At the end of a rather hectic week in and around Bogota, I have a few moments free in the El Dorado airport lounge, time to reflect on the new friends and colleagues that I have met here.
Yesterday (Saturday) was mostly a touristic day, with a trip out to the little town of Guatavita, and thereafter a drive and walk up to the Laguna del Cacique Guatavita, where the Muisco leader (from before the days of Spanish conquest) would perform a ritual "penetration" of the lake waters (considered to be female), covered in resin, honey and gold dust (considered to be the "seed of the sun"). It was quite a hike, not over particularly challenging paths, but up to an altitude of 3,100m above sea level. I have to admit I was wheezing a bit, but the view and the experience was certainly worth it! The picture shows (left to right) Robert Moran, Robert Goodland, Jan Wybe Oosterkamp, and myself.
After this visit, we descended and drove to an old underground salt mine, parts of which are in use as a church for special occasions. We then drove back in the direction of Bogota, and had a very nice barbeque hosted by Mrs. Sandra Morelli, the Contralora (Comproller General) of Colombia. Her house overlooks a lake and we were joined there by a number of her colleagues from the Contraloria. The discussion was very good and I am impressed by the commitment of Mrs. Morelli and her colleagues to help ensure that mining in Colombia should follow clear rules and regulations, and should be subject to various control measures and inspections.
This morning our translator Jan Wybe Oosterkamp collected me from my hotel and we took a walk through Bogota towards the bottom end of the Funicular railway up to Monseratte, a point on the mountain overlooking the massive city. We were joined by his wife and two young boys and took the ride to the top. This area was quite full with many visitors, but still provided an excellent view over the city and the mountains. Such a pleasant day, such nice people.
Now that the week is just about over, I do hope that we will all meet again, soon, and that I can add the friendships made, to my growing collection of friends from all over the world.