Unfortunately, in both situations, things are usually a bit gloomy. So it’s critical to always be prepared: lots of layers, an umbrella, and most importantly, a positive attitude.
When I woke up this morning, rays of sunshine peaked through the window. My usual nighttime uniform of flannel pajamas and thermal socks felt unnecessary. (Side note: apartments here don’t come with heat or air conditioning. The average temperature of 55 degrees doesn’t require either.)
Knowing I only had an hour or two to enjoy the balmy weather, I quickly changed into running clothes and headed for a park about a 20-minute walk from my apartment.
When I got to Parque El Virrey, I stopped into Juan Valdez, Colombia’s answer to Starbucks. The next hour was spent watching parents treat their kids to balloons, dogs playing fetch, and women, with full hair and makeup, rollerblading. I sipped my cappuccino and took in my surroundings.
When asked how I like Bogotá, sometimes it’s hard to answer. The language barrier has been difficult. The city is polluted and crowded with buses and taxis. The gap between rich and poor in painfully apparent. But on a day like today, when the sun in shining and I have nothing to do but drink coffee, it’s nice.
My pace quickened, but several blocks later I found myself at a traffic light, next to a woman selling fragrant tiger lilies. She held out a bouquet for me to smell and smiled. She was missing most of her teeth.
I bought the flowers and continued walking. The woman yelled after me in a strained, hoarse voice, and told me to have a wonderful day. I stopped and waved to her, telling her to do the same.
Her hair was already soaked and so were her clothes. But she was still wearing that beautiful, toothless smile.