So, yesterday it hit us that we actually gave up our apartment, said goodbye to our friends and family, sold all of our crap, and left New York.
And it made us very sad.
Which is weird, right? Cuz we've been planning this trip for at least 18 months. And we're feeling super thrilled and blessed to actually be able to do it. Looking at our itinerary is this embarrassment of emotional and financial riches. But fuck. We are scared. And yesterday, we really missed home, and everything that home means.
We actually had a great day. Juan Pablo, Gabe's dad's cousin, whose house we are staying at in Bogota, dropped us off at Zona T, a Soho-ish neighborhood in Bogota. We windowshopped, had a long lunch, then sat at a cafe for cappuccinos and pastelitos and people watched. It was all kinds of wonderful.
But back at the apartment that evening, we started getting mopey. We had been invited by Diana, Gabe's cousin, to her boyfriend Santiago's birthday party at a chic cocktail bar in Macarena, an artist's district. It was an area that we had wanted to explore and of course we wanted to spend time with Diana and Santiago, who are just the most charming couple imaginable. But again, the mopey mcmopersons we had become were stalling. Honest to God all I wanted to do was cuddle on the couch we no longer own, order takeout from Cheers, the neighborhood Thai in the neighborhood we no longer live in, and watch Law & Order SVU on the TV we gave away. We ended up getting there half an hour late, telling ourselves in the cab ride over that we would put on our happy faces, buy Santiago one drink, then head back to the apartment to lick our homesick wounds.
The bar, El Libertador, is modeled after the home of Simon Bolivar, who led the liberation of Colombia from Spain. Ironically, it also looks like an elegant version of a bazillion restaurants in Brooklyn and the Lower East Side - textured wallpaper, modern industrial lighting, comfy seats and even a goddamn deer head mounted on the wall. Weird and surprising and comforting all at once. Gabe and I start to loosen up. We had gotten there late, so after a few drinks Santiago's friends left, and Diana asks us if we want to go to another bar with them for "a little party."
We head back to Zona T to Armando Records, a rooftop bar packed with hipsters. (Rooftop bars are a big thing here. Across the street from Armando was a rooftop disco on top of a giant supermarket. Amazing.) They are dancing and rocking out, happily belting out Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out." Diana gets a few Peronis.
The hipsters are feeling familiar. The roof is feeling familiar. The beers are feeling familiar. And the music? The music is the aural equivalent of kimchi and Spam (or mac and cheese for you gringos). After Franz Ferdinand comes the Beasties. And then Mr. Brightside freaking blasts through the system, and Colombians all around us are dancing and jumping around unabashedly, screaming about coming out of their cage. Depeche Mode. The Clash. The Cure. The Violent Femmes.
Then the DJ drops New Order, and that's it. We lose it. Me and Gabe? We're home.
Two hours later, we find ourselves with Diana and Santiago eating hot, messy arepas with a bunch of other sticky nightowls. Everybody is talking too loudly. The arepa ladies are heaving sighs of annoyance at the drunken masses. Diana and Sergio are nuzzling adorably and arguing about the best arepa condiments. I spill avocado sauce all over myself and somehow manage to squirt some up the sleeve of my jacket. Gabe is infinity patient, and then starts eyeing my food.