Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao – Bogotá

The “Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao” is one of the biggest markets in Bogotá. The idea was 43 years ago to combine all markets in one place. Today it is not the only one, but really typical and offers a great diversity of different products. Fish, meat, flowers, handicrafts, all kind of fruits are just some of the products. (Later this week i will write about what I bought). The fish is prepared fresh in front of your eyes. All different kinds of meat are available and are presented in the small corridors. The smell and the noise are from part to part very different on the market. Sometimes it is really loud and sticky, few steps further it is calm and smells like fresh flowers and spicery.

 

Paps  Fruits Fish carne

The market is opened every day from 3 am in the morning till midday. It is recommended to go in the morning about 7 am to experience the living market. Enjoy the negotiations between costumers and retailers and the screaming of the dealers leading attention to their products.

It is disadvised to visit the market on mondays, because there are the least retailers and products. So there are also not many people to enjoy the spectacle.

Lukas

 

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Colombian Fruits – Part 2: La Granadilla

…to continue our little project. Yesterday I tried another fruit. The Granadilla. All the people told me, that I really, really have to try it, because it is so delicious. Well also they told me I just shouldn´t be disgussed by the consistens and appearance by the inside of the fruit . But first let us get some basic information.

The Granadilla belongs to the sort of passionfruits. It grows as lianes. The most common places for cultivation are in South- and Middleamerica as well as in Mexico. The fruit contains a lot of Vitamin C, Calcium and Natrium and has a positiv effect on your blood pressure as well as it calms you down.fruits-colombia-granadilla

If you go to a market you should make sure, that the granadilla is kind of heavy in comparison to its size. Also the fruit skin should be a little shriveled, but without any dent. If the skin is to smooth, it is a sign that the fruit was harvested to early – and that isn´t that good.

So we skip back – why the people tell me not to be disgussed by the consistens. Well the inside of the fruit is green and really slimy with a lot of black pips. So it reminds you of …

But after I tried it, I couldn´t stop anymore. It is really, really delicious!

Enjoy!

 

Lukas

Villa de Leyva

For the weekend I went with 13 friends to a finca close to Villa de Leyva. On friday we left Bogotá about 2 o´clock – after about 8 hours drive we finally arrived. The traffic was really bad. All the traffic jams expanded the duration from about 4 hourse to twice as much time. But in the end we arrived happy and safe at our destination.

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In the night we danced, had nice conversations while drinking the tipical drink here: aguardiente. After a long day we went to our beds to get a good night sleep. On the next day we stood up, had breakfast together and went to a small lake close to the finca just to swim, chat and relax. We headed back for having lunch. Afterwards we went to Villa de Leyva. The ride was about 20 minutes and I really enjoyed it! The environment around you is just beautiful with the huge mountains on the horizon, the interesting landscape and the twisty roads.

Villa de Leyva is a nice, little colonial town. The antique architectur of the houses and the old roads create a romantic atmosphere. The little stores with regional products and small backyards are underlining this in a lovely way. We lingered through the alleys before we stoped at a small café. After spending the afternoon in Villa de Leyva we went back.

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The rest of the day we just relaxed at home. On the next day we went back to Bogotá and this time it was just a 4 hour ride. 🙂

Lukas

Día sin Carro

Bogotá invented the day without cars and motorcycles several years ago. On the 5th of February 1,5 Million cars and 400.000 motorcycles have to stay at home from 5 am in the morning until 7:30 pm in the evening.

You could ask yourself: …and why would a city like Bogotá do something like that? – The answer is quite simple. Pedestrians and cyclists are the most endangered groups who take part of the traffic. In the last 5 years there were more than 26.000 pedestrians injured. Since 2010 even 1300 pedestrians died .

Newspapers give pieces of advice on which factors you should pay attention to, if you haven´t used your bicycle for a longer time – to raise to safety although there are no cars and motorbikes in the street.

A great winner of this day are the Transmilenio and SITP – the two main bussystems. Their numbers of passengers are increasing on this day by 15%.

In my opinion it is a great way of illustrating a different perspective of moving. It is not necessary at all to take always the car or the motorcycle. There are many possibilities which we all can use. Take the bus instead, the bicycle or just go by foot. – But the question here is: Is the communication of this day enough? Do people understand the reason behind it that day? Do they see the importance? And do they start thinking different? Because if their only wish on this day is, to use their own car or motorcycle as fast as possible again- than something about this day doesn´t make sense at all.

What do you think? – Feel free to give your opinion about that day.

Lukas

Sin título

Colombian Fruits – Part 1: The Caribbean Coconut

Colombia is a country with a great variety of fruits. When you walk through a market you will be surprised. There are so many fruits you have never seen before in your life. You do not know, which characteristics they should have to decide, wether they are good or bad, you don´t know how to eat them and of course you have also no idea how they taste like.

