From Kasilof, Alaska - July 7, 2013
I stayed in the old section of Bogotá, the capital of Colombia, in an area called La Candeleria. The Anandamayi Hostel is one of the nicest of my trip. Manicured plants filled courtyards surrounded my hammocks, Eastern art decorated the walls, and the beds were handmade. Even the showers were hand tiled.
Blocks from my hostel lies the main plaza of the city, Plaza de Bolivar, bordered by the Palace of Justice, National Capitol, seat of the National Congress, the Mayor's residence, and Primary Cathedral of Bogotá.
In 1985, 35 political militants from a group called M-19 took control of the Palace of Justice. They demanded a trial against the President, who may have been elected fraudulently. Three hundred people were taken hostage. On the second day, the army stormed the building. One hundred people died, including half of the Supreme Court.
Fifty-thousand people were murdered in Colombia in 1991 and 1992. In 1993, Pablo Escobar, the most powerful drug lord in Colombia, was killed in Medellín. His death lead to a fracturing of power in the cartels.
I speak of this recent violence in Colombia because the country has changed. The country feels fresh, especially Medellín, there is public art, people are kind and focused and present. I do not know if these impressions are my subjective bias, but I would imagine living through extreme violence would effect a person somehow.
I took a bike tour with a new friend from Massachusetts. It rained the entire time.