Last Friday, I had the pleasure to meet my friends from the Fundación Sidar to discuss accessibility concerns, new projects and to attend a dinner with some leaders in accessibility. This was great and I am very optimistic about future projects with Sidar and I am looking forward to going back to Colombia in November to meet with them again. Oops, yes this is my personal blog and this post is marked as ‘Personal” so not accessibility, privacy, or security – the Accessibility post will be on my tech blog!
When in Bogotá I got to tour around a bit inside and outside of the capitol for the weekend with only having to lose one half day of work. Walking around the capitol was fun and days one and three of the trip were spent in the city of Bogotá; I have some photos up from these days on my Shutterfly site: http://yonaitis.shutterfly.com/12082. Bogotá is a city that is very alive and with a feel that is socially accepting, depending on the neighborhood you may see a few people casually walking by getting stoned. What you also do not miss is the high police/military to people percentage on the street. Whatever the reasons Bogotá seemed much more secure than Lima, Peru.
From the little shops and the coffee it was a perfect weekend, of course there was coffee as I was in Colombia. The food and soups were amazing and the mixture of tastes was compelling and not overdone. I had one soup that combined, chicken, beans, broth, and corn on the cob with rice! (That is the main picture on this blog post – that stick pulls out a quarter corn on the cob!). In the pictures shown on Shutterfly you may notice I had a jacket and a couple layers of shirts on, this is because Bogotá is up in the mountains and it was around 60 every day but the last and it was damp with occasional rain.
I can’t say enough good things about the local people and how well I was treated; if you have not been to Bogotá you should add it to your list of places to visit. A standout from my trip was my visit to the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá. First, there was the getting there – on the topic of traffic – my cab driver to the airport exclaimed calmly, “The traffic here is complicated,” and he was not exaggerating. We did make it to Zipaquirá and of course to the Salt Cathedral. Here are some photos posted publicly on my Shutterfly site: http://yonaitis.shutterfly.com/12197. Zipaquirá was a colonial town and that is where the salt mine was and inside the salt mine there is a Cathedral and on the way to the Cathedral the Stations of the Cross are carved out as you go along with large crosses made of the walls and or minerals found, for those that do not know what the stations of the cross are you can read about them here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stations_of_the_Cross.
But let me back up, when entering the Cathedral area you see a large statue of a miner, in Bronze I think, and that sets the tone. The mine was beautiful inside, the stations of the cross were a rebuild as there was a collapse of the original Cathedral but I think you would agree with me that the decision to restore the Cathedral was as good as the Post WWII decision to rebuild Munich in the way it looked before the war versus building a modern looking city.
Inside the mine my group took the Miners tour so we had to gear up and go learn how salt was mined with some visits to small spaces to crawl through. What was interesting is that it was pretty realistic right down to air quality; one (apparently healthy) person passed out during the tour and needed to be helped out. I put up a couple videos on my YouTube page of the mining tour.
- Miner explaining how to use the pick to mine salt, in Spanish http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbT8DCYKJps
- Miner showing how Dynamite was used and a drill, in Spanish http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdPGIydgbY0
It, the city, is pretty interesting and I had a great time and look forward to a return trip. In the end the people you go with on a trip matter and I had the good fortune of being with people that wanted to make me feel at home in their country. I did get into a habit that I think is respectful, when talking about what or how we do something in the USA I said USA not America. You know all of us in the Americas threw off colonial rule everyone from the USA should get to know our other American neighbors – north and south!