The place we are working is a half hour taxi ride ($6) away but with some 70,000 taxis in town we do fine (unless it rains then they all seem to disappear). To get there we jump into a Hyundi ATOS (their answer to the Volkswagon beetle) and the driver zips through the side streets and onto a 2 lane roadway (under construction) going uphill with at least a 45° angle then over a hill on a winding twisting road kind of like a rollercoaster without tracks that never slows down. Holding on to anything well attached inside the taxi is a life skill one must master. As we careen back and forth across the center line we are treated to glimpses of the city in three directions viewed between the trunks of spreading trees with peeling bark that have to be more than 50 feet tall. In the end we arrive safely at the National Treasury building across the road from the Presidential palace.
Friday night my Brazilian colleague Frederico and I were invited over to Israel's apartment for dinner with his wife and family. They wanted to us to experience true Colombian cuisine so Judy had prepared Ajiaco, a delicious soup and a specialty of this area of Colombia. On Saturday we walked to a mall so I could aquire a local mobile phone number to keep me connected as I don't speak enough Spanish to ask intelligent questions (a worthwhile investment in any new city I have found). Yes walk is what I said, despite the press Bogotá is like any large city, much of it safe but you need to learn your street smarts and avoid doing risky things.
On Monday while Israel was meeting a Ministry offcial, Frederico and darted out for lunch with our translators. While Mercedes was checking out a nearby eatery, Mada suggested lunch at the Jockey Club of Bogotá where her father was a member. It was a ten minute walk in the old part of town with classic old buildings on either side so we got a taste of historic Bogotá. The Jockey Club itself was an old world experience with 20 foot ceilings, real wood paneled walls and 10 foot high paintings and tapestries. The white linen tableclothes were adorned with fine china in this elegant setting. The fixed menu of the day was reasonably priced, tasty and elegantly served. An unexpected treat the average visitor would never know existed.