Two Boys and a Bull

During Sunday’s bike tour these two naughty boys climbed onto the raging iron bull in the Santamaria bullfighting plaza. Fortunately, the security guard was distracted.

Perhaps the bull was symbolic. After all, Sunday was election day in Colombia, and from my perspective, lots of the candidates were full of it.

two boys and a bull

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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A Ducky Stop in Santa Fe

While passing thru the economically depressed Santa Fe neighborhood the other day we encountered this feathered individual. Was he a pet? Or heading for someone’s dinner plate. He appeared so at ease that he must have been a long-term resident.

 

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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Street Foods

During our tours, we always visit a traditional market, where we taste a variety of Colombia’s tasty and colorful tropical fruits.

Sometimes, we also stop and try foods on the streets or in parks.

chontaduro

Chontaduro, from the coast, and supposed to be aphrodisiac.

corn mazorca

Corn on the cob, or mazorca, in the Parque Nacional.

guama

Guama, a huge bean. You break it open and eat the sweet white cover on the black beans.

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A Bathroom Full of Books

Besides doing bike tour, we also sell and exchange books, mostly novels, in English, books in bathroom (2)French, Dutch, German and some other languages.

The other day a Dutchwoman who lives in Bogotá and evidently loves to read gave us hundreds of books, mostly novels, in English, Dutch and French. Since we’re still waiting – 7 months and counting – for the water district to come hook our bathroom up to the main pipe under the street,  we’ve stored the books in that unused space. books in bathroom (4)

Feel free to drop by and look over the collection. Books cost a few thousand pesos.

books in bathroom (6)

books in bathroom (3)

Perusing our book collection, guarded over by Parchita.

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A Fire Station Tour

Firefighters consider themselves members of one great global fraternity. And so, after the bike tour the other day I accompanied an Australian firefighter couple up (and up and up) above La Candelaria to the Egipto neighborhood fire station.

Fortunately, the climb was worthwhile, as firefighter Iver Escobar gave us a very complete tour, in a very basic English.

The Australians seemed impressed by the quality and modernity of the Colombians’ equipment, some of which was actually newer than what they used back home. The strategies and arrangements sounded fairly similar. But the Austraians picke up some pointers, such as tying axes and hoes together for more convenient carrying.

Melbournes and Bogotá appear to have similar proportions of firefighters to residents, altho their shift arrangements are different. In at least one way, the Colombians struck me as much more practical: they wash and dry their uniforms in the station, whereas the Australians send them off for washing – meaning that they’re gone for a whole week.

The Egipto station, one of 17 in Bogotá, is unusual in that it is also responsible for firefighting in rural areas east of the city. They helped fight the big fires in the hills two years ago. Escobar pointed out how difficult it was to use helicopters to douse them when the fires generated fierce, hot, swirling winds.

The firefighters are also sometimes called to respond to medical and other emergencies. In these cases, they usually arrive faster than the ambulances, Escobar told us. In a case of municipal disfunction, when the city calls out an ambulance over the radio, other ambulance companies listen to the broadcast and race to the scene – where they sometimes fight over the ‘client,’ obliging the firefighters to referee.

The station has a bunk room, a small basketball court, a TV room, kitchen and exercise machines. It also has a small grotto filled with Catholic saints. Firefighters, like bullfighters, have reason to want God on their side. But the men in Egipto have another motive: Many of the firefighters believe the station is haunted, and some even claim to have seen ghosts there, albeit inoffensive ones. Escobar himself heard a strange voice once late at night.

In fact, the fire station property has an interesting history. More than a half century before, Escobar said, the site held a beer brewery. And, after the 1948 Bogotazo riots, supposedly corpses of the victims were buried here, perhaps explaining the ghosts.

Escobar finished the tour by giving the Australians Bogotá firefighter jerseys – and the Aussies promised to send their own once they return home.

Blog by Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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Riding With The IDT

In recent weeks, Bogotá Bike Tours has done outings with the city’s District Tourism Institute (IDT), designed to show off the mountain biking opportunities surrounding the city.

And Bogotá IS surrounded by beautiful countryside with small colonial towns and dramatic climbs.

 

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A Pause in Simon Bolivar Park

cyclists in parque simon bolivar

On Sundays and holidays, when there’s Ciclovia and nice weather, we sometimes pedal out to Simon Bolivar Park, Bogotá’s largest public park, which has a lake, botanical gardens and other things of interest, as well as just being a pleasant place to hang out in.

Bogota Bike Tours

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