Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bogotá for Beginners

Since every family has to go through Bogotá at some point, we will start our culture tour there. Bogotá is part of the Altiplano Cundi-Boyancense. It is Tierra Fría.

In Bogotá, what you wear will determine WHO your are and HOW you will be treated. So, your clothing choices will be important. This is NOT the place for Crocs, Shorts, Tank tops, or Hawaiian shirts. This IS the place for EXECUTIVE OFFICE WEAR – NO CASUAL FRIDAYS. You will also want to come prepared for rain – lots of it.

Bogotanos think of themselves as the cultural and intellectual center of Colombia. For many years, Bogota was known as the Athens of South America. Bogota boasts an opera season, a philharmonic, a theater festival, a huge book fair, museums, expositions, concerts, etc.

Bogotanos also think of themselves as progresssive. Every weekend, Bogota closes its main streets and people are encouraged to walk or bike through the city. It also has impressive bike paths throughout the city where and estimated 300,000 bikers travel each day. Because of efforts like these, in 2006, Bogota was name the best big city in the world by Biennale Architecture. http://www.labiennale.org/en/news/architecture/en/67078.1.html

All of this leads to a culture that values proper etiquette. Bogotanos expect that when you arrive you will greet them – and I mean everyone – with a “Buenos (Días, Tardes or Noches)” and a handshake. You also can expect to make brief small talk before getting down to business. They expect that when you leave a room you will bid farewell to every person in the room on an individual basis. Do not rush people. Do not be in a hurry – even if your kid is crying. Remember, if your kid is crying, it is your job, not theirs. You still need to be nice, polite, and do not make excuses to leave. Your vocabulary should include: por favor, gracias, and all those other important things you learned in Kindergarten.

1 comment:

mysistersjar said...

This is such helpful information for those of us who have not traveled yet. Thank you, thank you, muchas gracias!