Sunday, February 21, 2010


Bogota is a big and confusing place for me. From polluted air to lots of people on the streets. From buses with open doors that slow down for people who jump in and out of them, to the hotel bill, that was a confusing list of million numbers without a total!
Don't get me wrong, the people are nice and I am sure that there are things to see, culture wise. But I never got to see anything accept courts and hotel.
The whole week I felt like a fish out of the water and remembered why I have decided never to play in Bogota again after my 2000 trip there-high altitude! My heart kept beating like crazy and breathing was not an option.
After 2 days of practice it was obvious that to get a rhythm was almost impossible and playing points was uncomfortable. Although someone was going to win the tournament at the end. And someone did. But my result in singles there was nothing but bad.
We got into doubles with my Colombian friend Cata Castano, but we lost to the winners of the tournament. Oh well.....

But even though my route included hotel-club-hotel I still got to see few things that amazed and surprised me. Like a homeless man surrounded but 20 dogs, all of them on the leash and happy. Old horse carriages trying to squeeze between cars on a busy street. Poor horses looked so skinny and fragile.
Hail in the middle of a hot afternoon, then sun and then hail again. People selling beautiful flowers on the streets, that I was tempted to buy. And many nice restaurants. Maybe I just felt confused because I didn't get enough oxygen?

One of the days I decided to eat at the hotel. The food looked good and reasonably priced for a 5 star hotel. Plus the large selection of deserts sold the buffet right away.
Maybe it was to much desert or the tuna fish I tried, or the combination of both.....but I spent the whole night in the "Lu-Lu room". Needless to say, the next day I couldn't play and spent the day in bed watching movies in Spanish.
I tried to complain to the manager and was shocked to hear her say: " So what?!" So what!!! I am so Americanized now and so accustomed to the rule "customer is always right," that her answer was shocking! After that she said:"If this is it, I have things to do." She turned around and left.

I was happy to go home. (No offense to nice people of Bogota, but high altitude is not my thing.)
But before I got on the plane I had one more obstacle to overcome. Getting through a check in at the airport! The line was huge!!!! There were people everywhere, talking, yelling, asking you questions in Spanish. I was glad that Rosana De Los Rios and her mother were there, but even they were confused. We had to go to some office and get a tax free voucher. Then we found out we had to pay another tax, and they only accepted pesos. Then a girl at the counter checked in all of our bags together and was confused which one was which....Two hours later we finally checked in. And in the confusion of things were given an access to Admirals Lounge, "because you are flying first class"-the girl said. But we were not! More confusion, but at least this one ended with a huge advantage for us.

When home, seating at my favorite sushi restaurant, and looking back on the events of the day, I saw a cockroach running from my napkin to a sushi bar in front of me. I hate those things! When I was growing up, it felt like a huge family of cockroaches was growing with me. Our Moscow apartment was attacked every morning and night.
I called the manager, who was very apologetic. And I got a free dinner. I guess it makes up for the one in Bogota. In Russia we say:" What ever God takes, he always gives back."

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