Despite the widely-held assumption that Bogotá has terrible weather, our results, which come mainly from our experience of a Bogota bicycle tour, demonstrate that there is a possibility for the contraction of erythema due to exposure to high levels of ultra violet light (sunburn). Furthermore, we have unocovered further evidence to support the theory (vide Duncan et. al.) that the city of Bogotá holds many points of interest that are effectively camouflaged behind doors mundane in appearance.
The theory, put forth in Fowler et al., that Bogotá shares many characteristics with London, could lead one to conclude that the incidence of sunburn is negligible. We conducted a bicycle tour from Bogotravel Tours to gather evidence contrary to this conclusion. A secondary study was conducted into gathering more evidence in support of the claims, made by Duncan et al., that there is more to the city of Bogotá than first meets the eye.
Dr. Gilesy set out bright and early in the morning to meet Dr. Fernando, of Bogotravel Tours, in order to conduct the investigation into sunburn. Dr. Gilesy, in the interest of the furthering of Science, forwent the application of any kind of sunscreen, and also relinquished the use of his customary hat. Strict controls were established, with Dr. Fernando applying liberal amounts of sunscreen to his exposed skin.
The experiment continued with an exploration of a local square in Bogota´s La Candelaria district. A previous theory put forward by Dr. Gilesy about the old gentlemen who congregate in this square opposite the Gold Museum Transmilenio station was that they were just hanging out there to share a coffee. However, this day´s assay proves that they are actually trading in emeralds. It turns out that Colombia is the world´s greatest producer of emeralds, and these gentlemen have been gathering here for years to trade in these green gems.
To continue the exposure to ultra-violet rays, we hopped on our bicycles to discuss further hidden histories of Bogota, including the monuments to the political martyr, Gaitan on Carrera 7, and inspection of the very Londonesque architecture around Teusaquillo. We then increased the UV exposure by riding down Calle 26, which has recently become a gallery of building-high graffiti pieces (more of these discoveries in an upcoming report). It was obvious by this stage of the experiment that we had selected one of those ridiculously beautiful Bogotá days that just seem even more glorious due to their sporadic nature.
Further surprises were in store, including uncovering a fully-functional coffee factory right in the heart of Bogotá, where we observed the antique German machinery in action, and enjoyed a Coffee of the Gods in the attached café. A visit to a local fruit market added an extra dimension to our experiments, as we were able to sample the rich bounty of exotic fruit available in Colombia – many of which have no English name. It turns out that English is ridiculously poor when it comes to the nomenclature of fruit.
At the conclusion of our experiment, it was noted that Dr Gilesy´s nose was a deep cherry-red in colour and further inspection would prove that definite signs of peeling were in evidence. Dr. Fernando´s nose remained its original colour, with no sign of solar erythema.
Discovery of the emerald traders, the influence that the English had in the development of Bogotá, insight into the burgeoning world of Bogotá street art, and the family-owned coffee factory behind unimpressive facades gives much greater evidence that you can spend years in this surprisingly complex city and still discover new things right under your cherry-red nose. Bogotá continues to surprise.
Despite the numerous snide comments regarding Bogotá´s weather, this tour was held in picture-perfect conditions, ideal for the burning of skin. We suggest visitors bring both an umbrella and sunscreen, as Bogotá can bless you with an enormous spectrum of climatic conditions.
Riding a bike around Bogotá gives a new perspective to this sometimes-grimy, always-surprising metropolis. Dr. Fernando was full of nice little tidbits about our environment, and such a tour is an excellent way to see how this city fits together and can give a more personal view of its inhabitants and history. We definitely recommend that more such tours are carried out to strengthen this claim.
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