Saturday, August 30, 2008

Spurious Helmets

So it´s official, bicycle rental is not something that´s commonly (or cheaply) offered in Bogotá. Despite the numerous ciclorutas. Despite the ciclovía. No bikes for us! In a way I´m relieved, cause I didn´t want to be on red alert regarding bike theft while enjoying the city, and the colectivos and Transmilenio do an excellent job of moving us around.
I´m exhausted. We started the day with a lovely breakfast prepared by our new host in Salitre, consisting of the usual chocolate, pan, and some arepas that actually didn´t taste like wood. The many stray dogs in this very modern part of the city didn´t manage to keep me awake last night with their rhythmic howling, but I´m still feeling the need to sleep like ten hours a night, so I went back to sleep after breakfast.
About Salitre: we saw an exhibit at the Biblioteca Virgilio Barco in the Parque Simon Bolívar yesterday that showed aerial photographs of Bogotá from 1947 to the present. We saw that Salitre was just a bunch of green fields until the city made plans to develop it in the style of Le Corbusier, with tall blocks of apartment buildings surrounded by park spaces. The district is fairly pleasant for the pedestrian, although I find the numerous indoor malls (Gran Estación, Plaza Salitre) to be antisocial. We also found confirmation that the Ciudad Universitaria is indeed in the shape of an owl, as we´d been told. One of the stadiums that formed the eyes of the owl has been destroyed, but the shape is still quite clear. Another feature we noticed at the exhibit was a large, third story plaza adjoining the Bancafé building. Today we found the plaza, it´s impressive, and we took some pictures that are imprisoned in the camera for now, till we go to an internet café that has USB capabilities.
We visited the Museo Nacional after we gave up on bikes, and watched a bit of a documentary about Colombia´s Pacific coast region. Then we paid 11,000 mil pesos (ouch) for coffee, chocolate, and a teensy pecan pie in the museum café.
Now we´re back in Salitre, having jumped onto a colectivo around sunset. I feel rather ill, and we need to eat dinner, and I´m stressed out about visiting this ecovillage outside the city called Aldeafeliz. It seems from their webpage that they´re accustomed only to camping visitors, and we certainly aren´t backpackers. I´ve been putting off calling them for days because I dread the scene I´ve concocted in my mind of my poor Spanish confusing the hell out of whoever answers the phone. Fortunately Bobby has volunteered (with much encouragement from me) to call.
Tomorrow we go to a town called Usaquen to visit a renowned market and to enjoy the ciclovía.