|Bogotá has its charms. The weather though usually isn't one of them!|
So then, why indeed Colombia? Well sticking with the reasons that we didn’t come here for, making sack loads of money is one of them. There are plenty of other countries across the globe we could hit for – well we think anyway – we’re we could make and save much more money doing more-or-less the same thing. In terms of Bogotá specifically, our home for the best part of a year, we’re not here for the glorious weather and/or laid-back coastal lifestyle. The fact that we’re in a gas-guzzling construction site of a city, with a population of about 8million, perched well inland at an altitude of over 2,600metres accounts for that.
It would certainly be untrue to say though that we’re here against our will or wholly by accident. What is a fact though is what we’ve termed our ‘second coming’ to South America, in June 2011, was aimed more at Chile than here. That was because we wanted to give ourselves a more concrete reason to return to this continent than just willy-nilly travelling and we found the grounds for that in signing-up as a volunteer for an English media group in Santiago. Tellingly enough perhaps though, we firstly spent two weeks in Bogotá and its surrounds before hitting overland for Chile. Now that wasn’t just because it was far cheaper to fly into here compared to Santiago – the chance to catch up with some friends from our first visit to Colombia (February 2009) being a much greater reason.
Cheap flights back to Ireland were though the biggest factor in our brief return here in October last year – a visit that was a more sobering experience of the country than previous ones, a few days in the company of a good friend in Cartagena excepted. That ‘sobering experience’ being our first taste of how crazy Colombian women can turn for no apparent reason – what we thought was a good friend aggressively blanking us from her life.
|Landscape-wise, Colombia is up there with the best of them|
However, after a necessary four week stop in the home country, back we came, like suckers for punishment in a ‘see what happens’ style approach. An initial spell of wandering around to less-visited spots in this physically stunning country with its amazing and diverse wildlife helped us get over that aforementioned ‘defriending’ by someone who had been a strong initial reason in tempting us back in the first place (she is part of our life once more however – we can be quite forgiving and lenient at times).
It was always likely that we’d return to Bogotá – Colombia’s ‘city of opportunity’, the best place for a local or expat to find work. It wasn’t that we were really stuck and needed money but we figured we’d give living here a go for a bit. So after a slow, admittedly reluctant start, we did manage to find ourselves some steady, semi-profitable English teaching work (for more on this see ‘The Money Tongue’ http://bit.ly/V8ELH4). Not forgetting the odd bit of relatively enjoyable TV extras work – something different anyway (see ‘Giving just a little bit ‘Extra’’ http://bit.ly/NrbPc3) – a change being as good as a break.
After a while though, like any place, city living can become quite stale – even here in Bogotá. A lot of this is probably more to do with our own ‘itchy-feet’ nature, especially when we have very few serious ties to a place and are relatively free. The return of a very good local friend to this city after a 12 month absence coupled with our already existing good friends here is making it harder for us to ‘take flight’ once more. The Colombian authorities have also played their part – they make it pretty easy to stay on a mid to long-term basis. If we had to put more effort and cost into staying here we might reconsider.
|Is the sun-setting on our time in Colombia?|
There is of course much more to Colombia than Bogotá and while we have seen a fair bit of the country there are still many other places worth discovering. With the seasonal slow-down in teaching work upcoming that may give us the opportunity to get moving.
After that, perhaps, our subconscious reasons for staying will abate somewhat and we’ll have less of a reluctance to leave? One thing is for sure, at this remove anyway, the Colombian tourist board's slogan of ‘the only risk is wanting to stay’ – be that subconsciously or not – is certainly ringing true. We just don’t really know why that is.