Friday, June 06, 2008
Bucaramunga - the Last Stop
Our last stop in Colombia was Bucaramunga to visit relatives and celebrate Christmas. Bucaramunga is on the edge of the Andes (below), and it very lush. It is not as big as Bogota, and not as old and quaint at Cartagena.
Bucaramunga is a cosmopolitan city with LOTS of traffic. I forgot to mention that in Colombia the traffie is fierce. Pedistrians have no right of way. I was nearly run down my a bus in Bucaramunga on Christmas Eve. I was crossing the street (in the cross walk, at a light). Two or three lanes of traffic started to make a left turn toward me. I turned sideways between a car and a bus in order to avoid getting hit. I could see Jorge on the median looking upward and crossing himself. I guess it worked; the bus driver decided not to hit me and stopped so I cross!!!!
We had an absolutely wild Christmas Eve shopping trip to a large, multi-story, open-air mall. We went to structure that looked like a parking garage. It had 5 or 6 stories filled with hundreds of little shops. Each floor had something different-- shoes, clothes, luggage and leather, toys, etc. The corridors were PACKED shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of people buying last minutes gifts. It was extreme shopping for sure. I bought a great pair of salsa shoes.
One day we took a drive up into the mountains. The Andes were magnificent. I've been to the Great Smokies, the Colorado Rockies, Mount Graham (10,000 ft), and many other mountain ranges in Arizona, but somehow the Andes seemed more impressive than any of them.