I have several memories of visiting Colombia as a child. My memories of the landscape, culture, and people are still as vivid as always. I remember being in the capital, Bogotá, riding in taxis and buses, watching the mountains role by, making eye contact with the llamas and cows on the side of the rode, smelling the various foods from the street vendors, and just taking it all in.
When we would take trips outside of Bogotá, many times, we would have take a special bus. Unlike buses here in the USA, it was a slightly different experience and these special buses are commonly referred to as “chivas.” Many times the chivas were overly decorated with bright colors and over loaded with people, merchandise and various livestock. Sometimes these bus rides would entail several hours of riding down winding dirt roads, through mountains, and sometimes over landslides at ridiculous speeds. I often wondered, how the chiva didn’t go tumbling down the mountain side. In my most recent travels to Colombia, the chiva is more of a tourist attraction now than a standard, but I can’t help reminiscing of the adrenaline rush as we hastily made our way to the next town.