Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bogota Colombia! I’m back baby! 7 Museums in 1 day, Motorcycle District

It was mere 6 months ago that I was in this beautiful city at the beginning of day 60 of my journey and now I was back.

It is ironic and bittersweet that I should end my journey here, almost where I started my South America trek all together.

I must say I missed this city. I even missed the insane amount of motorcycles, traffic, pollution, vast amounts of police and military prescience, people, tons of juice stands, lots of people selling cell phone minutes, and the hour or more it takes to get from the airport to downtown and of course Arepas and cheap pizza!

It was incredible to be back in a country where I can speak and understand the language. I did however learn Portuguese while in my time in Brazil, so all the suffering and hard work was worth it.

The reality of my journey coming to an end hit me as soon as I returned to the hostel I stayed at upon my first visit to Bogota. It was great finding my way back to it just by memory. If there’s one thing I’ve realized I’m very good at is this, most anywhere I’ve been on this journey I can back track and visualize what I saw, where it is, and how to get there. I hope this photographic memory will help me with other things later on.

THe hostel I stayed at 6 moths ago
Historic downtown Calendaria in Bogota Colombia


The first thing I did upon arriving in Bogota was go for some cheap and good pizza!
$1.05 US for a slice at my favorite pizza place

The next thing I did was visit the barrio of motorcycles, a section of downtown dedicated entirely to motorcycle stuff.



If you’re looking for stolen parts, makeshift replacement parts, crash protectors, fabricated helmets, stolen helmets, helmets that look cool but won’t help you a bit if you crash with one of them on, cheap riding glasses, reflective vests (a mandatory requirement in Colombia-used to be at least), custom stickers, cheap food, saddle bags, riding jackets, pants, rain suits and a bit of danger on the street then this is your place!


Some crazy graphics the Colombians have on their motorcycle seats

All throughout my trip I noticed Colombia had the best cheapest motorcycle gear out of any country. 6 months ago I purchased a rain suit in Colombia and it held up the entire trip with flying colors, but I sold it so I was itchy to get another one.



I also enacted to get myself the coolest vest ever!


It used to be mandatory in Colombia to have one of these reflective vests with the license plate number on the front and back. It was the government’s attempt at stimulating the economy and small businesses. It’s no longer mandatory.

And what a funny coincidence that my last name is 6 digits just like a license plate number, so it fit perfectly… barely. Alight the people looked at me funny when I asked to have my name put on it rather than a license plate number.

So for 3 days straight I spend my time there. For the fellow biker, this place is located on the street Caracas and calle 10, just ask around, everyone knows where’ it’s at, you can’t miss it!

I bought a rain suit, custom stickers, goggles, custom made pants, gloves, moto alarm you name it! All for cheap!



I intended on buying a new bike when I return home with the money I sold it for, so I’m stocking up on cheap gear and accessories I sold or will need for the future. This was my first moment of luxury the entire trip spending money on ME, and not to repair the bike, pay bribes, giving it to homeless people etc.

Thanks to cheap custom made stickers I became a walking billboard with advertisements for my web page on my helmet and backpack.


And to answer everyone's question, yes I've been carrying my helmet around for the past 2 months with my huge backpack. Its like a trophy for me. But I notice people give me a very confused look when they see me with a back pack and helmet, its a great conversation starter!

I spent so much time there; I ever made friends with the chicken cart man who sold grilled chicken with potatoes for $1.25 US, an entire meal in itself! He is my hero for the day, Chicken cart man, you will be missed!

Even saw a Honda CBR 1000! Of all places one was here! It certainly did not fit in well with the other 125cc bikes.



My father has this bike back home and has had it for over 11 years. This was the first motorcycle I drove at the age of 14.

My first lesson consisted of starting the bike uphill with my dad on the back. Being 14 and weighing 140 lbs with this 1000cc heavy bike and a big guy on the back was no easy feat. But I pulled through and every day on a motorcycle seems like a breeze compared to that first experience which has allowed me to survive until this day. Thanks Dad!

So the following days in Bogota are a meshed up blur, I was enjoying the city, life, people, food etc rather than worrying about writing my blog. It would be the last taste of South America I would have for a long time, so I’m getting the most of it.

I visited some new stuff I missed out on my last visit.



Like the Mozaratte on top of the mountain.



The view was great. My last visit to Bogota it was raining most of the time and it was consistently cloudy.







Even made some friends from Austin Texas, Wisconsin and some other places that were on the same tram ride going up.





My hero for the day is this guy.



Logan has been growing his beard for the last 8 months. It made me realize if I hadn’t of shaved my beard all throughout this journey, at this point in time it would be about the same as his….scary thought huh? Or awesome thought… that’s for you to decide.

Also took a nice stroll downtown through Bolivar plaza.

Lots of pigeons





Thanks to my driving through Ecuador and Peru all I  think about when I see this animal is... MMMmmm... Yumm!

The funniest street in all South America.




Saw the president’s palace, as well parliament.



Crazy amounts of birds around the plaza.

And hung out around the historic district of Candelaria where the hostel is located amount countless others.

Although, I must say I’m happy I didn’t have the motorcycle as parking last time was a pain in the ass.

On Sunday the museums in Bogota are free, so I went on a museum binge!

I’ve never been to so many museums in one day before in all my life, a total of 7 I managed to fit in, a new personal record.

I first started off at the museum of gold. Be sure to check out my original post of the Museum of Gold here for more pictures.



I just took pictures of the things I missed. And as I now have decent internet I can actaully uploads lots of photos without it taking forever!






And some new exhibits

Along with the same old cool looking things.

On my way to Museum #2, I saw some pretty Colombian girls.



I then proceeded to the National Police museum.

It was a mass collection of guns and more guns.



Also a section dedicated to Pablo Escobar, the notorious cocaine drug dealer from Colombia that’s given the wonderful and beautiful country of Colombia and it’s amazing people an undeserving and bad reputation.



This is his cousins Harley Davidson motorcycle they confiscated after killing him.


The associates of Pablo Escobar



The guns from various associates.



More guns




Police uniforms and such








Lots of medals from all over the world




Even saw one from Fredericksburg Texas! That’s right next to Austin Texas where I attended college.



My favorite part was the pictures of the entire motorcycle policeman from all over the world.




I will admit being a motorcycle cop in Germany with super fast road bikes may be a future job for me.

The guys reaction is great


Next on the museum tour was the coin museum, the Botero museum and the art museum all conveniently located walking distance from each other.




Not much to explain, except that the Botero paintings are very popular in Colombia.







Thats totally me in a few years


The next museum I visited was what I can only describe as a kids games museum.



It was an interactive history of the childhood games we all used to play when we were young.



Next was the Military museum.





Lots of neat stuff as well.






The pictures will speak for themselves.

So how I managed to visit 7 museums in 1 day is beyond me. I am not any museum kind of guy but today I was super museum guy.

I also got myself some nice gifts like these t-shirts promoting my web page.


Cheap $7 shirts! Thanks Colombia!

I will continue enjoying my $1 freshly squeezed mandarin orange juice in the morning, my cheap Arepas, and pizza for now, as in a week I’ll be back in the USA.

But not before I visit the city of Medellin Colombia, where I’ve heard amazing things and missed on my initial run down with the bike. Until then as the Colombians on every street corner trying to sell you something’s say, A la orden! (At your service!) Gotta love the Colombians!