It´s big. It´s well organized. In contrast to Caracas, every window up to the seventeenth floor isn´t barred with thick iron. There´s different private security firms on every corner but still it seems a far cry from the paranoia of the Venezuelan capital.

La Candelaría is the hub of tourism, like the french quarters of New Orleans, with cheap hostels almost door to door. There´s people from all over. There´s a german guy stapled to one of the public computers in the common area of the hostel, desperate to get out of Bogota although he´s hardly sat foot outside the iron gate of our Los Aventureros confinement.

Outside is nice, I try to tell him,  like an eternal rainy spring. The city sprawls out, from north to south. We take a public bus from the city center to Usaqueros, a supposedly trendy part further north and it takes us over an hour due to the traffic-jams. They´re constant. There´s no other hours than rushhour here.

The busdrivers are highly skilled kamikaze pilots; cutting through busy lanes with a honk and a prayer to pick up  customers flagging them down. Bus-stops are few and far apart. You pick your spot and wave your transport in. You get off where it suits you. If you manage to squeeze your way through the crowded aisle in time.

The driver´s got one hand on the steering-wheel and with the other he collects the bus-fare, while speeding. I think of home, where there´s big signs prohibiting you from engaging in any kind of contact with the vehicle operator.

In the hostel, we found a small, round pill under our bed. It´s got a heart on it. I wonder…

Tomorrow we´re leaving for Calí. It´s the salsa city. I´m more of a belly-dancer.

Then Medellin. The ghoul of Escobar still lingers to its reputation. I see goldchains and a petting zoo of white tigers and other endangeared species. I see a couple of Mr.Fix-It politicians with a huge chunk of money invested in the War on Drugs, flown in to Mr. Escobars ranch over a weekend, twirling  hundred dollar bills into a tube.

Laughing hysterically all the way to the bank.


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