Well, for this problem we will start a little guidance for some of the fruits. Every week, I will look up some local fruits, buy them, taste them and will let you know my experience. So if there are any fruits, which aren´t that good you will know, but also, if there are some with an incredible taste, you will know as well and can run to the next store to get some.

Because this is the beginning of this small experiment, we will start with something easy – something probably everyone knows: The Coconut.

A coconut tree gets about 30 meters high. The tight roots make the tree really resistant against strong storms. So the fruits for us are safe – don´t worry.

The coconut itself consists of about 50% water, 1/3 is fat. So pay attention, that you don´t eat too much. But in the right amount the coconut is really healthy. The fat consists of medium-chain triglycerides – the benefit here is, our body uses the energy really fast so it is not stored and doesn´t let us gain more weight.

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Another positive effect: the coconut stimulates the metabolism. Through this, also the thyroid gets a positive effect – especially if there is a dysfunction.

But there is one question left: How do I eat that thing?

Well, you can just through it on the ground of course, but probably that is not certainly the best way. All the water of the coconut is gone and the rest is in the dirt. By the way – the water in the coconut is an indicator how young or fresh a coconut is. So if you buy one, make sure that when you shake it, you can hear some water in there. Otherwise the coconut is try and not delicious.

The other way, more intelligent, is to take a corkscrew and make some holes in the coconut. The “eyes” are the best place for that. Now you can let the water out before you take a hammer to hit the fruit in a circle. After doing that, you can open it and cut the pieces out with a knife.

Enjoy!

 

Lukas

Barranquilla’s Carnival

The “Barranquilla’s Carnival” is one of the biggest events in the world. It starts four days before Ash Wednesday and ends with the burial of “Joselito Carneval”, the symbol of happiness and exuberance, on Tuesday. The following day begins the fasting period. More than one million people visit the festival in Barranquilla, a city located in the Caribbean.

Barranquilla's Carnival

Barranquilla’s Carnival

 

The Carnival combines African, European and native costumes in a wonderful way.  It is a way of disappearance of inhibitions and was invented in 1903 to celebrate the end of the war between the liberal and the conservative party.

 

The festival has become a meeting point of colors, races and legends, which creates a great colorful mixture of people from all over the world, different dances and variety of music. Also the UNESCO declared the carnival as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Cumbia - Barranquilla

Colombian people dancing cumbia

 

Typical dances are the Cumbia and the Garaboto. The Cumbia is a prime example for the merger of native, black and white people. The Garabato symbolizes life and death. Even children know how to dance and to make a good impression. Tourist try find their role in this environment by clapping or moving their bodies as well.

Lukas

General Information –Preparations and Flight

When I booked my flight to Colombia there were still 6 months to go. So the trip seemed really far away. But how we all know, time passes by very fast. Maybe even to fast. In a blink of an eye the day had come, where I had to leave Germany and jump into a new adventure.

Aeroporte
I stood up at 4 in the morning in Germany and went to the train station. Well, I must admit, it was kind of freezing. After checking in without any problems, my plane took off. First stop: Paris. Here I had to change my flight, which should bring me to Colombia – Bogotá. At the airport in Paris I had some time before my plane left. So I relaxed a little, had a coffee and started to read my new book.

Finally – Boarding time. The plane started towards Bogotá, which took more or less like 11 hours. Well, with movies, some reading and learning Spanish vocabulary 11 hours are not too long.

After arriving, the family where I am staying, picked me up. When we left the airport it was about 22 degrees. What a wonderful difference to Germany in January! The ride to the apartment of the family took about 1 hour. So, after a long journey I was finally in my new home.

First Impressions

Bogota

Bus
Well, I have to admit, I come from a very small village in Germany. So it is always a huge difference for me, when I visit a major city like Bogotá. The cars, the noise, all the people in the streets – amazing! But the problem in Bogotá is, so I was told: there are way too many cars and a not adequate system for that. There is also no subway system. But there is the “Trans-Milenio”. This is a bus system with their own lanes. It works pretty much like a subway just above ground. Anyway, there are a lot of traffic-jams. So be patient.

People
The family where I am living welcomed me with open hearts. Sometimes I ask myself, if the family is more thankful to have me than I am, having the chance to stay with them. Really kind people. They are also interested in you and your heritage and try to talk some words in your language. Local food, drinks, dances – they are always happy to show you some typical things. Be open to appreciate them.

Work

New workplace. New people. New tasks. You could get nervous. But I always try to see it from another angle. Don´t be afraid of all these new things. See it as a chance to have a new beginning. A chance to learn new things, to get to know new people and new points of view. It is a step forward. Take it right.
And all my new colleagues gave me a wonderful start. They are open, happy and friendly. They showed me the first basic things and gave me small tasks. After my first day I didn´t really had a clue to get home with the bus. One of my new colleagues showed me the bus station and even showed me where I have to exit. Can you have a better start?

Lukas