A Travellerspoint blog

NSCC in Colombia day 1

rain 14 °C


After the first day in Bogota, Colombia arriving from Guyaquil, Ecuador, i started to notice similarities and differences between the countries even at the airport.

The first thing i noticed: i need a warmer jacket - high up in the Andes (2500 metres +), Bogota is at least 10 degrees cooler that Guayaquil at this time of year and the rain was making it feel even cooler. Yes, it is March and in Halifax there is yet another winter storm that closed NSCC campuses, but still... Also, rainy season in Bogota means you need to bring your umbrella everywhere even if it is sunny when you leave the hotel in the morning.

Second thing I noticed: both Guayaquil and Bogota have new, big, modern airports, which match the growing and expanding economies of the region. But in Bogota, you are likely to bump into Canadians at the airport. Yes, in Ecuador I did spot a few Tilly hats that probably belonged to Canadians. But the Canadians you are likely to find at the airport in Bogota are likely to be oil or mining executives. We ended up talking to an oil guy from Calgary on the shuttle bus who travels here regularly. "Extractive industries" are big business in Colombia and Canadians are involved in a big way - more than half of the international investment in mining in Colombia is Canadian. Gold mining has a long history in Colombia and the Museo del Oro in central Bogota (photo above) has a huge collection of Inca and pre-Inca gold.

Third thing: traffic is bad. It is bad in Guayaquil and bad in Bogota. The city is growing fast (7 million +), and to cope with the number of cars on the road each car has a restriction on days of the week and/or times of day it can be on the road. There are other innovations like a redesigned mass transit system and new bike paths but the traffic jams are just plain bad. One trip across town for a meeting at the Canadian Embassy took one hour one way and 15 minutes on the way back. Crossing the street is also intense!

Fourth thing: the coffee is really GOOD - here in Bogota and in Guayaquil. I work in many countries where the coffee is either non existent or instant and i am an addict, not just to the caffeine but also the taste, so this is fantastic!

Fifth thing: the food is amazing - in Guayaquil and Bogota. Lunch is the big meal in both places and it is totally different from eating a boring sandwich at your desk like many of us do in Canada. A big, long, delicious cultural experience.

Finally: people are friendly - here and in Guayaquil - despite the long hours people work and the traffic which would make me really cranky I think!

- Katie Orr
Director, NSCC International

Posted by NSCC Intl 14:29 Archived in Colombia Tagged canada colombia nova_scotia nscc

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