que se puede interpretar como caballerismo, etc, etc.. pero son cosas que reflejan la realidad de lo es la ciudad hoy, una ciudad con niveles de desigualdad muy altos, inseguridad y más y más pobreza. Reconozco que algunas de esas razones solo pasan en Bogotá y son buenas, pero no todas se puede interpretar como buenas razones para amar Bogotá y que en realidad mc uhas de estas hacer retroceder el desarrollo urbano. Espero que sigas disfrutando de mi ciudad y que hayan cambios que la hagan más bella, pero sobretodo con más calidad de vida.

  66. Dresan Quivel

    Seriously bannaslipflipflop im really happy about your article, i really enjoyed reading it, i like the way you see some things that are normal for us and totally strange for you, and overall making the best of it, i haven’t see that kind of astonishment since the people i met when i lived in uk came to my house in Colombia, good for u!!!!!! and that beautiful way to see my country, i saw some dickheads commenting your post and they only complained about poverty and bad things happening around, but i do have to tell you something, i was born poor, and i lived for 2 years in london, but i´ve got to say that i have seen more smiling and happy ppl in a month in a poor neibor in Bogota than in 2 years in chelsea…… so good 4 u and the beautiul way of seeing life in my country. god bless u

    PD: you forgot to talk about guanabana juice, ma mates from Scotland couldn´t stop talking about how sweet it was and how they were to start importing the fruit to the highlands .hahaha

  67. erikamatallana

    I loved this post. I read it during my lunch break at work and had to hold myself to not laugh out loud. I know many Colombians may find it offensive, but honestly, having being away from Colombia for many years, this is just refreshing. Everything you say here is true, and even if many of these aspects of our culture may sound crazy for many people, they are what make us special and unique. I’m glad you enjoyed your time in Colombia!

  68. The Ripper

    Misleading article (as usual among idiot- trippers). All foreigners MUST know that Bogota is one of the most violent cities in the world (along with Caracas, Asuncion and Mexico City in America). In every street, corner, public transportation (buses, taxis, the fag-milenio), pubs, airports, malls you can be:
    – Mugged
    – Robbed
    – Killed
    – Or even Raped
    Criminal groups attack like a wolfpack with different kinds of weapons (9mm, knives, pepper gas) and they are backed up by cops, which are the most corrupt public institution in the country.

    1. bananaskinflipflops

      Love, why this article may be misleading in many ways, let’s keep some perspective. Bogota can be dangerous but I have lived here for three years now and not experienced any of these. No I don’t live in posh parts of town, yes I do take buses and walk around alone at night, it’s the nature of my job and I would rather take an evening bus than risk a taxi on the street. Of course these things can happen in Bogota as they can happen in most cities of eight million people. I have an English friend who was mugged violently three times in London in one year. Please keep it in perspective. Frightening people is only good to the point where they take care, beyond that it is unnecessary and contributes as much to an unbalanced point of view of Bogota as my article does.

    2. Julian Gordillo

      Wow!!! where do you live, pal??? in heaven??? these things youre talking about happens in everyworld, New York, Paris, London… everywhere… this country, and this city arent the most safe place in the world, but neither is hell, greetins from the branch of heaven, Santiago de Cali, Colombia The second happiest place on the world

    3. duendecitoboxeador

      your comment is the misleading one. it seems you’re just mentioning random cities and throwing some absurd commonplaces, based on your personal view/experience rather than the actual knowledge of crime stats in these cities. Bogotá is not as dangerous as Caracas as of know, and it’s less dangerous than a lot of US cities and many capitals of the Americas, according to homicide rates and other crime stats.

  69. dvc292

    I was just reading boring things on the internet and then I saw this article that is all over the place on facebook so it got my attention and even more that I found out that is written by a young beautiful lady.
    This is a wonderful article. Let me congratulate you for a really piece of art. your words make me believe again in Bogota and also make me realise about the beautiful and interesting things that I’m missing. Since I came back from Sydney, Australia I’ve been actually avoiding any thing that it has to do with Bogota streets or the city itself.
    For being honest I’m not kind of a city boy even tho I’m from Bogota and I’m living right now in this crazy city.
    since I’ve been here the only things that I do is just getting wasted every weekend and go to work on weekdays and I was just thinking that is the only thing that Bogotanos just do. But off course I’m wrong and you are the prove of that cuz you are more Bogotana or “cachaca” that I am. anyways… so I got little tired of doing the same things and I bought myself an scooter even tho My sisters and my parents told not to do because as you know driving a motorcycle here in Bogota is kind of a crazy with this hell of a traffic but it’s ok! and actually really fun! so I’m really enjoying the traffic when there are some people that they really not having fun at all.
    your article make me thing about there is lots of Urban culture in this city that we can discover and explore. cheers for that.

