Monthly Archives: May 2008

Flowerland – where to buy

Colombia is covered with flowers and so are the streets of Bogota. On a lot of corners you will find people selling rosas (roses), girasolas (sunflowers), heliconias (heliconias?), claveles (carnations) and some other types that I can not identify yet. When passing by my wife usually makes some kind of remark about how nice flowers are or that the roses look good today. My normal answer is that people that ask, loose their turn (a dutch saying), but today we passed one of the flower centers in the city and we had a chance to buy some nice colors.

At Calle 88 with 15 there is Parque el Virrey with on the entrance a little flower mall.

Here you can find all the flowers you might wish (except the famous Dutch tulips hehe) and for a very good price. We bought 6 huge red flowers (no idea of the name) of about a meter in height with some extra green leaves for 10.000COP (about 6USD).

Puente again?

Yes, again we are having a puente (long weekend). Monday must be some kind of national holiday and it seems that many people have left the city for tierra caliente (literally: warm ground). I don’t think that I have seen the city so empty ever! Check the picture I just made at sundown at 15 street, which is one of the busiest streets in the city:

Paintballs hurt

Last Monday (as it was a free day) we decide to go play paintball with some friends. Just before putting on the suit some of our friends thought it was a good idea to mention that the balls actually hurt. Hurt bad! Seeing the two teams before us coming out of the play zone bruised with dark red spots on their arms and legs and covered in paint, the fun of it all seemed a little further away.

After dividing the two teams and putting on a special suit, which in the end mainly seemed to have functioned to keep the paint out, we entered the play zone and got our guns and paintballs. In the beginning everyone started kind of friendly and slow, but after getting a full hit, I decided to let the games begin and shoot anything that moved. This way I ran out of ammo even before we could finish the first mission but I had fun and nobody was able to hit me again :). After three missions time was up and we all stumbled to the secure zone to count or wounds. Luckily hardly anyone was really badly hit, except for one friend that got two big red dots on his arm.

The terrain was interesting but too small for my taste. Because of its shape and size there was nothing left than just head to head attack and no sneaking up from around the corner for example.

For 15.000COP, about 10USD, you get 50 balls and 1hour of “missions”. For extra balls you pay 100COP each. We used about 200 more per person which was enough for spraying your friends with a nice new layer of paint.

We had a great time and I was completely exhausted afterward, but this has more to do with my personal fitness level I think. Next time I will want to check out one of the other places in town though as the orange suit they gave me did not help to hide (as I am already tall) and I really need some more space to put my strategies to work.

For more info on Colombia Paintball check:

http://colombianpaintball.com
Tel (571) 681-3945 or
Cel (57) 300-216-2647

Av. Calle 139, No. 81-22, Bogota. (the entrance is at the wooden gate that for sure you will miss if you do not pay attention)

Juanes!!!!

The biggest artist right now in Colombia for sure is Juan Esteban Aristizábal Vásquez or just simply: Juanes.

Since splitting with his band Ekhymosis, he has come a long way. I remember my brother (after living in Guatemala for a year) told me one day that he was going to a concert of some guy named Juanes, whom was performing (probably for the first time) in Amsterdam. My brother in the middle of mainly Latin people enjoyed a great concert but it took many years to for me to get familiar with his music. Since hooking up with my Colombian lady, I am getting a daily portion of his songs though ;).

My personal favorite is Mala Gente:

Most non-Latins will automatically get the Latin feeling when listing to La Camisa Negra:

Just kidding, this of course was not Juanes…the song has been played so often though that I had to put another version here not to get annoyed myself haha

and to finish one of his newest songs that I hope will make it also to the motherland; Me Enamoras:

Chez Therese – Belgium food

Right after the toll booth going over the mountain from Bogota to La Calera you will find a very colorful restaurant which unmistakeably is Belgium. Last Sunday we decided to try out the food after driving past this place already on several occasions.

Right after the earthquake we were not 100% comfortable on the second floor, as the restaurant sort of hangs on the side of the mountain. To actually get the most out of the atmosphere of the place I suggest to try and get one of the tables on the first floor. The service was not that the fastest in town and I personally did not like the free entree but the rest of the food definitely made up for that! We were not that hungry so we ordered cheese croquettes and beef with herb butter to share. Both turned out very well and of course we had to order the chocolate mousse for desert. A great finisher of a very nice lunch made by the owner herself!

Btw. besides eating there you can also take home fresh lettuce, jams, eggs, pate etc.

Chez Therese: Km 7 via La Calera – Patios, tel: 5224778

Fonseca – Paraiso – Music

As today we are in a puente (a long weekend with Friday or Monday off), I want to share this great Sunday tune from Fonseca. They are a Colombian group and wrote this song for Paraiso Travel, a movie about a Colombian couple that travels to New York in pursuit of their dreams. I have not seen the movie yet but the song is excellent.

Paseo al Norte – Trip to the north

In the weekends many Bogotanians take their car and drive out of the city to spend some time in nature, go to a finca (holiday house) or have lunch in one of the restaurants in the nearby pueblos (villages) or in the mountains. After looking around in Full House, a mall of about 30 furniture shops at Autopista Norte with Calle 195, we decide to return to the city by taking a similar tour through Sopo and La Calera. This is a beautiful drive with some nice places to stop on the way.

“La Cabana” a factory store of famous Alpina dairy brand you can find at the edge of Sopo village. Here you can get all sorts of milk, yogurt and cheese products straight from the factory which lies just about one hundred meters to the left of this picture. The Cabana is actually relatively new as last year when we went, it was just a small shed.

The best to order here are without a doubt the fresas con crema – strawberries with cream! Great flavor and freshly made. Perfect as a pre-lunch desert 😉

After eating half of the desert and leaving the other half for after lunch, we drove into Sopo and stopped at the town square. The church is actually where we got married a few years ago. Sopo is normally very calm but yesterday they were celebrating the 355 year anniversary of the village, so it was a little more crowded than normal. Still a big difference with Bogota though!

Leaving Sopo you go through some other small villages like El Salitre and La Calera. From there the road goes up into the mountain and you will see a lot cars from Bogota parked on the side of the roads as most restaurants serve here the popular traditional plate of meat, patatoes, yuca, corn and patacon. Actually so many people went out yesterday that there were lines for parking and ordering.

About half way down the mountain on the other side, you get an amazing view of the city. You can see the different seasons in one day as described by me in an earlier post, with the sun on the left and rain clouds on the right. Really an impressive sight and a great tour taking just half a day at most.