Smoke Detectors and Panini Stickers: Dirty Gritty Pretty Bogota

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Sometimes I wish I had an office job so that I could swing in a rotating chair, heave my feet up onto a window overlooking Bogotá, pick my teeth with a hunting knife and then say: “I love this dirty gritty pretty city.”

Bogota

dirty pretty gritty Bogotá

Eight years and counting. Wobbles and “Colombia moments” notwithstanding, things are good here. One of the key benefits to living in Colombia is that while I am jaded and angst ridden

Villavicencio: the Finca Paradise

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It’s taken eight years of living here in Colombia to finally get down to the Llanos Orientales and Villavicencio. Really, this is shameful given Villavicencio’s proximity to Bogotá along a serpentine highway descent from the altiplano leaving the capital via Usme and then reaching la Puerta al Llano roughly two hours later. In truth it’s only 85km from the capital as the crow flies but a world apart in terms of customs, people and climate or well if I am honest, just about everything is different here.

Villavicencio

Remembering Buenaventura

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Long overdue, the coverage coming out of Colombia’s Pacific port of Buenaventura has left me feeling philosophical. I first visited this impoverished city in 2003 and then again in 2007. I promised myself I would never return.

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Map of Buenaventura

Writing in 2007 for the online site Suite101, I found myself suffering from a barrage of troll-like criticisms for my descriptions of Buenaventura. I was accused of never having visited the city, threatened should I return and frankly exposed to the kind of

A Bleeding Puente in Pacho

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“You bleed too much,” said my doctor as she stitched up my hand in the Emergency room of the San Rafael Hospital in Pacho, Cundinamarca. I had arrived just 20 minutes previously, making the 80km journey from Bogota in good time. All I wanted was to kick back with a cold beer, forget the stresses of the city and put my feet up and enjoy some warm weather all the while learning a little more about this town famed for being the birthplace of the