    Regards, Diego Armando

  70. Miguel Camargo

    Hi Vicky, I just discovered your list on Facebook. I’ve lived in Bogota all my life, and I think your perpsective nail it perfectly. I went through every line with a smile on my face. This is your perspective and I loved it, because it was a feelling you were living at the moment, and it says that the essence of this city and its people could got to you effortlessly despite so many issues we have. Yes, this is a naive view of things here, but thank god for that! We need to think positive and see the good. Is like asking for social and political analysis on E Entertainment. Come on People don’ t loose perspective. Bravo Vicky!

  71. junfem

    First of all, as bogotan, thank you for this blog!! Takes a fresh look from outside to really appreciate what we have here, and is sad that sometimes we get blinded by reality to perceive the nice things that surround us. I agree with some of my fellow countrymen about some of the things you describe not actually being as nice as they may sound, but I guess that instead of just pointing them out, we should look into them and use them to make this city greater! If someone who is not from Bogota actually loves so much things about Bogota, what reasons are there for us living here not to make it lovable for ourselves?? Cheers to you, and feel welcome everytime!

  72. VicePress

    First of all, what kind of bubble do you live in? Three years living in bogota but obviously still confusing some of these things you post here as nice when they are actually not. Second, makes me not want to go to the UK when reading your article. Third, if you think Bogota is nice I can´t imagine what you would think about Medellin, but then again, as long as you continue to live in this bubbly bubble of yours…
    I think it’s good you are trying to bring the good and positive about the city, and the country, but please… a lot of the things you post are only nice and cool the first couple of week, after that you really get to see the real deal, and Im not talking about being mugged or things like that. A little more reality would have done a lot better.

  73. Carlos

    Vicky,

    It has been over two years since I originally read this post and came back to it due to the amount of new comments and traffic it seems to be having. In these two years my perspective has changed a bit, and it would be very interesting to know if yours has and how. That could give us a very interesting insight into the way the city and its inhabitants change through time.

    I also have to say that the “101 things to improve in Bogotá” list didn’t fare that well. It is still one of the most viewed posts in my blog, but hasn’t resulted in any major actions. That I know of, at least.

  74. olga

    Hola Victoria, me encanto escucharte en la radio… es una gran satisfacción que un extranjero halle valor en las cosas sencillas y cotianas de nuestra colombianidad… ojalá los nacionales lo veamos, un saludo y sigue “relajada” en la vida… nos vemos por bogotá

  75. Julian Gordillo

    Hola Victoria… inteligente y hermosa, no creo que nadie te pueda considerar un arroz en bajo, muy buena entrevista en la W, muy buenos artculos y no solo Bogota y Cartagena son maravillosas ciudades, te invito a Cali, para conozcas el lugar donde se baila la mejor salsa del mundo, Saludos y felicitaciones…

  76. Ivan

    Hola mamacita:
    Don`t get yourself wrong. If everyone is treating you, (even a custom officer) like a princess is because you are beautiful (and god damn tall for me!!). I just spot you in your facebook page (holding a cup of coffee) and indeed you are. Your radio interview made me laugh my ass off and i appreciate your fine comments to my city. It surprises me your “bogotano accent” in just three years and your love to our “bogotaniedad”.

    It`s good to remind us how cool we are, especially someone from outside.

  77. Iván Orozco

    Hello miss Victoria; congratulaciones por escribir lo positivo de Bogotá; soy IVAN OROZCO, un emprendedor, comercializador de bicicletas playeras, todo terreno, y de todo tipo de modelos en general en esta gran ciudad; me siento muy honrado de su presencia en nuestro país; personas sensibles, con percepción desprevenida para ver la ciudad, hace la diferencia; pase im rato muy agradable con su entrevista en la W RADIO, con Julio Sanchez Cristo y el dr Casas; muy graciosas todas sus experiencias en nuestro país… le dejo mi página web para que conozca un poco mas de mi proyecto y en lo que te pueda ayudar, o si conoces dentro de tus contactos comerciales quien necesite bicicletas con mucho gusto, distribuimos directamente de fábrica y con garantía; mi página es; http://www.mitiendainternet.com, ¡gracias por tu tiempo y que Dios la bendiga!

