We had a great time in Bogotá last week. Even though it was a long day of traveling to get there, there was only one hour of time difference so we didn’t have to deal with jet lag. The temperature and weather are perpetual spring, so even at the high altitude, the weather was balmy. Altitude sickness at 8600 feet, on the other hand, was a real danger. I felt normal until I tried to walk up stairs or whistle (in the Muhly). Then I felt like I was having an asthma attack.
Our first day was free, so we were treated to a private guided tour of the Museo del Oro, or the Gold Museum. Though the collection is overwhelmingly about metalworking and gold artifacts, there’s plenty of stone and other specimens. Our tour guide, Angela, was knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and curated an hour-long experience focused on the highlights of the museum. We could have easily spent several hours lost in the many rooms of the collection, but we were grateful for her expertise and delighted by her explanations of the ancient cultures. She particularly emphasized in hilarious fashion the “maleness” and “femaleness” of the poporos and its accompanying sticks. The lime “fertilizes” the coca, and so the stick goes into the poporo…did we get it? Um, yes, we got it.
After getting some very cute cappuccinos at the Museum cafe, Michael, Lisa, Doug and I climbed the mountain and rode the teleférico (cable car) all the way up to Montserrate while intrepid Nick went on a five-hour long bike tour of the city. We took in the breathtaking view of Bogotá from 10,000 feet, then treated ourselves to a lovely lunch. We had delicious bowls of ajiaco, complete with a strange utensil that we learned is meant to hold the corn cob that comes with the stew. We made our way back down the mountain, did some interviews with local journalists, and had just enough time to take a catnap before heading out to dinner at the presenter, Mauricio Pena’s, home. We were treated to ajiaco again, and we all agreed it was better at his house.
Our concert was the next day at the Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango. The hall was absolutely stunning: lush red carpet, luxe black leather seating, a circular dome ceiling, and a generously reverberant sound. The backstage halls were especially entertaining to peruse because they were covered with publicity photos of all the groups and soloists that have played in the hall. In our dressing room we found a curious fruit, granadilla, that was like a snotty, sweeter version of passion fruit. Lisa was especially enamored of it, and took at least four of them with her to eat on the plane the next day. The audience was very quiet and serious during the concert, and we wondered what they were thinking. But at the end, the applause was wild and genuinely enthusiastic – I think it’s the most curtain calls we’ve ever had.