Mi Tierra & The Botero Museum: Week 224

Entrance to Mi Tierra: Bogotá, Colombia

Mi Tierra is reached via a long hall lined with vintage posters and punctuated with a neon sign. Unlike the bars on the other side of the church square, there was no one waiting outside to hustle you in. And unless you knew about the bar, the inability to see into the venue from the sidewalk might be a bit dissuasive.

Luckily Tiffany, one of my colleagues, was in the know. She rounded up a large group of people from our training program and we set out on foot for the Chapinero venue. It was about ten o’clock when we arrived only to discover a metal gate blocking the entrance. Our hearts sank.

Someone rattled the gate and called down the hall. A minute or two passed without a sign of movement and then we heard footsteps approaching. It was Arturo, the owner.

Mi amor,” he affectionately called out to Tiffany. “¿Cómo estás?

Stuffed dog decoration inside Mi Tierra: Bogotá, Colombia

Of course the bar was open. Come in, come in. I wasn’t quite sure if they had opened up just for us, or if they just kept the gate closed when the venue wasn’t busy. It kind of seemed like in Bogotá, if there were enough people, anything could be reopened.

Interior of Mi Tierra: Bogotá, Colombia

During the day, Mi Tierra was an antique shop. There were no windows, so the musty smell of second hand goods filled the room. Some of the items were displayed while the rest were pushed aside to make space for the small dance floor and six tables. The most accessible items around the dance floor were wigs, hats, instruments, a wheelchair, and a small crocodile statue.

A crocodile statue and the dance floor at Mi Tierra: Bogotá, Colombia

Props and the dance floor at Mi Tierra: Bogotá, Colombia

Props and the dance floor at Mi Tierra: Bogotá, Colombia

Props and the dance floor at Mi Tierra: Bogotá, Colombia

We sat down at the largest table, the one with a vintage hairdryer, and began ordering drinks. Many bars rush you to order, but it almost felt like it was an afterthought for Arturo. “Tranquila,” he advised me when I wasn’t sure what I wanted or even how to say it. Take it easy.

Ordering drinks at Mi Tierra: Bogotá, Colombia

Out of nowhere a birthday cake appeared for Arturo’s partner. We all sang happy birthday in English and then in Spanish. After the candles were blown out, Arturo grabbed the microphone for a heartfelt serenade.

A birthday celebration at Mi Tierra: Bogotá, Colombia

The fact that such a large group of foreigners were invited in for a small birthday celebration just goes to show how friendly everyone was. While I had met a lot of nice people so far, it was the first time I felt such a generous ‘welcome’ in Colombia. If I’m ever back in Bogotá, you know where I will be.

The bar at Mi Tierra: Bogotá, Colombia

On my last day in Bogotá, three colleagues and I went to the touristy neighborhood of La Candelaria. It is one of the most historic neighborhoods in the city and many of the buildings are beautifully preserved.

Our first stop was at the Plaza de Bolívar. It dates back to 1539 when it was first called the Plaza Mayor. Nowadays, it is a massive paved area that fronts the Catedral Primada and the Capitolio Nacional (Nation’s Capital). The plaza usually attracts more people on the weekend, but this Saturday it had two strikes against it: it was raining and Colombia was set to play that afternoon in the Copa América.

El Presidente, 1997: Botero Museum, Bogotá

El Presidente, 1997

Just down the street was the Botero Museum. It was founded in 2000 with the donation of 203 artworks from Fernando Botero himself. More than half of the art was his own work, while the rest was that of international artists like Calder and Bacon. Not only was it a priceless collection, but it was also free to the public.

Mujer delante de una ventana, 1990: Botero Museum, Bogotá

Mujer delante de una ventana, 1990

While the international art collection was great, I was really there for Botero. His inflated figures are both fascinating in form and grotesque for the greed they represent.  Their fleshy figures devour their clothing and their small eyes sink into their faces, like raisins in pudding.

I could have spent all day La Candelaria looking at national treasures. However, some of the most important Colombian things can’t be found in a museum; they can only be found on a big screen TV. It was time to head back to the hotel to watch the Copa América.

Guerrilla de Eliseo Velásquez, 1988: Botero Museum, Bogotá

Guerrilla de Eliseo Velásquez, 1988

How to get to Mi Tierra: Calle 63 #11-47 (In front of Parque Lourdes), Chapinero, Bogotá

How to get to the Botero Museum: Calle 11 #4-41, Bogotá

Hombre con Perro: Botero Museum, Bogotá

Hombre con Perro, 1989

ARQ Sydney: Week 99

ARQ Sydney: photo by barsandnightclubs.com.au

Oh my God!”

A tall slender boy approached. His hair was bleach blond and swept straight off his scalp into a quiff; a throwback to the pompadour.

The lights were dim. Laser beam trajectories pivoted down from the ceiling and ran over us as if we were supermarket goods. I didn’t know this guy so I closed my eyes and kept dancing in the hope that would clear up the confusion.

Oh my God!” He cried again.

He halted right before me with a bewilderingly familiar smile spread across his carefully made-up face. His eyebrows hovered high upon his brow indicating amazement and incredulity.

“J Law!”


“J Law. Jennifer Lawrence. Hunger Games? You look just like J Law!”

I don’t look anything like Jennifer Lawrence.

AH….” he gasped, “HUGS!”

It was a delicate hug, the kind you would give a celebrity after a surgical procedure.

“You know what,” I paused to sip on my rum and coke, “most people tell me I look like Daryl Hannah.”


This boy was clearly younger than me. Barret and I listed a few films from the 80s, the same decade his shirt referenced, but it drew blanks. Finally we mentioned Kill Bill.

“You remember the lady with the one eye patch?”

Oh my God!”  That struck a chord. “HUGS!”

Then I mentioned our group of three was from the US- he received it like a dramatic reveal on Extreme Home Makeover.

“Oh my God. Oh my God!

I really was beginning to feel famous. Too bad the bouncers hadn’t had the same reaction, I would have saved twenty-five dollars. Living in Las Vegas had definitely spoiled me- getting into world-class clubs for free made me very reluctant to pay any entrance fee.

ARQ Sydney bills itself as the only purpose-built entertainment venue in Sydney. Its website also states that it took five years to research and build, which left me feeling a bit cynical. After working in liquor licensing I wondered how much “research” had been simply dedicated to paperwork and impact statements instead of design and upgrading air conditioning systems.

I still hadn’t figured out the purpose for the carpeted foyer which was separated from the dance floor by an annoyingly slow revolving glass door.

Can my friend and I dance with you guys?”

“Of course!”

I will never be a famous actress and ARQ will never be a premier destination, but at that moment it was fun to pretend.

At the very least, I could just dance like I really was talented and famous.

How to get to ARQ Sydney: 16 Flinders Street Darlinghurst NSW

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