  78. Nathalia

    I’m from Bogotá… and, many things written in this post are lies.

    Soy de Bogotá, y muchas de las cosas escritas en esta nota son mentiras.

  79. Alonso

    If you like Juan Valdez coffee you’ll be mesmerized by Anei. Try it. I’ve been trying coffee from many, many places and Anei (grown by the amerindians from the Sierra Nevada) is the absolute best I’ve found so far. Last time I found it at Exito

  80. Jorge G.

    “Everything has its own district. Even lamps. Yes, there is a lamp district” My favorite!!! what about, shoemakers district (El restrepo) or furniture sale district (El gaitan).

  81. Paula

    Haha this is awesome! It makes me really happy that someone from a different country really loves Colombia. I don’t live there right now i’m in the u.s. but my dad showed me this and we also heard you on the radio yesterday. Your spanish is A+ too.

  82. Cristina

    I disagree with most of the things, not because only because some of them aren’t true, but also, because many of them I’ve seen in London ever since I live here. BUT, I am not complaining, yes Colombia has MANY problems and Bogota as well, but we as Colombians os foreigners in Colombia can decide to see things however we chose, and I believe that seeing the beauty and coolness everywhere makes life more fun and happy. Our soap operas and movies, and books only talk about the bad things in Colombia, and that is not what most of us are. Most Colombians are all those things you said, most cities in Colombia have all those things you said, and that is what needs to be told. No more focussing on negatives (this doesn’t mean ignoring them). That’s what is being done on the Facebook and Twitter campaign Noen3Caines, against these types of shows.
    Thank you for your blog, thank you for wanting to take the time to say nice things.

  83. David

    It’s obvious that those things have happened to you because a) you are European, b) you are a girl, and c) as usual, you people know only the nicest part of the city. Maybe if you were a) Colombian, b) a man or an ugly girl, and/or c) you were moneyless, you would not have written this. Life for people from Bogotá has not any of the components that you mention above

    1. bananaskinflipflops

      Hmmmm, let’s not speak in absolutes. There are 101 things here. I know El Corral is expensive, but plenty of Rolos can afford to eat there. Same goes for Juan Valdez. Same goes for avocados. Everyone enjoys morning sunshine. Better to say Bogotanos from low social economic backgrounds can afford “very few” of these, i.e the 45% who live below the poverty line.

    2. Oneris

      Thanks for sharing your opinion, but i bet you are the kind of guys that complain for everything, i bet if she write what you say, you would be saying… “oh you *** there are plenty of things to love bogota” there are people who like to see the glass half full

  84. rasheed

    thanks for that you have written

    but for me I have one enough reason to visit bogota

    and the reason is my best girlfriend in my life

  85. Laura guti

    Thank you for your post. I think for foreigners it is so easy to love Bogota because they can always compare it to their hometowns and find something “exotic” or cheap. However I lived for 7 years in Europe and now being back in Bogota I am really disappointed by many things, considering the mess and the dificulty of making a living. It’s always good to see other people finding these positive aspects and being able to actually appreciate them. However in some reasons I think you are being a little naïve like in the cleaner one. It is not good for the economy or for them to start working at the age of 14 and being underpaid for the rest of their lives. This is modern slavery. And this is where I think, unfortunately, that you are still culturally limited, this doesn’t exist in the UK because the maids get really decent salaries, so I wouldn’t brag about it.

    1. bananaskinflipflops

      Fair enough… I hate what the maids earn and they do EVERYTHING. However, you have to remember that we have a Welfare State so people who don’t work get money from the Government. Colombia doesn’t have that so it is work or starve. I would love to see a Welfare State in Colombia and laws to increase the wages of the maids and limit their working hours. You’re right, it is slavery.

