Episode 1: Gateway to South America
In the first episode of the travel documentary series Gone Native, we take a look at what it’s like to live as a foreign expatriate in Bogotá, Colombia. Join us as we explore our neighborhood and visit a local panadería, then take the Transmilenio bus to experience Ciclovía, when every Sunday a bunch of major streets are shut down to cars and opened to bikes, skaters and pedestrians! We will try some street foods like fresh piña (pineapple), mango, and arepuela and take you up Calle 26, or Avenida El Dorado, to Carrera Séptima (Seventh Avenue), see some of the sights and learn a little history. Colombia was the first country to implement ciclovía in cities like Bogotá, Cali and Medellin, and it has since spread all over the world. Even Los Angeles closes their downtown streets once a year for their own ciclovía! Learn more about these unique bicycle and pedestrian routes here:
The peace process in Colombia was a long and arduous road to reaching an agreement with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), and the signing of the accords at the end of 2016 was a landmark moment for the country. Implementation has been imperfect, however, and the current government has been shirking its obligations under the agreement, causing political problems and even some desmovilizados (demobilized militants) to take up arms again. The country continues to experience problems with drug trafficking, paramilitaries, and guerrilla/military violence that keep some areas of the country closed to the outside, but Colombia has opened up dramatically since the bad old days of the 1980s and 1990s. The history of the internal conflict is complex, and goes back all the way to the 1990s, if not the country’s indepence 200 years ago or the Spanish conquista (conquest) itself. You can read more about the peace process and the history of Colombia here:
There’s so much more to see and share with you, so consider this just a taste, an introduction to the country and to expat life here in Bogotá. In the next episodes we will be traveling to the town of Garzón in Huila department, Paloquemao market and Subachoque, Necoclí on the Caribbean coast, and Quibdó deep in the Colombian Chocó. Also you will get to experience what Christmas is like in Colombia and Latin America more generally; if you think we take Christmas seriously in the U.S., then you should see what Colombia gets up to for the holidays!