Thursday, November 5, 2009


Thursday evenings the shopping malls stay open until about 9 pm so Felipe and I returned to Andino Mall in Zona Rosa for a quick dinner in the food court and some shopping.

Ever since a visit to Peru, I've come to realize that chicken tastes a lot better outside of the U.S. Far more flavor and juicier, especially the chicken breasts. So I try to eat it when I can. Tonight's dinner was in the food court at the mall at Kokoriko. The Komby Asado plate has beans (basically a chili) and rice, grilled chicken and the ever-present arepa.

I bought a purse at Boots and Bags and coffee and souvenirs at the Juan Valdez Cafe. It was another night of no security escort, just a taxi hired for the night. Perfect!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Security and dinner

Day 1 is almost over. I spent most of it in the office at my computer or interviewing people in the office. I didn't even get a chance to go out for lunch, but opted to work while eating a salad (chicken, lettuce, zucchini and tomatoes in an Asian sesame seed dressing - yummy!). At least the view from the office window was pretty. I watched the clouds roll in and out throughout the day. Quite a pleasant sight.

The view from my hotel is also lovely. One was taken in the morning and the other at sunset.

Two motorcycles escorted me to work this morning. The best thing about them is that they can stop traffic and let us through in areas where merging can be a problem. It's a quick 10 minute drive to the office. Badging into the office is interesting. At the building entrance my bags are searched and I have to go through a metal detector. Then I go to the Administration window and exchange my company badge for a building badge. This gets me through the security gate to the elevator and I "register" that I am bringing a computer. When we arrive at the company's floor I exchange the building badge for a visitor's badge for the floor. The whole process is reversed in the evening.

Amazingly enough I had no bodyguards or escorts when I went to dinner with a friend (Felipe) of a friend (Michelle). Instead, my guard hired a taxi for the evening. Our driver waited for us while we ate and arrived promptly after we called (using a cell phone from a street corner "business" selling cheap minutes on his 3 phones...the modern day pay phone!).
Felipe and I hit Andre's Carne de Res for a steak. They're most famous for their original restaurant in the Chia, which Felipe says is far from Bogota. The one in Bogota is in Zona Rosa, which is a popular shopping and dining area. The restaurant is designed very industrial with lots of steel, grating and multiple levels with half-levels which overlook the level below. Their logo has a heart so red is used a lot. The pottery is all hand made and decorated (and is available for purchase). Lots of very interesting decor, a band on the first level (with dance floor), bar, fireplace, etc. Here are some photos of the food, which was delicious!

My rib eye steak with arepa (corn cake) and baked tomato stuffed with mashed potatoes. Me and my bib (they place them on us). The jug on the left corner is for my glass of Malbec. And Felipe and his steak.

Getting the bill was actually fun! It came in this MasterCard box. Inside was a flashlight, magnifying glass (is this a hint?!), pen, candy, customer comment card, and the bill inside the large envelope. Totally cool packaging!

We culminated the evening by stopping at the Hard Rock Cafe to pick up a coffee mug for me and a key chain for a colleague at work who collects them. Quite a novelty since not many visitors come to Bogota from the U.S. We saw a pair of Shakira's pants - they're tiny and she's very short! Darn....wish I took a photo of it! Oh well!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hola Bogota!

I arrived this evening after a 4.5 hour flight from Atlanta. The woman next to me is Colombian married to an American and lives in Atlanta. She's an immigration attorney who has her own practice and her hubby works for Delta so she flies home as often as she can to visit her family. We got along great and I have her email address and phone number in case I need a dinner or shopping companion.

Security is pretty tight for foreign visitors here. I had a bodyguard/driver and 3 police escorts on two motorcycles for the drive to the hotel. This will be my security team while I'm in Bogota. It may seem like overkill, but my family and boyfriend appreciates it.

Calling it a night....exhausted and I have a busy day ahead of me.