      1. julianna

        Nobody, and I mean nobody, i dont think even the mayor, has the ability to judge a city without making someone else mad because of misconceptions. Having stereotypes ia utterly easy and we all do in time to time. Going to, and living in a different place gives you the chance to have a bright new start and, seeing everything for the first time is just priceless. I hate this goddamned city many many times a week
        But I love it with the deepest of passions. Living in a place like this is never easy, but I bet the “complainers” above just forget that this is one girl’ s opinion and eveeybody is entitled to have one. Miss banana here is just describing an experience people!! Isn’t there enough bullshit on the local papers reminding us that we live in a a sort of a god-forgiven shithole place sometimes??? Trust me Vicki we all know exactly where we live. I’m glad you are having a good time in the city and I just have one complaint: where are the posts for june??? You really have a way with words! Keep the blog posts coming!!!!

  86. Emily

    Hi there,
    I’m trying to find some salsa lessons – could you email me your teacher’s details? It would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
    BSFF fan, xxx

  87. Juan Pablo Castañeda Mejía

    Hola, veo que el post fue escrito hace un tiempo, pero que bueno que puedas ver tantas cosas buenas y aun quedaran muchas mas, se que no lo escribes por tratar de tapar el sol con un dedo, pero realmente aprecio cuando la gente quiere a mi ciudad tanto o mas que yo!, un gran saludo!

  88. JotaEme

    Very funny! Although, I think that maybe some aren’t 100% true.
    #2, I do consider myself an eco-Hitler, but most people don’t realize their carbon footprint. Excesive bottled water drinking and lazy one-person car driving are some examples of how bad Bogotá behaves with the environment. The cause of constantly turning off the lights has more to do with the electric bill than with minding the environment.
    #17, Have you lived here in a colombian “winter” when the sun doesn’t come out for months? Trust me, it gets so cold and wet you miss the sun.
    #21, again, not the majority.
    #55, although some women may like it, many many women find it disrespectful, “guiso” and even gross. Mami and any of its variations: mamita, mamacita, miamor, princesa, reina, etc. These “piropos” usually come from construction workers, street vendors and taxi drivers. The latter even honk at pedestrians when they can’t shout! Hahaha

    Sure, you may have seen cases in each of them, but they’re not enough to be considered a rule here.
    Anyways, it’s just my opinion; I hope it doesn’t make anyone feel I’m being disrespectful, bitter or contradicting like that Paola 😉
    Like I said, very funny. Thanks.

  89. Nicolas Castro

    Thanks for writing this!! I dont know if you noticed it, but unfortunately, many people here have a “negative-depressive” identity, and MUST keep an eye in every second of their lives over and over around the worsts things of our country, Their life would be pointless if they cannot throw their poison everywhere anytime. Beauty is in the eye and the soul of the viewer. You must be a wonderful person, and Bogota is truly a wonderful city TOO (Deal with it, mamertos!!). Many thanks for sharing your experience!!!

  90. Paula

    When I read this I just thought “Oh she´s from england, she´s a tourist so that´s why everyone is nice with her” If you´re colombian you wont get the same kind of treat, yeah sadly that´s Colombia: nice with the tourist, and rude with the colombians! Welcome to Colombia 😉

  91. Eduardo

    It’s amazing how it seems that the only one’s who didn’t liked the post, where colombians (bogotanos). Talk about being bitter and negative.

  92. Nata

    I’m a colombian who lived in England for six years… I love their order, everything is organized, even the traffic, everybody use their lane… the personal space is the most important thing in the world… well after the pub.. ;), but being able to find food in every corner, buying anything you need at the traffic light, having drogeria/papeleria in one and every single business having a delivery guy so you don’t need to leave the comfort of your home, it just make me the happiest colombian of all :)) Thank you for the post.

  93. Jule

    Hi, I and my husband are exciting to give our steps to bogota end (15-20 th os dec,2014) of this year. We are very much optimistic about the city and its people. Hope this gr8 city will offer us great Joy. We are going to cover countries starting from USA-Maxico-costarica-panama-colombia-Brazil -Peru during our trip to America Continent. We are also exciting to find persons leaving in Those countries or visiting. who can accompany us to explore. Any individual, couple is welcome to join us to form a group to explore, share knowledge, resources, overcome the difficulties and off course being friends forever. To be honest,we will be glad to see u. U can reach us at jule@rediffmail.com.

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