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We’re almost into February and there couldn’t have been a better introduction to 2014 than hosting my first visitor in Bogota.  KK has set the bar very high for future visitors coming armed with 250 bags of PG tips, malt loaf and lots of biscuits.  Most of the supplies have gone but I’m keeping the malt loaf (which completely baffles the Colombians!) for a special occasion!  Having KK to stay has been an absolute pleasure.  She has boundless energy and enthusiasm, taking photos of absolutely everything from piles of rubble to telephone posts to stray dogs!  She has been doing an intensive Spanish course so is up at the crack of dawn every morning and has meticulously been learning vocab and doing her homework.  Not only has she improved hugely at Spanish but she’s made loads of friends and fitted in perfectly to my life here. 

In the afternoons I have marched KK to every corner of the city showing her the sights and finding new cafes and spots I hadn’t seen before.  We’ve walked hundreds of miles and used every form of public transport in the city.  We’ve been salsa dancing (compulsory for all visitors), bemused Colombians by annihilating the dance floor with some English classics (YMCA etc….you get the picture), sampled lots of local delicacies and visited countless museums, galleries and churches.  Coming for three weeks KK has seen a really different Bogota to the one most tourists see.  I hope she spreads the words and helps to dispel many of the myths and misrepresentations of Colombia that are so prolific throughout the world, especially in England.  For those who are interested I’m reading this book that KK brought over for me, a really great introduction to modern Colombia.  http://www.amazon.com/Short-Walks-Bogot%C3%A1-Journeys-Colombia-ebook/dp/B008K0X4NW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390580653&sr=8-1&keywords=tom+feiling.  It’s really well written and easy to read – I highly recommend it for a taste of the history and culture of this amazing country.

At the weekends we escaped the city to surrounding towns to give KK a taste of the ‘real’ Colombia outside of Bogota.  The first weekend we went camping with Lorena and two of her friends Javier and Henri.  Lorena has her own tour company so she took us on a hike through the beautiful countryside near La Vega, a town about an hour from Bogota with a much warmer climate, to an isolated waterfall in the middle of the jungle.  Just incredible.  Here’s an article I wrote on it for Embrace Bogota http://www.embracebogota.com/#!A-refreshing-escape-to-La-Vega/c23ok/8941D496-70FD-4466-BE88-7A181A7C0440

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We spent Sunday in the small town playing a game called Tejo which is like a Colombian version of boule, although instead of the small white ball there are explosives imbedded in mud that you aim for with a heavy metal disk.  Oh, and to pay you play with crates of beer.  The picture you have in your head is exactly what it is – drunk Colombian men hurling heavy weights at explosives… I was terrible at it but KK was great and named ‘La Campione de Tejo’!

I better mention, however the absolute nightmare of the night before…!  We arrived at the campsite at 7pm ish and put up our tents – I had borrowed one from a friend who told me the tent didn’t have a waterproof outer layer but not to worry as it probably wouldn’t rain…it did…there was a massive storm and KK and I cowered under our pathetically un-waterproof sheets, KK shouting ‘it’s like Noah’s Ark without the Ark, just end me!!’  After sticking it out for a few minutes we abandoned ship and ran to the toilet block completely drenched, only to find out it was only 1 am!  We squeezed into the other’s tents which was pretty cosy but so worth it as we managed to get a few hours kip!  KK will tell this story far more dramatically naming it the first time she nearly died in Colombia…

The second time was the following weekend when we were invited to go white water rafting with some of my friends.  We started the day with a hike up a river through the woods near a town called Tobia about an hour from Bogota.  That was beautiful and uneventful…however we began rafting in groups of six down a seemingly peaceful river until our boat crashed into a rock and threw us all out at the most dangerous point!  The water is relatively shallow so we all got bumped and bashed about by the rocks until we were hauled like beach whales into someone else’s boat!  Luckily someone got it all on video!  Again KK will tell the story more dramatically so contact her for more details…Image

I’ve had such a great time with KK and really don’t want her to go home.  She leaves next Wednesday so we’re packing this weekend full of activities to send her off (including going on a tour with a friend of mine’s Mexican band!).  She’s already thinking about coming back later in the year though so fingers crossed! 

My Granny passed away last week which although I knew was coming was still a shock and it has been difficult not being with my family.  Skype’s amazing though and I’ve been chatting to everyone and talking about what an amazing woman my Granny was.  She will always be a huge inspiration in my life and the queen of our family!

In other news I have been writing lots for Embrace Bogota and The City Paper which has been great.  I’ve been able to explore the city and find fun things and places to write about.  January has been a bit slow with English lessons as many people take time off over January but I’m getting back on track with them.  And I haven’t done too much with CPDH as I’ve tried to keep my afternoons free to show KK around but hopefully that will pick up again next week.  I’ve met lots more inspirational people here and joined a few clubs and groups so looking forward to a great 2014.  The weather is beautiful in Bogota, much nicer than the incessant rain of a few months back.  Can’t wait to show more people around, take a leaf out of KK’s book – quit your job and book your tickets! 

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