When I was a child, Colombian and Latin American soap operas used to be a big hit on TV. Every afternoon, my mother used to switch from a series to another and made sure not to skip a scene. This made me very curious about knowing what really Colombia and Bogota are about.
If we go back to the early 1900s to the area now called Lebanon, a lot of Lebanese citizens left the country to Colombia and Latin America back in the Ottoman rule. If I was this tired from the long flight to Bogota, I can’t imagine how my ancestors were feeling after getting off the boats.
The purpose of my visit is to offer telecom services to AngloGold.
Arrival to Bogota
I was struck by Bogota’s beauty from the air and also when traveling in its streets. I loved the place. People are very friendly and helpful. For example, I can talk about what happened when I was buying a sim card for my phone. The lady selling the sim card only spoke Spanish and I did not, but she would not let me go until she understood what I wanted, and it was not for making a few cents out of the sell. In spite of being a modern metropolitan area, its people did not change to being uncaring and rude to visitors and to each other. From what I experienced, hospitality is paramount. Unfortunately, I was able to only take a few pictures because my stay was brief.
On the next day, I had to take a flight to Ibagué and spend the night there. My destination was the exploration area in La Colosa. After spending the night in humid Ibagué, I left for Cajamarca. On the way up from Ibagué, you can feel that at a point you passed over the humid cloud covering the area below. I felt the temperature dropping suddenly. After a few minutes, we arrived at Cajamarca and I directly notices a beautiful and typical Latin American church. I was greeted by the friendly staff of AngloGold and they provided me with the necessary information of what to do in case we were attacked by FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
My stay in La Colosa was a nice experience. The compound is built on the slopes of the mountain in a way that does not harm the greenery. The roads on where I can walk were clearly marked. Furthermore, the buildings were built in an eco-friendly manner. I was given a comfortable room to spend the night before completing my tasks on the following day.
All things considered, the memories that I remember most from La Colosa are the mountains, greenery, and the view of the clouds creeping upwards towards the peaks. Equally important is the sound of the wind and trees which add to the mysterious aura that this place carries. After leaving La Colosa to Bogota, I caught a flight to Medellin on the following day.
Gramalote and Medellin
Before visiting Medellin, I never knew who Pablo Escobar was. My companions who were riding with me to Gramalote made sure that I had a quick introduction to him. I only passed through Medellin and did not stay there much. For the most part, it was a well organized, modern, and clean city. I was also told that Medellin has the most beautiful girls in South America.
Upon my arrival to the site in Gramalote, I saw that all the workers were being tested for alcohol or drug use, and I had to take the test as well. After completing the test, I was introduced to the people responsible for the services that I was about to offer. In a likely manner as in La Colosa, safety precautions were strict. My tools were all checked and marked. Additionally, I was given the right gear to wear so that I am allowed to work in the compound. It was a well-organized place and everyone was friendly. As a matter of fact, I am still in contact with some friends that I met in Gramalote until today. After the completion of my job, I had to go back to Bogota and catch a plane back to Beirut.
Some Facts that Learned about Colombia
- Colombia is connected to the Caribbean sea and Pacific Ocean
- Tropical, desert, and snowy climates are present
- The country is tourist friendly
- Hotel and taxi prices are acceptable
- A huge part of the population does not speak English
- From where I visited, I saw that the country is clean, safe, and well organized
- Do not forget to buy Colombian coffee