Thursday, May 2, 2013

Colombia 2013

With the parents in Cartagena
It was time for the boyfriend to go meet the family. If they lived nearby, I would've brought him over for Sunday dinner; or a Sunday noon-time sancocho most likely. Since they're in another continent, it took time and planning.

We ended up going for two weeks. We went to Bogotá first. I figured it would be best to ease him into Colombia and wild as Bogotá can get, it's a proper city. He'd get to meet my brother and his wife. Plus, there's natural air conditioning, and most of the people he'd meet in Bogotá spoke English.

That would not be the case once we got to the coast. Fortunately, by the time we got there he'd found himself a guitar and he was so happy eating Colombian food and drinking fruit juices he'd never previously heard of that he didn't care much about not being able to understand what was going on.

Sí, delicioso, and gracias go a long way when you're meeting parents.

It was a few vacations wrapped up in one. First, we enjoyed urban Bogotá with its new Transmilenio buses, shopping centers that looked like futuristic concepts drawn in the the seventies, gorgeous graffiti and street art, and Monserrate for the best views of the city and an amazing lunch.

Then we headed out of the city. First to the Catedral de Sal de Zipaquirá. That's a Cathedral carved out of  a salt mine and it's as beautifully surreal as you might imagine. It's made of rock salt. After that we went to Andrés Carne de Res in Chía for a late lunch.
Meta-photo at the Salt Cathedral

There is no restaurant to compare it to. In Colter's words "Imagine a restaurant the size of a small town, with a menu that requires both a table of contents and an index. Décor is junk shop art and food is five start quality." He descended into primal grunting as the first bite he took of one of the appetizers rendered him speechless, but that's how he was able to sum up the experience on FB after regaining use of words. Since it was his birthday the following day, there was also a sash, a crown and a bit of serenading. There was dancing. There was eating. There were hammocks. This place is a spa for those who like to eat.

That was day 3. On the 4th day we went flying.

We strapped ourselves to huge parachutes strapped to instructors and we ran off the mountain to sail high above the lake and glide away as the mountain top restaurant became smaller and smaller. We gently looped back around and landed roughly in the same spot. Floating is weird. It feels amazing, but it also feels deeply wrong. It's like the body knows it's not supposed to be up in the sky without any kind of hard structure AND not falling.

I'd go again tomorrow if I could.
At Parapente Paraiso in Sopó

Then we went to Barranquilla, my hometown. It was meet the parents time. It was probably a mistake to let Colter meet my parents. By the time we left, they were pampering him more than they pamper me.

We also took a day trip to Cartagena. You should visit Cartagena if you ever have the chance. It's like New Orleans but with better food and kick-ass castles.

After that we went to Parque Tayrona for a couple of days, and that will take a separate blog post. It's the kind of place that makes no sense until you see it.

Then we backtracked to Rodadero, a beach town where friends of my parents have an apartment. It's where we went away on holiday weekends when I was a teenager. I hadn't been back in about ten years. I got to spend time on that balcony staring at the sun setting over the Caribbean, with Colter playing guitar leaning against my bent knees, while my parents and their friends amicably argued about the best place to buy unpasteurized cheese.

It was a long trip back after that. From Rodadero to Barranquilla, then Barranquilla to Bogotá, then Bogotá to JFK.

Still not quite back.

Here's a taste of what it was like.


  1. I LOVED seeing your photos on Facebook. It looks like you guys had an awesome trip. Can you take me with you guys next time?!

  2. It was awesome! My parents are always pestering me to bring friends, so yes! Join us next time.