My friend Carlos, before moving to Australia, introduced me to Zoltan Bokor. Zoltan owns Bokor’s Sandwich & Coffee Cafe at Calle 47 #14-23 in Bogotá, Colombia with his partner Diana Rodriguez. This is a great little coffee shop because it offers something few businesses here in Bogotá offer – customer service! It is only 2 blocks from my apartment so even on days my MS is active, I can can still make it there for a coffee. The original goal of the visits was to just get out of the apartment a few minutes of the day, but now Zoltan and I have become really good friends. He is originally from Hungary but lived in England for a while. He and I enjoy that we can speak in English and understand each other in the new Spanish-speaking culture we find ourselves living. His partner does speak English, but she is still an “insider” in Bogotá. Zoltan and I share the experience of adjusting to this new culture which is a unique bond. So add a great new friends Zoltan and Diana with coffee (and some times beers) and sandwiches, it is a welcomed oasis for me. I am kind of like Norm from the tv show “Cheers” because everyone knows my name there. The regulars and I sometimes exchange quick English/Spanish lessons. The coffee, sandwiches and beers are much less expensive than any coffee shop in the U.S. also adds to the charm for my poor ass! It is rare in my experience to find a place here in Bogotá like Bokor’s Sandwich & Coffee Cafe. Borkor’s does not rest on having good food, but stresses customer service and a friendly atmosphere. It is typical here in Bogotá to have one, maybe two of the experiences but to have all three and to be owned by someone who makes friends with his customers and tries to get to know them is very rare.
Zaltan Bokor & Diana Rodriguez at the Sandwich Shop
The café is close to the Universidad Católica de Bogotá (the Catholic University of Bogotá) and has a steady flow of students, professors, school administrators as well as folks living in the neighborhood. But like any place that severs beers, Bokor’s has become quite busy “After Class”!! Some students skip the beers and just have a coffee and/or sandwich visiting with other students about their day. Some discussion even appears deep and intellectual as if they are solving the issues of the world. In the back of the café are a few computers for public use that for a small fee are used to surf the internet and WiFi is also available for the “real” American coffee shop experience so that I can pretend to be writing the next bestseller!! lol.
For 2,200 Pesos ($1.10) Gets Anyone the Small Sandwich Combo
Even With Good Food, Good Friends, Mixed With Good Times.... I Have Been Able To Lose 25 Pounds (13kgs) In 2 Months
Earlier today the announcement was made that the Bogotá bus strike would end and services would resume on Friday morning. The strike lasted for 4 days bringing a lot of the city to a standstill. Schools, universities and even many businesses had to close because students and employees were unable to make their typical commute without the buses. It will take a while for many to recoup the losses of this four-day strike. As Senor Lopez, the bus union leader, apologized for the effects, I could tell it was an empty apology from someone who in the end got very little using the strike as a negotiating tool. I wish there was a way to organize commuters to strike and not use the busses to let them feel the effects of their actions. But as the strike did prove, the buses are a necessary evil in this town for now. I look forward to the mayor’s new transportation system to take effect reducing the buses on Bogotá’s streets.
I have had a cold for the last few days, my Multiple Sclerosis is very active and last night I passed a kidney stone. Because of the bitterly cold weather at my parent’s (and other U.S. locations), I dare not say it got cold here…. but it did get much cooler than usual for Bogotá standards and I am blaming that on my getting a cold. My MS has had my legs weaker than usual and my balance has caused me to fall a couple of times in the apartment. So with two things kicking my ass, why not a third? I have had kidney stones 4 times before and this must have been a small one because it did pass in one night, but the pain was very familiar! My Colombian health insurance has a 30 day waiting period and I am only on day 4 so I self medicated with Dolex (Colombian Tylenol). Once maybe twice a year I have issues with kidney stones and do not find it any easier when they return. I did survive and my friend David was handy just in case I decided to try the uninsured visit to the emergency room.
Today set the record for single day visits to the Tomass Gringo Blog!! It is good to see the numbers…. but to know who is visiting and why would be great! Are the visitors actually reading the blog, are they enjoying it, will they return to read more, am I wasting my time and theirs? I guess a writer has to have a lot of self-doubt to inspire him to keep writing, but to have some answers would be great!! Whether this blog or the fictional Tomass Gringo blog… I hope any reader feels free to comment honestly!!
Thanks for reading!!!
I am in the next weeks hoping that this will be a daily blog about my life and what is happening with my new adventure living in Colombia. There is also a link to the Tomass Gringo blog page which is based on the FICTIONAL character Tomass Gringo. Tomass Gringo will be the one day main character of the book “A Gringo Learns to Live Latino”…. or something like that. Tomass Gringo’s life is more exciting than my actual life, but you will see similarities with their lives.