(Big ole plastic Christmas tree in Plaza Bolivar
Our new year's eve was much more exciting than I had expected. We started the night on a walk down 7th street, covered with lite up flowers and vendors selling cotton candy and roasted corn. Along with all sorts of Colombian couples and families we walked all the way to the city center where the tallest building in Bogota was lit with waving rainbow bulbs. People were selling beer,street food and glow sticks. I asked a police man (note: Bogota is swarming with police) what the drinking in public laws were. He laughed at me at first but then explained that you can walk with an open beverage in you hand but you can't sit down and drink. No wonder he laughed. That's one of the most ambiguous laws I've ever heard of. "Sorry officer I'm not really sitting drinking, I'm just resting for a moment on my 9 o'clock beer jog.
Supposedly you can just pay the police to leave you alone. Of course there is good and bad that comes with authority. We have only encountered good police here, one gave us a handful of grapes after the countdown. Tradition has it that you eat something like 12 grapes and for each one you eat you make a wish for the new year. I only ate three grapes, we all had to share the handful.
Jameson and I ended up drinking a bottle of wine (secretly because we were sitting) in a park hillside full of christmas lights formed in the shapes of squirrels, mushrooms, elves and all other kinds of trippy stuff.
The hill overlooked a big public concert stage. At 12am fireworks burst out the top of the large rainbow building and the band played the Colombian national anthem.
We made some friends in the park. A Spanish-Colombian couple who insisted on walking us home to make sure we arrived safely to our hostel. It seems like the older people in the city are still very wary of the places dangerous past. Younger people shrug off questions like "can we go out after dark if there are only two of us?" They say "yes, of course!" This older couple we met was not so. They ended up freaking me out a bit with stories of mugging. Things get in your head after someone says it a few times. But two of my three grape wishes were that we would stay safe during our stay here.
Our new friends ended up taking us out to a little cuban hole in the wall bar where we drank two bottles of the anis flavored liquor which everyone drinks here. The wife, Raquel showed me how to shuffle around seductively to cuban music. She also taught Jameson how to dance with his hips. Then he showed her how to dance with everything but your hips.
It was a good night. It's Jan.1, 9:30pm and people everywhere are still setting off fireworks, getting drunk, and eating meat on sticks.