Today was fairly easy – we had a safety meeting – my only complaint was that it made the already nervous type more scared. I feel like they do need to cover the topic, particularly for those who have not traveled before – or gone to poorer countries or large cities. There are basic steps that one adheres to in densely populated areas – they are a matter of course. I also understand that we need to be vigilant and stay vigilant as we tend to relax after a time. But their presentation terrified one of my roommates and she would not even take a cab!
Here they have a saying called ‘dar papaya’. Which basically means – don’t be a stooge. Don’t show people that you have anything worth stealing. It is hard for people like me who are so very white as we give our ethnicity away without saying a word and become a natural target!!
The most scary thing they talked about was this dust and can be blown in your face and then you become suggestible and allow the people do control you and they can take you to the bank to get all your money or to your apartment and they can take all your things. When you wake the next day – you have nothing and what’s worse you remember nothing of the night before. I had never heard of it before.
Today we got a lot of things done for living in this country. We got our bankcards and bank account signed up so that we can have our stipend direct deposited into our account. We got our health account signed up for and we got our blood tested, as the government needs to know our blood type for the national registry. I was a bit nervous about that – and felt it was completely unnecessary, as I know my blood type. I was struck by the number of people who did not know their blood type at all. The health system here is called Eps and is very comprehensive. I was impressed with the fact that we are going to be covered by it. It is super cheap to see a doctor, dentist, eye doctor, etc. Of course there is a waiting time for an appointment – but wow!
I had a short break during the afternoon and went across the street to a coffee chain here called ‘Oma’ use the internet and continue to try to find an apartment for the next week and following months. The internet at the hotel does not work well at all. Oma has great coffee and service. They also are a restaurant with decent food and drinks.
By the time I finished everything – we still had some time before dinner – so I went exploring with one of my roommates – it was a lot of fun. We spent a lot of time getting to know the neighborhood and stretch our legs. I do love the walkability of Bogota – I really missed that living in the states.
This evening we went across the street to a brewery called ‘Beer’ and had some beer (their ipa was amazing!) and hung out with a few other people – it was fun to relax and laugh. I played Foosball with one of my roommates and she beat me mercilessly!!