Halloween in Bogota – Days 121-125

Children sitting in the Bogota sign

We arrived in Bogota recognizing that the Colombian leg of our trip was ending.  Our last 5 days consisted of doing some slow living (i.e. laundry), watching the Raptors and getting schoolwork done.  We did no research on Bogota ahead of time and felt like we had no real objectives to cross off. When it was all said and done, we watched some Raptors, we had our first doctor’s visit and the kids got to experience Halloween, “Bogota-style“.

  Yep, it finally caught up to us as someone got sick.  We’ve had sniffles and sore throats the last few months but this time it was Isabella who had a fever for five days.  Since she never gets sick, we decided to seek some expert advice.  We failed miserably trying to call our insurance provider internationally (I will rant about that another day).  We did so poorly, we ended up asking the hotel to get us a doctor.  The physician did a quick phone consult and within a couple hours, was in the hotel room checking in on Izzy.  Paige used her Spanish and they sorted things out.  During this time, Julie and I had gone for a walk and got stuck in a torrential downpour, getting all of our warm clothes soaked. While we were out catching a cold, Izzy was diagnosed with a virus (not the one you’re thinking). She was back to normal within a couple days as we pumped her full of fluids and vitamins. 

Children with halloween face paint eating ice cream

  On the road, we have begun to miss things from home. Sitting around the tv as a family and watching our basketball team, the Toronto Raptors was a frequent pastime before our trip. To keep this tradition alive, I signed up for the NBA League Pass which allows us to watch the games live on the internet. It has been tonnes of fun and after watching the games on our computer in Medellin, Paigey decided we needed to start watching them on a bigger screen.  So one day, we went off to an electronics section in Bogota to haggle over a USB-c to HDMI adapter.   With this new adaptor, all I had to do was unplug the current input of the hotel’s tv and plug in the computer.  We’ve been on the road so much, I can say that I’m pretty good with hotel TVs.  Paigey can’t believe how I can pretty much get any tv into sleep mode even though I often can’t read the menu prompts.  But anyway, this was going to be a piece of cake.  Little did I know, that the TV wasn’t properly mounted on the wall. As soon as I angled it to remove the cable, it fell off the wall and I managed to catch it a foot from disaster.  But after remounting the TV and setting up the computer, the family gathered around and watched the Raptors on the big screen. My takeaway for the future – Don’t assume hotel televisions are securely mounted!

Assorted Halloween Candy from Colombia

  Since we spent most of our time indoors, we leveraged all the amenities the hotel offered. Each day started with a breakfast buffet in the hotel lobby.  The hotel switched it up enough each day to keep it fresh and they had a fantastic assortment of cut-up fruit (we still miss fruits and vegetables).  Most days, our fruit of the day was pineapple, papaya and watermelons.  Paigey was ecstatic the day feijoas made the cut (a fruit she remembers from when she lived in New Zealand) while Julie kept going back for the little plums.  The other hotel perk was the nightly manager’s reception where popcorn, drinks and other light snacks were available.  We went every night with the kids filling up their popcorn bowls 2-3 times per sitting.  On our first night, the kids got a Halloween gift bag which got them excited about the prospect of halloween.

Family Standing with costumed character from DragonBallz

  I assumed that Halloween was a North American consumption holiday.  The kids were sad they weren’t going to be home to celebrate it with their friends and we were not sure how it was celebrated in Colombia.  But having been given our gift bag a couple days before, we began to ask around. We didn’t always get consistent answers but our most reliable source of information came from the nail salon (the girls got their toenails painted before we head to Hawaii). Yes, they do Halloween and yes there is trick or treating but it seems to only occur in stores and not at a home.  At the same time, the stores don’t really advertise it.  What I mean is you kind of go into a store (like a nail salon), sing a song “Trickie Trickie Halloween, quiere dulces para mi” and then they reach into a hidden bag below the counter and voila, candy.  We were told it happens in the afternoon (not the evening) so off we went to a mall at 2pm, which was a mistake as we were too early.  But the mall was doing free face painting so the kids’ costumes were dramatically improved. After school got out, the malls began to fill with children and we followed their lead and managed to piece it all together.  Nothing was funnier than our kids entering a store, doing their song and then the store owner saying no candy. My kids don’t speak Spanish and would exit the store all confused.  They rolled with the punches and didn’t want to stop.  

  I could write about the sites we visited but for my kids, Bogota is going to be about popcorn in the hotel and the time they went out for Halloween in a costume hacked together (with inside-out clothes) beautifully by their mother.

Where we stayed: 

By the numbers

  •   Cost for the doctor:   120,000 COP – sounds like a lot but do the conversion (a doctor’s note costs more at home)
  •   Olives dropped on the floor at the manager’s reception:  2 – Julie pointed them out to me about 20 times
  •   Jello plates we dropped on the floor at the manager’s reception:  1 – but it wasn’t really our fault, there was red jello on the bottom that made it slippery
  •   Visits to Juan Valdez (Colombia’s Starbucks) across the street:  At least 8
  •   Visits to the nail salon across the street:  1 – kids had a blast with their mom  

Food we liked

  • AStick: A chocolate wafer stick – the best piece of Halloween candy the kids got
  • Paletas: An ice pop – I got hooked on them due to the insane variety
  • Corn on the cob – street food at a protest rally by street vendors – Julie loved the large, warty kernels
  • Feijoas – Paige thinks it is the best fruit ever

Ciao for now,


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