CAR SHOPPING IN COLOMBIA
Today was an absolutely gorgeous day in Bogotá. There were few, if any, clouds in the sky nearly the whole day - a rarity for a city at an altitude of 8,000 feet with clouds and storms constantly passing through. It was a perfect day for… you guessed it! Car shopping.
When Pr. Jairo was in Custer several months ago, in conversation with some members of Custer Lutheran Fellowship (CLF), the need for a car was identified. And, of course, through some generous donations from these and other members at CLF, we were able to raise some money to purchase a car for our friends in Colombia, which I was privileged to communicate while here.
My day actually started with a fantastic run along what's become my regular running route. It's about 10 blocks to a really nice park - Parque El Virrey - which has a great running path. I'll set the location of this blog entry for this park so you can at least check it out on the map. After a quick shower and a nice breakfast of 'arapes con huevos' (sort of a flat, fried bread with eggs on top) as well as a bit of reading, Pr. Jairo and I set off late-morning for some car shopping.
Let me say, that I was expecting car shopping in Colombia to be a brilliant, cultural experience second only (maybe) to a Colombian wedding. Indeed, it was a cultural experience. But I'll be honest, it wasn't that different from shopping for a car in the U.S.
We went to a couple places in a northern neighborhood in Bogotá. The cars there were, in general, a little more 'caro' or "expensive" than we were looking for. We had lunch nearby and then went to a southern neighborhood of Bogotá where we visited around a dozen 'carroterias.' That's a word that I'm pretty sure I just made up, but I wouldn't be surprised if people would know what I was talking about since 'carro' means "car" and the suffix '-teria' can be added to just about anything to make a word mean "-the-place-where-such-and-such-a-thing-is-sold." But I digress.
So here's what's different about car shopping in the U.S. versus car shopping in Bogotá. Most 'carroterias' had an average of about a dozen cars for sale. The place that's pictured here was a little bigger than average, but you get the idea of the set-up. Cars parked in an indoor space, approximately two, maybe three inches apart from one another. Also, as you may expect, the average size of cars in this big city are much smaller than the average size of cars for sale in the U.S. Finally, without doing a whole lot of research, the prices seema little higher here than in the U.S. However, all of these things might be due to the fact that this is just a really big city with 8 million people and not have as much to do with being in South rather than North America.
I'll post a photo album with some of the cars that we found at or below the price limit that we're working with, which in case you're wondering is about $5,000 U.S. 'más o menos' (more or less)… but don't tell any of the car salesman that! Also, in case you're wondering, there was no car purchased today even though there were plenty of used car salesmans who would've loved to give us a great deal…