“There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience and that is not learning from experience.” – Archibald McLeish
I’m just settling down from my first full day in Bogota, Colombia.
I woke up, had a cup of cocoa at the hostel and then went for a big old walk. About an hour into it, I found a side street to a side street. Lots of students were going in and out, the smells were a mixture of sweet and savoy from many street vendors and not a word spoken around was understood by me.
In this moment, I ‘got’ travel.
I got that the new experiences were far past sights, photos, smells, greetings or languages. It is about time and place, and conscious decisions to notice the smaller things.
Bogota is both amazing and frustrating to me. The cafes and street food smells amazingly good. They have a gluten free item that most vendors are selling that is a mixture of corn, cheese and toppings (sweet or savory). It is kinda like french toast with honey on it. I’m going out to find some after I finish this post. Perhaps some street meat as well (something I am scared of making me sick but can’t resist).
The frustrating part of Bogota lies in that I am a foot taller than the average person, and one of the only ones with blonde hair. I stick out like on Oklahoman at a Vegas party. I got heckled by some middle schoolers and several times had people stop to take pictures of me. Humorous, but not what I need now.
I speak very little spanish. Very little. This has never really been a huge problem until today. I ate all meals by the ‘point and smile’ method that I am becoming quite good at.
There is the nuance of the city that I know that I am missing. I can’t read the signs on the crowded buses, the place cards or overhear conversations. What I have is my interpretations of what is going on.
“What is next? Why ask? Next will come a demand about which you already know all you need to know: that its sole measure is your own strength.” -Dag Hammerskjold