Monday, April 30, 2018

Miscellaneous Pictures from the Last Day in Bogota

Monumento a Los Héroes, in the median of busy highway
I wandered the streets of northern Bogotá today. There was nothing major on the agenda. All of the loose ends from my prior trips to Bogotá have been tied down, cut away, or unloosened, whatever it is you do to loose ends to make them loose no longer.

These two street dogs were laying around in the "Flores" area, which is an area around Calle 72 where, for some reason, there is a very heavy concentration of flower shops. Smells nice, but I'm surprised these pooches would think so. The older one was very affectionate, making me regret that I wasn't walking the streets with dog treats.

A couple of storefront restaurants caught my eye as I walking to dinner:

Can you see the sign?

Senora Choclo & Senor Cafe.  Mrs. Corn & Mr. Coffee.  I'm not really aware of corn and coffee being a match made in culinary heaven, but it works here in Bogotá.

And speaking of juxtapositions:

Arepizza!  When you can't decide between an arepa and a pizza.  (An arepa is a like a cornmeal-based English muffin.  It gets delicious when other ingredients are added.  Cheese being an essential.)

I opted for something more traditional.

Supper tonight was at the Central Cevicheria, where I've eaten a few times before.  Once you get passed the fact that their ceviche is in a mayonnaise sauce, it can be appreciated for its deliciousness.

I had the Ceviche de Aji Amarillo, which was a mix of raw seafood, in a spicy sauce with bell peppers and yellow corn.  Yes.  Yellow corn.  In ceviche.  It worked.

Dessert, of course, was a pisco sour.

Dinner the night before was also at a restaurant at which I had eaten before.

The Restaurante Club Colombia, owned by the Club Colombia brewery.  Once again, they served up fried plantains with a piquant sauce that I am 100 percent certain is pureed beats.

I again ordered the flank steak, which is served in a tomato and cheese sauce, along with potatoes served in the same sauce.

But the real reason I desperately wanted to come back to this restaurant was the dessert.

Merengón.  Two merengue cookies.  Lots of chantilly cream.  Raspberries and raspberry sauce.  And fresh soursop, or guanabana.  Delicious and, I believe gluten free.

That concludes this trip to Bogotá.  I will end on a surreal note, a Salvador Dali from the Museo Botero:

Inside Museo Militar

A military-issue bicycle, which is so appropriate in this bicycle-loving country
While I was in neighborhood of La Candelaria, I made another visit to the Museo Militar, the Military Museum of Bogotá.

I had been here before, but it's a nice little museum, with free admission.

This polite young soldier was checking ID's before letting the crowd in.

This has to be one of the easier duty assignments in the Colombian military.

Who does love taking pictures of their toddlers handling weapons of war?

The helicopter was a particularly popular photo spot.

For visitors of all ages:

This is a statue in remembrance of the flight of Icarus:

It was within the exhibit on the development of the Colombian air force.  I presume this one below is a modern day rendering of "swords into ploughshares," given that modern militaries do not fight with swords, nor would modern people really recognize a "ploughshare."  Guns and shovels are more understandable imagery for this metaphor today.

This one, however, does not seem to allude to peace:

Overall, how would rate the Museo Militar?


Inside Nuestra Senora del Carmen

Sunday services inside Santuario Nuestra Señora del Carmen
One of the reasons I keep coming back to Bogotá is that there are things I want to see that I didn't get to see on my last trip. Check off one more item of unfinished business: seeing the beautiful interior of the Santuario Nuestra Señora del Carmen.

I did not have a map with me, but I had a general idea of where Santuario Nuestra Señora del Carmen was located in La Candelaria, the old historic core of Bogotá.  Maybe I should try Calle 9, since it is also named "Calle del Carmen."

And here it is.  The striking exterior of the church.

Every other time I have been here, the church has been locked tight. I figured that on a Sunday, during mass times, I could knock and the door will be opened. (Luke 11:9 allusion)

No need to knock as the doors already were open:

The beautiful ornate interior perfectly matched the striking exterior.

There were some goings-on in the front, but it didn't seem like mass had started, so I continued to snap away.

I did stay for mass and occasionally the language was sufficiently familiar that I knew where I was in the proceedings.

But, soon, it was time to go forth in peace.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Tequendama Falls and the Museum Ex-Hotel Perched Nearby

Left to right: Tequendama Falls, Tequendama Falls Museum
I'm back in the BOG.

I scheduled a few days in Bogotá at the end of this trip for a little relaxation after what I thought would be an exhausting week in Peru. But the combination of 36 hours in bed with food poisoning, and the fact that I could not take a side trip north of Trujillo to Chiclayo to check out the Sicán and Sipán sites meant that I already was sufficiently relaxed. Still, I like the restaurants and there are some additional sites in Bogotá that I still need to see.  Such as Tequendama Falls.

And those are the falls: Salto de Tequendama.

And this is the building that was built as a hotel and railroad depot, then was a restaurant and now is a museum.

Officially: Casa Museo Salto de Tequendama Biodiversidad y Cultura.

Let us in!

This is the entrance.  No pictures allowed inside.  Photography might disturb the ghosts.  Yes, the place is reputed haunted.  Most likely, this rumor is because the falls themselves were once a very popular Bogotano suicide sight.  It no longer is, but, for the unfortunate reason that the lovely falls are not really in the conscience of the typical Bogotano anymore.

But the falls and the museum are starting to attract some international tourism attention (see, e.g., me), so the ghost rumors also could be intelligent marketing.

The museum is dedicated in large part to explaining the efforts to clean up the extremely contaminated Rio Bogotá.  The water is very polluted along the route to the falls -- think of the kitchen sink when someone squeezed way too much Dawn into the basin -- and, in places, there is strong sulfur smell.  Around the falls, there is a little odor in spots, but it generally smells quite neutral.

Photography, however, was permitted on the hotel balcony.

Selfies, too.

Oh, and this is the fine art photograph that I will be submitting to the judges and jury for a major photography award:

The falls seen through the balcony stonework.  What should I open the bidding at?

Still, the falls are the star of the show:

Can't get the right angle to show the building perched on the cliffs overlooking the falls.  This will have to do:

I worked up something of an appetite.  What's for dinner?  Peruvian.

Dining at the Cusco, which is much fancier Peruvian than I ate in Peru.  I ordered the Lomo Tupac.

I always liked his song "California Love."  (Please please please don't make me explain that "Tupac" was the next to last Inca emperor.  His son Huayna Capac was the one Pizarro kidnapped, defeated, and killed, in no particular order.)

One final note from when I was flying into BOG last night:

A "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign.  It's there to advertise Copa Airlines flights to Las Vegas.  However, just like the one on the south end of the Strip, this one also is a photo spot.