I am back from Bogota, Colombia, where my sister Bridget married her sweetheart Kico. This was my first trip to South America and it will definitely not be my last. Bogota is 5 hours to the south in the same time zone, and is a city of over 7 million people at an elevation of 9200 feet. Before I get to the food, let me just say that we had the most wonderful time there - Kico's family was so warm and hospitable, and they really went out of their way to welcome us into the family. I think a lot of my friends were wary of us going to Colombia because of the history of drug violence, but the President of the country has really cleaned the place up in the past eight years, and I felt very safe in Bogota.
The first picture is of Kico's brothers Nicolas and Luis (the youngest, so they call him Baby) with his sister Pili's husband Rob. In front of them are the massive dishes of Paella that Uncle Rafa spent all day making for us for the New Year's party. It was such a great party! We danced, laughed, and set off balloons with wishes on them (I know this is environmentally bad but let's not focus on that now). At midnight, we walked around the block with luggage to encourage ourselves to travel a lot in the coming year.
My brother Sean is sitting in front of a confection made with cake wafers and a caramel sauce. Caramel sauce is everywhere in Bogota. People in Bogota, from what I can tell, eat lots of beef, pork, yucca, plantain, potato, tropical fruits, corn, and caramel sauce. Sadly, I could not eat this confection but it looked amazing. At least I was able to eat the paella.
I had a lot of trouble eating in Colombia because of the prevalence of butter and corn in and on everything. Many meals I ate dried fruit and nuts because whatever was offered contained dairy or corn. Even though I did my best, I still came back to the States fighting an autoimmune reaction. It's getting better, but I have been tired this week. Still- it was a small price to pay for a visit to a beautiful country to meet my new family and see my gorgeous sister get married to a wonderful man.