Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Colombia Bogota: Day 3

Today was spent almost entirely in & around Sogamosa. Sogamosa is an interesting little city -- & not so little, either: Wikipedia says it has a population of over 100,000. Wikipedia also says that Sogamosa has great archeological significance since it was the location of a very important Temple of the Sun.

We were able to verify this just across the street from the hotel. While waiting for our bus this morning several of us decided to take a quick look at the plaza. As it turns out, the focal point of the plaza is a huge, dramatic sculpture of 4 naked women in various poses of prayer or supplication, all facing a large, elevated representation of the sun in highly iconic form. It was an interesting sculpture but perhaps the most interesting aspect was its position directly & immediately across the street from the cathedral. It is an interesting juxtaposition: surely this positioning, this contrast between "pagan" & Christian, was not designed by accident.

Another interesting contrast presented itself as the morning continued. A small group of our Canadian colleagues walked back from the plaza among beautiful palm trees, their fronds curving upwards like fireworks, children playing, the air cool & pleasant. One of our group commented that it seemed so nice: "maybe we should just stay in Sogamosa". Later, on the bus, one of our Colombian colleagues explained to us how Sogamosa was in a valley in a heavily industrialized location in Colombia & that is why it has the second most polluted air in all of Latin America (only Mexico City's air is worse).

We left Sogamosa through very twisty and narrow streets. Several times the fit was so tight that we could have easily touched buildings on either side of the bus had the windows been open. One street turn required that our driver perform a 20-point turn to make the 90-degree change in direction.

We spent the rest of the day touring the mine training centre operated by SENA, our partner organization. It is an incredible training centre - complete with a functioning mine for training purposes. But I have run out of time & energy for tonight. Another early start tomorrow, back in Bogota.

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