South America Day 1 and 2
One of my biggest concerns when travelling solo was making friends. Thankfully, living in a hostel made this easy. Hostels attract many backpackers that are also travelling solo and are usually friendly and open to friends. The hostel I’m currently at also has many activites and tours to choose from.
On the first day of my stay, I striked up a conversation with Kody from the Bahamas over breakfast. It was also his first time visiting Latin America and his first day in Bogotá. We hit it off immediately and explored the immediate area picking up a few essentials like toothpaste and SIM cards along the way.
We both signed for a food tour at the hostel and had a wonderful time. We met other travellers like Marcel from Germany who travelled to over 50 countries, and Trish and Ryan from Brooklyn who are visiting Colombia to play in a professional ultimate frisbee tournament. We tried everything from Colombian chocolate, ceviche, rice tamales, coca tea, and my favourite ajiaco. It was a fantastic way to learn about Colombia through its food and make a few friends too.
After the food tour, Kody, Marcel, Ryan, Trish, and I had some beer at a local bar and ended off with Arepas to wrap up the night.
My second day, I was fortunate enough to celebrate my 25th birthday in Bogotá. Kody, Marcel, and I woke up early to hike up Mount Montserrate, a small mountain in Bogotá with a cathedral perched at the peak with a beautiful view of the city.
Afterwards, we got a delicious lunch at one of the oldest plazas in Bogotá for only 3USD. Unfortunately, Marcel had a flight to catch at 1pm. Even though I’ve known Marcel for less than 24 hours I felt like I’ve known him for much longer. But that’s the nature of solo travel. You make friends, make memories, and then part ways shortly after.
Later at the hostel, Kody and Chiara, a new travel friend from Germany, found out it was my birthday and we started drinking beers early in the afternoon in celebration. While we were drinking, a tour guide named Lorenzo told us about a football game happening later in the day. I’m not a fan of football nor have I watched a game live before. I thought it was an absurb way to spend my birthday. So we all signed up.
The football game was a wonderfully chaotic trip. Our tour guide, Lorenzo, was this funny, disorganized, but loveable man that sold cannabis on the side. Lorenzo booked a van to take us from the hostel to the stadium but the van didn’t show up so he asked us if we can call some Ubers and he’d reimburse us. One of the cars was a five seater compact hatchback but we had six people so four of us squish at the back. Lorenzo’s phone then died so he sent an email of the tickets to my friend’s phone. Lorenzo also forgot his ID for the entrance so he borrowed someone’s phone and asked his dad to meet him and bring his ID outside the stadium.
The scene outside the stadium was complete pandemonium. There were hordes of rowdy people and street vendors around the stadium. When the game started, there were people jumping the barricades and running towards the stadium entrances.
We managed to get inside the stadium and had seats close to the pitch. For the duration of the game, no one sat, everyone stood, the fans were chanting non-stop in unison while jumping up and down in their seats. When the home team scored, the crowd went berserk. I’ve watched North American sports before but the energy of a South American football game is unmatched. I had no idea who the teams were and if this was an important game or not. Nonetheless, I had a fantastic experience watching my first football game live.
I really couldn’t ask for a better way to celebrate my birthday.
What a way to celebrate my 25th birthday.