Banana Skin Flip Flops se ha convertido en mi blog favorito sobre Latino America y específicamente sobre Colombia. Su autora es Vicki Kellaway una chica Inglesa, periodista, que viajo a Colombia con un plan de recorrer el continente, pero hace más de 3 años que tomo una gran decisión de quedarse a vivir en Colombia. Colombia al igual que Sur América se ha convertido en un país y continente popular, especialmente por su cultura, su gente y su ambiente. En los últimos años Colombia se ha transformado en el hogar de muchos extranjeros que por equivocación o por suerte han encontrado oportunidades que solo este país les puede ofrecer. Si estás pensando viajar a Sur América o a Colombia el blog de Vicki es la guía perfecta para este recorrido y te tendrá captivado por las historias que cuenta. No solamente ella escribe sobre el turismo en el país pero también de otros temas como la política, arte, cultura, la educación y por eso es mucho más interesante que un blog solo de viaje. Su blog ha sido premiado como el mejor Blog del Norte-Sur América en el 2011, también como mejor Blog de Colombia y mejor weblog de Latín América en el 2012. Vicki también escribe sobre Cuba, Chile, Perú, Argentina y muchos otros países, hace poco fui muy afortunada de poderla entrevistar y de preguntarle algunas cosas básicas sobre su nueva vida en Colombia, y porque el cambio tan radical. Si quieres leer el blog de Vicki entra a esta pagina http://bananaskinflipflops.com/.
Tell us a bit about your background, did you go to university?
I´m from Kent but I studied journalism at the University of Sheffield. It was brilliant, I love the north of England and Sheffield was a lively, gritty place to be back then. There was definitely change in the air. It was a good place to be a trainee reporter.
What motivated you to leave the UK and travel, especially to South America?
I was a newspaper reporter for six years, ultimately in Liverpool which is one of my favourite cities. It felt like I was in the thick of everything, I was sent to Sri Lanka to cover the 2004 tsunami when I was just 22, When we became entrenched in Iraq and Afghanistan I travelled all over the world, talking to our soldiers as they prepared for war. I also spent years covering crime and tragedy at home, which affected me greatly. I started to wonder if I should use all the insights I´d been given, particularly as we´re so good at pretending there´s no poverty in England. But I had no idea about the world outside journalism so I thought it would be a good idea to travel and figure it out. I´d never been to South America.
What have you seen in Colombia, especially in Bogota, that you haven’t seen in any other country in South America?
There´s something special about the people of Bogota. They lived through terrifying and exhausting times when all of Colombia was being internally assaulted from all angles. That gave them a stoicism akin to Blitz spirit but it also gave them a relentless desire to think positively and believe in their dreams. The city may have emerged from that dark chrysallis now and become a vibrant, modern place to live, but that belief that everything is achievable remains. Not only does it attract people who dare to be creative or fight for their ideals, it also gives the city an air of infinite possibility.
What do you in Bogota during your free time? What would you recommend for a weekend in the city?
I write as much as I can so I love the coffee culture in Bogota. We have so many great cafes, they´re always full of people and I love knowing the world is happening around me. I also make an effort to visit the art galleries and museums because I find them soothing. I would recommend any weekend visitor to Bogota to just relax and indulge themselves, try as many of our restaurants and bars as you can and make sure you soak up the atmosphere on a night out. If galleries and museums aren´t for you then get some fresh air, either on the top of Monserrate mountain or in one of our many parks. Often just wandering the streets is an adventure here too. You never know what you may find.
What about a night out?
I have a huge spot for the city´s Zona T, probably because I like being around people and I love that there are so many bars so close together. As a struggling writer, I´m a bit of a contradiction. I´m happy to spend my week saving my pesos on walking, buses and cheap street food if it means I can afford a martini there on a Saturday night. But I don´t think I´m the first writer to have strange priorities. It´s nice to float between different worlds too.
Apart from Colombia where else have you travelled to in South America and what has been your favourite place?
Patagonia is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. It´s hard to believe it´s even real.
What about language! Do you think it’s important to know the language before you go abroad ? Or can you pick it up once you get there?
I couldn´t speak a word when I arrived but now I realise what a shame that was. I would advise learning as much as possible, to have good relationships with the people you meet and to try and understand a bit about the country you´re visiting.
Has your spanish improved since you got to South America?
I have been here almost three years now, but while I understand almost everything I still have a comical way of speaking. I think it´s a good filter for the guys I date in Colombia though. If they don´t find my way of speaking endearing, it´s probably not going to work.
In three words can you describe Colombia.
Absorbing, diverse and, most importantly, inspiring.
And lastly, what would you say to our readers who are thinking of travelling to South America?
South America is paradise for travellers – mountains, volcanoes, beaches, ruins, jungles and clusters of the sort of intense, lively cities that will drive a person to dance even if they´ve never so much as heard salsa music before. It seems to give its travellers warmth, confidence and faith in themselves because it´s such an easy place to travel yet it´s always an adventure. Coming to South America is a risk though. You may never go home.
The UoB Linguist Magazine
Guild of Students,
University of Birmingham