Friday, October 2, 2015

Day -1

If you are wondering what's so special about Orchids and why it is a creative name for our team motto, here is the answer: the national flower of Colombia is the Orchid, specifically, Orchid Cattleya Trianae.

Meanwhile, I totally underestimated the time it would take to pack for 1 month of travel. This is officially the longest I will be spending away from home (at a stretch) on a work assignment. I'm lucky that Delta Airlines allows 2*23kg checked luggage - more room to carry stuff back home ;).

It was nice of Adriana Navarro (my colleague in Corporate Audit) to send me a list of things to bring from Colombia. (if you haven't guessed yet, she is from Colombia).
Here is what she proposed:

  • Coffee - of course, Colombian Coffee has the reputation to be the best in the world. 
  • Manjar Blanco - Milk based delicacy. No idea how it tastes, will write more about this once I'm on the ground.
  • Brevas con Arequipe - Typical dessert in Bogota made of figs, sugar and covered with Caramel. hmm.. interesting.
  • Emeralds - Wow! This was a surprise, the finest quality Emeralds are apparently found in Colombia. Colombia is also the largest producer of Emeralds in the world and that's not the best part. The best part is Emerald is Roopa's (my wife) birthstone. ;o). 
In the past few weeks, I've spoken with a lot of colleagues, friends and read articles online regarding safety and in general life in Colombia. In all of these sources, the following themes were common:
  • People - Extremely friendly and ready to help without expecting anything in return. 
  • Time - Very relaxed and don't expect to start meetings on time. 
  • Safety - DO NOT TAKE taxis from the street. Apparently this is not a wise thing to do in Bogota.
  • Safety - Do not use your cellphone on the streets or risk it getting stolen. Never knew that Colombians were fixated with cellphones. 
  • Place to visit - Andres carne de res. Now, I'm really curious about this restaurant.
  • Finally, it's COLOMBIA not Columbia! 
Tomorrow, October 3rd is the D-day. Will write my next blog post from Bogota. Until then - Hasta Luego! 

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