Climate – It’s excellent. It’s equatorial so the only seasons are wet and dry. But it’s really high – about the height of the summit of Mt Ruapehu – so not stiflingly hot. Temperatures are between 18 and 20 year round and dropping to around 10 overnight. It’s the only city I can think of where you would never want for airconditioning nor heating. It’s flawless travel weather.
Water – You can drink it from the tap. Not true of everywhere in Colombia, but true in Bogota. No buying bottled water required.
Danger – There doesn’t really seem to be any. Talk to Colombians and they’ll tell you: you can still get robbed but it is much better than it used to be. Maybe that’s because of the massive police presence who would be very visible even if it weren’t for their hi-vis vests. There were packs of them at the New Year’s celebrations, we even got patted down before entering the free concert area.
Street food is delicious and plentiful. We have had empandas, kebabs, fruit cups, ice creams, water melon and other delicious things. We are paying between 70c and $1.40 a pop.
Language – Spanish and not English. Even the most aggressive touts and beggars seems to lose interest when you respond “no hablo espanol”. Then again, if you can speak Spanish (see for example, Fiona) then there are many people who are happy and interested to talk.
The people – I’ve not been to South America before and didn’t know quite what to expect. Basically, people look South American, but also, here at least, much more diverse than I expected. The indigenous, Spanish and African (former slave) populations have merged. In fact there are even words to describe people with different combinations of ethnicity. We can’t rely effectively play our standard game of ‘spot the tourist’ because we could just as easily be spotting a European looking Colombian.
Where’s the crazy? Don’t get me wrong, Colombia has looked and felt very different from home, but we haven’t yet found a lot of crazy. It’s hard to put a finger on exactly what I mean by that, expect to say that there hasn’t been the overwhelming and sometimes frightening feel I’ve sometimes experienced in new places. The fact that it’s New Year’s holiday and the city is quiet probably contributes. I’m no doubt we’ll find some crazy if we go look for it.