Juan Andres is waiting for me in the courtyard of my hostel. He is talking to the owners Myriam and Juan while I collect myself. We are going to Monteseratt. We are running on fumes. I really want to go there and he has invited me. The best time to go is early in the morning.
We are taking the transmillineo to Jimenez and then we will change cars to go to Las Aguas. I am still amazed at how generous and nice this man is. I could never imagine a Porteño man this handsome acting this way, not without wanting something in return. I realize that I have lost my Porteño edge. I am no longer looking for all the exits, all the intentions. I just accept things for what they are. This is a nice outing with a very nice person. What a change.
Juan catches me looking at a young woman with her toddler. She is from a lower class. Class is a big thing in Latin America. Not as much in Argentina as it is here. She is all dressed up and her child is immaculate. He is on her lap. Her attention to him is precious. They are obviously going to visit someone on this Sunday morning. She is beautiful. Stunning.
Juan asks me if I like children. I tell him yes. We have wonderful conversations. I am happy to be taken seriously. He is very interesting. I feel very content. I have not felt this good in a long time. Maybe it is not being in pain.
Bogota is an interesting place. It is very clean and modern. With the La Candelaria being the exception, most parts are modern, like any European or American city. For me it is still amazing that toilets flush, that public rest rooms are clean and have toilet paper and paper towels, that people throw their trash in the trash bins on the street.
The people are nice, low key. They are very attentive to detail. Customer service is amazing. At first I would tense when I would have to pay for something with a 20,000 or even a 50,000 peso bill. The clerks say nothing, they just give you the change and thank you. The complete opposite of BsAs where there is no change.
When a seat becomes available Juan insists I take it. "It is a long trip." he tells me. Ordinarily I would just stand with him. But I am tired and agree to sit. He stands next to me. I watch out the window and ask him where we are. He is a great guide. Soon we change cars. Las Aguas is close. We get off the car and start the walk up hill.
I want to die. My purse holds my camera, Red Bull for Juan and a water for me. Plus I am tired. The hill is steep. Finally I turn around and say to him "You take this." He smiles and say "No problema." He takes my purse and puts it around his shoulder. We keep walking up. I ask him "When do we get there?" "Soon." he tells me. I take off my polar and give it to him. "You are my burro." He laughs. I add "And my personal trainer."
Finally we reach the funicular. We pay the 8 pesos for the round trip. We get in the car. As we rise up the hill or mountain, the view is spectacular. Juan puts his arm around me. We have a great view in front. This is as good as Bariloche but different. I am glad that Diego, my ex, recommended that I do this.
We arrive at the top. I am overwhelmed by the view. Juan has me walking up more steps. I am dying. He is probably half my age. Whatever, I could never have done this last month. I am in awe of myself. Part of the problem for me is the altitude. I have been adjusting. I didn't realize that this was the problem with my contacts.
I am snapping fotos like crazy. we walk around the perimeter. It is spectacular. More steps up. By now I am used to it. I have not eaten. This seems to be a common thread for me here. I am not eating. Just some fruit now and then. After awhile we decide to leave. We are both exhausted. We take the car down. The view is amazing. As soon as I have the ability to download my fotos I will set up an album here and in Facebook.
Once back on the ground Juan looks at me. "Let's take a taxi." he says. I agree. I am too tired and tonight I want to dance. Once inside he says to me. "I don't know how much of Bogota you are going to see, so I am going to ask the driver to take a longer route." As we drive back to my hostel, he comments on various buildings. He points to a large white building and tells me proudly "There is IBM, that is where I work."
Soon we are back at my hostel. He gives me a big hug. I thank him for everything. He has been so nice, so generous, so sweet. Happily I go into my hostel and to my room. Tonight will be another adventure, and one of my last in Bogota. For on Tuesday I will go to Armenia.