Well due to some complications to my flights, I ended up being delayed
so finally left London Heathrow flying via Paris direct to Bogota.
James (left) with friends at a local AIESECer's house
many questions running through my mind: what were the people going
to be like? How am I going to manage with the language? And how
was I going to cope with the perceived spicy food I expected to
be greeted with?
from London with another girl called Jen who is working on behalf
of AIESEC with another charity in Colombia in a place called Manizales.
As we arrived through the terminal, Jen was greeted by a local AIESEC
representative, a dozen red roses in hand! She was staying in Bogota
for the night.
however, was due to fly straight out to the North Coast to Barranquilla.
At first, I was going to get to the domestic terminal myself. I
was however a bit taken a back when the local AIESECer simply told
me that if I needed help just pay between 5000 and 10,000 Colombian
Peso to this random local Colombian standing nearby (it sounded
like a lot of money at the time - it's only £1 or £2)
and I'd be fine! With that in mind, it may have been the concerned
look on my face that they offered to take me.
I checked in for my internal flight, while I was waiting, another
AIESECer called Mary Clau came to meet me. We had chatted online
with instant messages before and she knew I had a few hours to wait
in the airport. It was really reassuring to spend some time with
her and settled my nerves.
into Bogota, I was surprised to see how green the landscape was.
When I arrived, it felt strange to be greeted by a temperature colder
than London for this time of year - around 16°C - due to Bogota
being at such a high altitude. I was warned by Mary that the North
is a different story
leg of the journey
left and I waited in the lounge, the flight however was delayed
and ended up being 4.5 hours late.
on the tarmac all ready to go, I fell into a light sleep while we
were waiting to take off only to be woken by a chorus of people
pressing the steward attention button, children crying because of
the noise and the other passengers shouting at the people pressing
the buttons. We had been waiting on the tarmac for almost half an
combat the noise the captain turned off the bing bong of the button
which only infuriated passengers more who persisted to hit the roof
of the plane. An announcement came on which was just ignored and
the mayhem continued until a few minutes later we lifted off.
to be in the air I was finally on the last leg of my now more than
24 hour journey. After what felt like a mini uprising of passengers,
I could not quite believe I was actually here and what had been
anticipated for the last few months was finally happening.
& new friend Juan
greeted at Barranquilla airport by seven local AIESEC faces who
helped with my bags. Each person seemed more excited than the one
were quickly off in convoy to the apartment I was to be staying
at for my first month here. Immediately I was hit by the humidity
and the hot air.
arrived at the apartment. While the others waited downstairs, I
got changed. Now, bearing in mind my long journey, it was midnight
and we were heading out for drinks and a bit of a welcome party!
I ended up getting back in the early hours of the morning.
was a really great welcome. It was interesting to compaire it to
working for AIESEC back in Birmingham. We talk about the reception
service we provide for graduates on our exchange programme - it
was great to arrive and feel it first hand. It really does make
such a difference being greeted at the airport and having the sense
of an immediate support network.
by James Eder