Thunderstorms, Protests, and many, many Colombian Cats
I cannot actually believe that as I write this, I am halfway through my fourth month in Colombia, and actually, unlike Warwick’s 10 week semester, nearly finished my placement here in Bogotá. So even though a few weeks have passed since my last update from Cartagena, I thought I would share with you all how I have spent the last three weeks in Bogotá, before I have an exciting visit from my Family next week.
Taken outside where I do volunteering- Bogotá, in the sunshine, you are fab!
This is actually quite noteworthy, given we are now in the rainy season in Bogot, which is set to last until November, meaning every day, in between the usual drizzle, we are treated to a pretty incredible thunderstorm. Yes, I love a good thunderstorm when I am inside and dry, however, given I basically walk everywhere here, MY SHOES ARE RUINED.
Bogotá took a political turn this week, when the Government released it’s new budget which put several public universities at financial risk, in return for more money to be spent on the civil war with FARC.
On Wednesday, several thousand students from all of the capital’s universities marched in protest against this, along one of the most important roads in Bogotá, right up to the main square and parliament.
Whilst it’s pretty uncertain what will happen in the future, the Government has now allocated an extra 500 million pesos to the education budget in response to the protest. However, this has not been enough to stop several public universities from going into a strike, out of fear of future financial instability and possible closure. My university is private, therefore even though plenty of us took part in the march, we still have lectures and a functioning faculty. Yet, for many of the country’s students, including a few of my housemates, this semester could already be over…
¡Resistencia! ¡Resistencia! ¡Resistencia!
However, it hasn’t all been politics, as this month has also seen me go on the radio! Yes, in Spanish, but not live- I’m not quite confident enough for that yet. Every year Javeriana (my university) chooses a country to celebrate culturally for a week, for whatever reason, this year they have decided to honour the United Kingdom, meaning myself and Alison, my fellow Hispanic Studies student, were interviewed on the cultural differences between Colombia and the UK for the university radio station.
I can’t say I’m massively looking forward to hearing the end result, mainly becuase I seem to have spoken about my love for Baked Beans (seriously, you cannot get them over here and it has been 3.5 months) for practically the whole 10-minute interview, but it made for a very exciting Wednesday nevertheless.
That Wednesday also brought another surprise, however, this time, a rather furry, cute one, which caused me to wake up the whole house by screaming.
That Wednesday also brought another surprise, however, this time, a rather furry, cute one, which caused to wake up my whole house with my screaming.
Yes, as I went for a morning shower, I was greeted by a very large, ginger stray, causing a whole symphony of swear words and screaming in the house, until we were eventually able to coax him out.
Anyone who knows me knows I am a total dog person, however, it seems within two weeks of the “cat” incident, I found myself waiting outside Bogotá’s one and only cat cafe like a child on Christmas.
Look at how much joy!
Located pretty near to my house, and boasting a delicious menu of good, Gatos y Blues made for one of the weirder outings I have done here. After a quick lunch, I was able to spend half an hour in “Gatolandia” or Catland, hugging about 20 cats and kittens. I may have left there smelling slightly like a litter tray, but they were so cute.
On a serious note, why are Dog Cafes not a thing?
Anyway, in between all these feline experiences, I also used some of my free time to explore a little more of the capital, particularly the touristy parts I haven’t been to yet. On top of the list was the Botero Museum, a modern art gallery with a collection of Fernando Botero’s rather amusing paintings, as well as other work by Picasso, Dali, Giacometti, and Miró.
Sadly, there were very few dogs in Botero’s work, let alone a full on painting, and even though there were plenty of cats, this wonderful horse was my absolute fave!
Born in Medellín, Botero is famous for his paintings and sculptures which show humans and animals in large, exaggerated bodies.
Even the Mona Lisa got the Botero treatment!
Whilst I still haven’t ticked off quite everything on my “things to do in Bogotá” list- I’m looking at you Museo Nacional- I still have at least another month to visit it all. However, before all that, as I said at the beginning of this blog, next week my mum and brother are visiting me for 10 days, and we have quite a few trips planned which will be incredible…
Until then, chao!