Short Walks from Bogota – Journeys in the New Colombia by Tom Feiling
This book gives the reader an understanding of the landscape of Colombia in light of the history that shaped both this nation and this people. Tom Feiling covers the distant past as well as the more recent past of a few years ago to place the Colombia of today into perspective.
I am so glad that I read this book. I happened across it while trying to find books about Colombia to ready myself for my move. It was incredibly hard to find anything that did not involve thick history books that had no pertinent information or guidebooks that covered little history to put the country into perspective.
His book covers both in a relatable and readable form. I have put several places he talks about on my list of things to do.
I was raised in New Tribes Mission and grew up in both Bolivia and Venezuela. It was interesting to me that he met people from New Tribes in Colombia and also that they were one of the only missions allowed in this country by the FARC. It made some of the history more interesting to me as he talked about their work and results, as well as where the tribal group is today.
The ease with which he talked to people and they opened up to him encouraged me to be more open and chatty as I navigated the city of Bogota as well. I have been talking to my uber and taxi drivers as well as people that I meet while out and about with great results.
He listed San Gil as a place to visit for extreme sports. I cannot wait to go there and go whitewater rafting! The history around Bucaramanga has encouraged me to put that as well as the Chicamocha Canyon on my list as well. His hints and visits have helped me to make a list of things I plan on doing while in these places.
I love the way that he travels with locals and listens to them to learn about their past. It gives one a more well-rounded view of both the people and the places as one reads his book. Tom’s talks with locals gives a unique insight into their thoughts and feelings as well as their belief systems that influence who the people are and explain who the people elect. (This is particularly poignant to me in light of who my people recently elected!)
I was surprised that Colombians rank as one of the happiest people on the planet in spite of their violent and turbid past and that conversely they are a uniquely untrusting people.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this book and have marked it up and underlined passages to go back to.
Thanks, Tom Feiling for a fascinating and informative read!