The more I go, the more Sogamoso grows on me. I must confess when originally I returned almost three years ago I was not keen on it. But after five or six times back I am quite otherwise.
This time we arrived on a chilly night. The streets were empty but the Christmas lights were lit. Hunger found us there, and we found a Chinese restaurant and went for it: it looked more interesting than some I’ve seen, and bigger. To my surprise the place had real Chinese cooks and no bad service.
All places adapt foreign cuisine to local tastes. In Colombia they serve great chunks of chicken, platano and fries with Chinese food, besides the usual offerings. It isn’t like in the USA were they are chary on the rice because the folk there haven’t much learned to eat it. Colombians eat poor people’s fare: including lots of rice, but they like to explode the grains. Now I am awfully fond of rice, especially its texture, so I think Colombians overcook it. What they’re good at, some, is giving the rice flavor so that you can just eat the white cooked rice. But here it is fried rice you get in Chinese places, and mine was good. It may have been exploded, but I don’t recall it was.
Along with that there was a piece of pork or dog or some such flavorless meat which caused me no disgust. The less it bears the flavor of the animal, the less identifiable it is, the happier I tend to be. More interesting the fries–by which I do not disparage the full flavorful potato here, and the disuse of anemic vegetable oil to sap the flavor out.
Next day we mostly stayed, and Sogamoso was comfortable. All is walkable there: you just have to watch out for the midday sun. When you go up into the hills to the little towns (we circumambulated lake Tota–high above and full of trout) you see the peasants are burned, ruddy, dark. They live in extremes of cold (not freezing, but no heat in their homes and often 40’s and never 70’s, besides the wind) and the highland, equatorial sun, and so are so. So when you walk around Sogamoso pick the early morning, late afternoon, evening or stick to the shade. You can get public transportation if you must, but what kind of a blighter would? Not me.
So you can reach everything walking, and that to me is ideal. Many excellent coffee shops there, and the restaurants are looking all the time more fine. They now have a Mexican place, and soon they might get reputable pizza. I was most pleased this time: in a whole day in a little Boyacense city I did not exhaust all the options though we were in six different places what with coffee (x3), lunch, supper, snack or so, evening tea, egg rolls. You could wax fat there. It would be ideal for a writer to retire to and write away the morning, wander in for a late lunch, coffee, errands, and coffee at another spot before going home, or perhaps wander into town of an evening for coffee, a bit of supper, a walk.
And Sogamoso has the surrounding villages: go to Tibasosa which is picturesque, or Nobsa full of woollen goods; to Iza with thermal springs and the lazy valley full of willows, to the white beach on the cold lake or a small and snug hotel facing it; to endless fields of onions, and buses full of the smell of sweat and onions; to the upper brownlands or to colonial Mongui of the begonias most charming and most chilly, and all the unsightly villages scattered throughout the province of Sugamuxi.
I want to live there so bad I am even contemplating taking up again the abominable teaching of English.