Thursday, February 09, 2006

Back from Colombia Update: Still Alive, More Tired

Meet Michel. Friend of my friend, Omar, from college. Met him a couple times in Madrid when I studied abroad. Other than that, haven't seen or heard about him in 5 years... until during an IM conversation with omarp7, I learned that Michel now lives in Bogota. So I got his number (the easy part), and after work on Wednesday figured out how to call his cell phone from my hotel (the hard part). (The kind of easy and kind of hard part was deciding to actually holler at him - didn't really know him at all and would have been completely content going to the pool in my hotel and getting a decent night's sleep.) Back to the story though, he told me to meet him at his apartment (pictured above - yes, you get even more for your money than in Minneapolis) and we'd go out from there. And that's what I, and we, did.

First we went to dinner at a nice little restaurant around his apartment (Calle 81), had some Club Colombian beers and empanadas. Then we picked up a friend of his and made our way to the center of town (26th Street) where we went to a bar/club called Socorro. There we quickly switched from beers to a bottle of whiskey, which you buy from the bar with a few plastic cups of ice, and went into the basement to dance it up to the spinning of some British DJ whose been living in Bogota for the past 15 years. Yes, you will get some details that you don't care about at all, but some time down the line, I may be trying to find out the DJ's name and be looking for a Latin American rather than European name. You will also get the story as a list of events because 1. my English gets worse and worse the longer I'm out of the country and 2. I'm too tired to recount the events so that you feel like you were there. Lo siento. At about 1, I considered leaving solo, but at the suggestion was handed a beer and told that we had to go to one more place, "the Wednesday night hot spot in Bogota," before heading back to the hotel. And once again, that's what I/we did. More drinking (whiskey straight in plastic cup, bottle in Michel's back pocket) and more dancing until about 3 when we all (thankfully) decided to leave. (I may have had to get picked up at 5AM for my flight, but they all had to work full days, getting up only a couple hours later. Michel for the EU.)

Sorry about the lack of details, back let me say one more thing before I go (to sleep). I started off this post saying meet Michel, with the full intention of introducing him properly. I know I've failed, but at least understand this: Not only did he go out of his way to show me a great and authentic time (though out in Bogota at 2AM, there's not really a "touristy" thing), but he made me feel like we'd been friends for those 5 years, during which we probably never even heard each other's names. I was not just a guest or a guy he was bringing along, but a friend. He would not let me pay for a thing (minus the bottle of whiskey, which I insisted I had to do for the experience of being handed a bottle from behind the bar), he made sure I was having fun and made sure I felt included even if I couldn't keep up with the Spanish. So, though he'll never see this (though I should learn to never say never since I probably didn't think I'd be partying in Colombia on a Wednesday night), I want to say thanks to him and let you know how much respect and care I was treated with in the "scary, gang/ kidnapper/ drug dealer infested" city. So, hotel a little after 3. Up a little after 5. Cab at 5:45. Flight at 9. Home at 6. Goodnight.

P.S. Update on Bahamas advertising: With posters coming down and others continuing to be stolen, The Bahamas has now made selected campaign creative available for download (legally) on their website. Use the link to the right or click here to go directly:

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