As the saying goes: “if you can drive in Colombia, you can drive anywhere in the world”. This, in my opinion, holds mostly true due to drivers who are confident, to avoid saying aggressive, determined, and definitely unstoppable. Taxi drivers may make good conversationalists, but don’t be fooled, they’ll run lights, swerve into one way streets, and squeeze their way into unthinkable spaces with the sole purpose of reaching their destination in record time. But they’re not alone. Buses take advantage of their size just as much as motorcycles, and regular cars fall somewhere in between.
The exhilaration of hitting the streets of this city is just part of the adventure. A taxi ride may include developing a connection with a stranger, granting him permission to give you advice/encouragement/etc., or you may similarly return the favor. They come teeming with stories about the city and the people who inhabit it. With a patient ear one can learn more than imagined in the time it takes to get from point A to point B.
Other forms of public transportation (buses, busetas, transmilenio/SITP) prove just as entertaining – that’s if you don’t mind mimes, rappers, and other live musicians showing off their talent. The average bus will cost between $.80 and $1.00. On the streets, artists take advantage of red traffic lights to blow fire, dance, dress up as golden Pharaohs or to juggle knives, balls, and other objects.
It’s an adventure to step into the streets of Bogotá where the mundane and often hectic task for commuting is made more entertaining thanks to people with artistic talents. Maybe one day I’ll join the fleet of confident drivers, but until then, I’ll stick to other forms of transportation.