Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Culture Alley - Colombia

Today, Colombia celebrated the 200 year anniversary of its declaration of independence from Spain. Along with at least 100,000 bogotanos, we took in a free daytime concert in the heart of Bogota's largest public park, complete with speeches from the current (and incoming) President and preceded by an impressive Air Force demonstration. Being amongst the people for the bicentennial was an experience that we will always remember. The people here have an energy unlike any I've ever known and it was amazing to feel their excitement and pride for their country and its progress on this national holiday (and to watch persons young and old dance and sing along to every song). In total, we counted four other gringos all afternoon, ironically enough all hanging out by the hot dog stands outside the amphitheatre. The only negative? There were rumblings that Shakira was going to make a surprise appearance, but she didn't show at our concert and I was unable to confirm the truthiness of her hips.

On Monday afternoon, we hit up the FREE Botero Museum in La Candelaria (Fernando Botero is likely Colombia's most famous artist). The museum itself is modern and unpretentious, includes works by Picasso, Renoir and Monet, and was FREE. Despite the lofty company, we particularly enjoyed Botero's work. As the pictures indicate, Botero sees the world in kind of a reverse Shallow Hal way (editor's note: I didn't actually see that movie, so I can't be certain that the analogy holds. If it does, great. If it doesn't, I can still sleep easy knowing I didn't waste my money watching it). In fact, I was sufficiently impressed that I felt it warranted altering the list of my all-time favourite foreign museum experiences to something like this:
  1. Van Gogh Museum - Amsterdam
  2. Botero Museum - Bogota
  3. The Louvre - Paris
  4. Picasso Museum - Barcelona
  5. through 20'ish - expensive European museums that feature religious paintings based on bible stories I don't know

Finally, some quick hits:

Caught the beginning of the regional ESPN Sportscenter broadcast this weekend. I was shocked to see the show lead off with highlights of Women's International Field Hockey over the British Open, Tour de France and about 200 local soccer games that people really seem to care about around here. I love field hockey as much as the next guy, but ......

We are still liking the food here, but it doesn't seem to be liking us as much - Kristin and I each had our first South American gastrointestinal anomalies this weekend. I trust they will be the last.

We added some more pictures from and around Bogota. Check them out here. I think the blog should start picking up steam towards the end of the month as we leave Bogota and start moving around. Check back for updates.


  1. Kev,

    Keep up the good work on the blog and stay away from the chunchullo.

    Just writing now because, given your synopsis of what they covered on the Sportscenter broadcast that you saw, you probably didn't hear that Lou Brown, former manager of the Cleveland Indians in Major League passed away earlier this week (http://www.backstage.com/bso/content_display/news-and-features/e3ied526ffc296810ce85ede7c52e8e0066). I thought you'd like to know. Maybe he made of mistake of following his own advice and he got in front of the ball instead of giving it that "olé" bullshit. No word if it was a heaaaarrrrrrt atttttttack.

  2. Jim, that horrible news was softened only by your outstanding post, but I'd like to remind you that this is a family blog. I asked myself WWLD (What Would Lou Do?) in such a situation and, it seems to me, that what was good for Willie Mays Hayes should be good emough for you. As such, I demand 50 push-ups from you every time you swear on my blog.

  3. Where is the "Like" button? Oh, this isn't facebook? Nice blog! We are really "Liking" it. Looking forward to the pictures and your future adventures. Love to you both!

  4. Thanks - new pictures have now been posted.

  5. Hello K-LONGS!

    Keep up the good blogging! Im living vicariously through your posts...except I'll draw the line at the gastro issues...!

    The Picasso museum in Barcelona is my fav museum by far and the absolute worst for hype vs. interest was the Ufizzi in Florence.....

    Have fun! Stay safe!

  6. Renee! Good call on the museums - Picasso in Barcelona could easily have gone third. Hope you guys had a blast in Comox. Kevin Q would have been in heaven if he could have seen all the military hardware we got to play with today (will post pics soon). Keep in touch and thanks for writing.