On the weekend Sam (aka Samantha) drove two of her colleagues from Washington DC and I about an hour's drive out to Andes Carne de Res in the nearby town of Chia. It is considered "famous" not just because the food is good but for the lavish "over the top" decorations. Above the simple old fashioned wooden tables and benches there are thousands of bright and unusual decorations collected from everywhere. It is quite festive and I am told it can be a pretty wild place when the nighttime crowd takes over.
The Colombian footbol (spelled soccer) team has advanced to the quarter finals of the South America cup and this is a matter of National Pride. Bright yellow team jerseys are seen everywhere and the local Park 93 has a gigantic screen set up with hundreds of beanbag chairs looking like soccer balls for the viewers who turn out enmasse. The local pubs like Bogotá Beer Company are crammed with passionate screaming fans. My colleague Alex has moved to an apartment 25 blocks away so I am now restauranting on my own without speaking the language, so far everything chosen has been edible. At least I know how to start with "uno copa de vino tinto por favor" so the rest I just improvise. We take for granted the level of communications in ordering something as simple as a sandwich with the choices of bread, lettuce, tomato and whatever else they might offer. It can be challenging. Using the point and hope strategy for now. It seemed like eating here was more expensive so I calculated the BMI (Big Mac Index). In Racine a Big Mac meal costs $5.36 while here it costs $9.39 or 75% more (no I did not order one, just checked the price).
Friday after a visit to a world class data center two of my Colombian hosts took me to lunch at a local restaurant with authentic Colombian food. Capachos Asadero was not the kind of place I usually find on my own. It was crowded at lunchtime and after gorging myself on meat cooked over an open wood fire I knew why. The entertainment was by colorfully dressed Amazones playing what appeared to be Colombian instruments.
Like many metropolitan cities (Bogotá has about 8 million inhabitants) this is a city of neighborhoods. During the day the neighborhood where we work is fine and filled with people. When the sun goes down it is a different story and this can change block by block. So despite the traffic I stay in more upscale (pronounced expensive) neighborhoods where I can wander to nearby restaurants on my own. You need to become street smart wherever you go.