The Flora and Fauna of San Andres, Colombia

Blue sea and palm trees.
Blue sea and palm trees.

Everyone told me to go to San Andres. So I did.

Waiting for the tourists.
Waiting for the tourists.

San Andres is nice and has all the usual activities of a sun and sand vacation. Plus, San Andres has some decent restaurants and lots of duty-free shopping.

The walk along the beach.
The walk along the beach.

The only thing that I didn’t notice were too many spas. There was a spa on the beach. But as they appeared to be the only game in town, they only had 30 minutes massages available. They only had one massage table and it was separated from the public by a bamboo bead curtain (which was never closed). The main “spa” activity in the hut seemed to be the fish foot spa. Even with a reservation, we did not manage to get a spa treatment on the beach. We did find a hair salon that also had massages and manicures and pedicures.

There are seven colors in San Andres, starting with sand.
There are seven colors in San Andres, starting with sand.

Apparently, the smaller (less crowded) Providencia is much nicer than San Andres. Perhaps another time.

Asian Vegetables in Bogota

Marinated perilla leaves.
Marinated perilla leaves.

The Chinese porcelain cat with the waving paw is the give-away. In the U.S., it’s called “napa cabbage” but in Bogota, it’s called “Chinese cabbage.”  Whatever it’s called, it’s almost impossible to find in Bogota, I guess because it’s not a normal part of the diet here.

Kimchi in the making, raw napa cabbage.
Kimchi in the making, raw napa cabbage.

I went on the hunt. I’m not sure if it’s my imagination but I feel like in the months that I’ve lived in Bogota, more and more grocery stores are offering “Asian” vegetables like napa cabbage, daikon, and leafy greens other than spinach. But, in most of the stores, the Asian vegetables are droopy and expensive (whenever I buy bok choy in the market, it’s never the tiny ones served to me at Gran China but I guess they, as a restaurant, get preference). It’s better to go to Paloquemao. In particular, “Peter’s Fruits and Vegetables – Chinese Products Available” which I call “Peter’s Chinese Vegetable” just because I think it would sound better. There are quite a few stands in the same area of the market selling asparagus, giant daikon, arugula, chives, and leafy greens.The last time I went, I bought two large backpacks worth of vegetables and it cost me 24,000 pesos (about $11). There is a separate lady who sells nothing by chiles. The other “Asian vegetable” which is hard to find even in the U.S., is perilla leaf. Maki Roll on Carrera 11 sells that.

Japanese-Korean seafood pancake with long green onion-chive vegetables.
Japanese-Korean seafood pancake with long green onion-chive vegetables.

As an aside, Peter’s also sells sweet potato (yams to Americans and “Peruvian camote” here — a sweet potato with an orange color, used in Peruvian ceviche and North American food) and kale. Some of the vendors even use the English words and if they see a foreigner, they’ll call out “kale” or “sweet potato” to attract customers.

120 Kilometers of Ciclovia

I did it! 120 kilometers of Bogota’s Ciclovia. Okay, almost all of it. The city continues to change the map. So I did what I could on the 2015 map.

The end, the end, the end, the end.
The end, the end, the end, the end.

Sometimes, I’d get to a part that seemed like a simple “stay straight” and follow the signs. Not so. I would get to a part of the marked route, and then nothing. The route would simply end like an appendix (in the body; not in a book). No real purpose (why do we have one?) and no reason for it to end. I’d go down and suddenly it would end. Then I’d have to turn around and go back on the same route I’d just biked down.

Stop.
Stop.

Having now spent many days on Ciclovia, I have three wishes:

  1. Provide toilets
  2. Provide opportunities for massages (along with the food stalls, bike repair stalls, brain exercise stalls, and entertainment pit stops)
  3. Make the Ciclovia employees have maps or at least know where they are…
  4. (okay, four) Make the roads connect!

My favorite parts have been down south. Much more to explore. Better prices.

Jungle Allergy

I still think I’m allergic to the jungle. Here’s why. I went to the Amazon jungle in Peru and I was sick. The minute I was in the airport on my way out of the jungle, I got better. Heat allergy is called “heat urticaria” and I might have it. Actually, heat urticaria, is an allergy to heat above 109 F. This includes when the body reaches 109 degrees from steam rooms, hot showers, and spicy food! (And yes, there’s a condition where people are allergic to cold).

Chiles for sale in Bhutan.
Chiles for sale in Bhutan.

Or it might have been that jungle vegetable salad I ate…

A chonta, palm strips, salad.
A chonta, palm strips, salad.