Monday, March 22, 2010

PRIMERO DE MAYO Bogota, Colombia

In my opinion there are different types of travelling. You have what I like to call surface travelling where you go to a country see the touristic attractions, stay in either hotels or hostels learn a little about the country but you have minimal contact with the local people. You just meet other travellers. You just experience a sight and not a place. The other kind of travel which I prefer is where you get under the skin of the country and really see how it ticks. It’s easier if you know the local language to be able to have this experience but there are other ways you can get behind the scenes for example couch surfing( surfing is a site where you can stay with someone in their house from another country. It’s free to join and it’s a great cultural exchange.

I love being in a place and seeing or experiencing something a normal tourist wouldn’t experience. I had one such opportunity when I was in Bogota staying with my friend. I went with him to the birthday party of one of his very good friend’s. The party kicked off during the day where the whole group went house back riding. We met up with them later at a place up on the hillside in Bogota called El Timbor. It was a restaurant and bar that seemed more like a ranch. We sat on logs around a huge bonfire, eating a basket of meat with salsa music warming up the cool Bogota night.

We were having a lot of fun dancing and drinking around the fire when one of the guys, the ring leader of the group, came up with the proposal to go to Primero de Mayo to party. I had no idea what he was talking about and was up for anything as I always am. Apparently it’s quite a rough area of Bogota, where the working class party. It’s a whole district of bars where the clubs are open until 6:00am, there is no cover and the drinks are cheap. Some of the group was very hesitant as they are all from an area of Bogota that is well off and Primero de Mayo was a lot seedier back in the day. We had a rented van for the night so we didn’t need to worry about a shady cab driver and there was a large group of us so it was the best opportunity to check this party out.

There were about 12 of us that piled in the van and braced ourselves for what laid ahead. We got dropped off around the corner from the main drag and when we walked around the scene rushed up and smacked us on the faces. I felt like I was on Khao San Road in Bangkok, it was complete madness and wonderful. People flooded the streets, girls in mini skirts were selling meat on sticks with the condiments strapped to their waists on a belt. People were trying to get you into their club while music blared out of another. The entrance of one had girls with long legs and very small catholic school girl uniforms. I was enjoying the chaoticness of it all. A smile lit up my face, this is it, this is Colombia. My Colombian friends were being a bit cautious, afraid someone would discover they were from the wrong part of town and start something, I on the other hand am used to this kind of scene in other countries and was two seconds away from climbing up on the bar and letting loose my best reggeaton moves.

After a bottle of Aguardiente (Colombia's national anise alcohol) and taking it all in everyone relaxed and the party really began. The best thing about the area is the opportunity to cub hop. There are no cover charges so you can go from club to club until the late hours of the morning. Colombians really know how to party but the working class of the country puts the rest to shame.

I was teased a bit in high school about my dancing. A motivational speaker came to our school to talk about some issues about being a teenager and high school life. They always have some sort of moral message which I have no idea what it was about. What I do remember was him making fun of the way high school girls’ dance and afterwards several people from my class came up to me and said they thought of me when he was speaking. Well I have found where I fit in and that is on a table dancing reggaeton to Daddy Yankee.

For those of you who aren’t in the know this is reggaeton:

It was another night I did not want to end in Colombia and I got that real authentic experience that most other touritcs do not get.

1 comment:

  1. Haha, great article! Just what I was looking for to read about Colombia :)


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