Our flight was a red-eye which didn't leave until 11:30 PM, so I went to work that day as usual - only to find that the power was out in the building where I work, so I got a free day off! Which gave us plenty of time to get packed. We took Access to the airport, and got there way too early, and waited around for our flight. I changed my dollars for Colombian pesos - the exchange rate is ridiculous, almost 2,000 pesos to the dollar.
We were flying on Copa, a Colombian/Panamanian airline (Copa stands for COlombia and PAnama). Their hub is in Panama City, so we had a brief layover there. As we were flying in, I took a few pictures of Panama from the air:
(Actually, that last picture I took on the flight home, but never mind.)
I was hoping to get a view of the Canal from the plane, but I never did. Either I was on the wrong side of the plane, or the flight path didn't go over the Canal, or there was too much cloud cover, or some combination of all three. But I did notice a lot of cargo ships in the water, so the Canal must have been there somewhere. I also took this picture of a rainbow in the clouds:
Our connecting flight turned out to be clear at the other end of airport. On the walk over, I noticed that the airport, at least, is very Americanized - not surprising, considering the long occupation of the Canal Zone by the U.S. I was also amused to notice gift shops selling - what else? - Panama hats!
We landed at the Bogotá airport, cleared customs and immigration, and stopped off at the Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario office (Colombian Agricultural Institute) to get Trooper cleared to enter the country. And then we finally got out of the airport and met up with Graciela and her boyfriend Piqui (pronounced "Peaky" - his real name is Hernando):
Courtesy of Google Maps, let's take a look at where we were:
You can see the airport in the upper left, and the red pin shows the location of Graciela's apartment. Quite a long drive. But we eventually got there:
Her apartment is on the fifth floor. And there's no elevator. There are 65 steps (I counted). And I was carrying two heavy suitcases. And Bogotá's elevation is 8,660 feet - about 1.6 miles. Oof. We didn't have too much trouble with the elevation, but I did find myself a little short of breath at times - particularly going up those stairs.
Here are some pictures of the apartment:
Take a close look at that shower head. Yes, those are electrical wires. Graciela's apartment doesn't have hot water, so she has a heating attachment built into her shower head. I must admit, when I first saw that, I was dubious. Let's face it, electricity and water is a dangerous combination. But the wires were properly insulated, and the installation was properly grounded, and no one got electrocuted.
We spent the afternoon relaxing and getting settled in. I went for a walk and took some pictures of the neighborhood. In these first several pictures, I think I was trying to imitate Google Street View:
I walked up the street and across a canal, which I later identified as Canal Rio Fucha:
Where the street crossed over the canal, I found this interesting painted rock:
...which presented a different aspect when I walked around to the other side:
Looking east, I took this picture of the hills overlooking the city:
Further up the street, I passed this church, which I later identified as Iglesia San Francisco Javier:
And I took a picture of this house, just because I thought it looked interesting:
Back at Graciela's apartment, I took this picture from the living room window:
A couple of days later, I took this picture of the same view at night:
Later in the evening, Terry and Graciela and I walked down to the local exito (supermarket) for some sodas:
...after which we went back home, got a pizza for dinner, and went to bed.