Bogota footwear/cameras; Bolivar bugs

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May 9th, 2013, 06:50 PM
  #1
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Bogota footwear/cameras; Bolivar bugs

Greetings-- I am leaving for Bogota at the end of this month and will be there for the first week of June. I've never been to South America before but I can see that it's raining or "chance of rain" nearly every day there right now.

I'm trying to pack appropriate footwear, and I am wondering what Bogotanos wear on a daily basis to accommodate for the possibility of rain. I have Hunter-style knee high rain boots (considered fashionable and reasonably dressy in my neck of the woods in the US)--are those overkill, or a fashion "don't" or oddity that will draw unwanted attention? My other shoes are leather and, aside from the hiking boots, I'm concerned about them getting ruined.

Also--I have a small, Leica-sized, not expensive looking--and insured for theft--camera I intend to bring. It fits in my pocket, and also in a beat up old canvas bag I plan to carry. If I want to try shooting this out in public (I have experience with street photography in other high-crime areas, both domestically and abroad), do I want a neck strap or a wrist strap? Any other advice?

And finally--the delegation I am on will also spend two days in a small town outside Simiti near the Magdelana River in Bolivar. We will do homestays. Should I bring a mosquito net? I have a personal water filter but not a water purifier (which also filters out viruses, which generally are not an issue for North American treks). Should I squeeze a tight budget and get a Steri-Pen?

THanks so much.
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May 10th, 2013, 06:11 AM
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I haven't been to Columbia but have travelled fairly extensively in South America and I can't imagine it is too much different. As for your camera, I would go for the wrist strap - if someone does try and steal it then better a damaged wrist than a neck! After many years of travelling in out of the way and dodgy places I have only once had an attempt to steal a camera and that was on our last day of living in Sierra Leone ( where it is a sort of given that foreigners are fair game and it is almost an expected as a part of everyday life)

Water was a big issue in SL and our standard protocol was to boil water for 20 mins and then filter through a ceramic filter. Anything less is virtually pointless. A steripen is expensive if you are on a budget but iodine tabs would be ok for most people for a short period. Otherwise, stick to bottled water which is available in the most out of the way places these days.
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May 10th, 2013, 08:27 AM
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For what it's worth Belen market Iquitos is the dodgiest place I've taken photos and the guide advised the neck strap. I've also done a zipped chest level pocket on a jacket.
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May 11th, 2013, 05:17 AM
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Thanks so much for the replies. I did a dry run out and about today (major metro area, but still not as risky as Bogota will be) and felt a bit insecure with just the wrist strap--thought it might look like easy pickin's. However, am DEFINITELY not going with a PacSafe wired neck strap, which seems like it would double as a garotte.
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May 11th, 2013, 08:14 AM
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Just for fun here's my Iquitos set..you might notice some glares in the market photos.

https://picasaweb.google.com/kiwifan...elenMarketPeru
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May 11th, 2013, 12:09 PM
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Loved the. 'Rice drink with attitude' !!
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May 11th, 2013, 03:12 PM
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Hehheh. I think the lady with the butchered turtles was so angry looking because she probably was doing something illegal.
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May 12th, 2013, 09:38 AM
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Great photos--amazing what you can get with a point and shoot camera these days.
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May 12th, 2013, 11:36 AM
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Yes and not as intrusive if you want spontaneous street scenes.
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