Colombia Diary — Friday

On Friday it was time to come home. I accidentally drove up a street reserved for buses in order to connect to the highway to the airport, but that was all. Not bad for Bogotá!

The drive to El Dorado Airport was uneventful, but once I got there I found no signs telling me where to return my car. Very odd. I made a second loop and still didn’t see anything. So I pulled into a parking lot and left my Renault in the exact same spot I picked it up from. Then I went in and told the guy at the Avis counter what I had done. I assured him I had left the keys in the car and he looked up my name on their list. “No problem,” he said cheerily, “have a nice flight.” I guess it all worked out since I haven’t yet received a phone call from Avis Colombia asking why I stole their car.

You may think that this is about it for my Colombia diary. Far from it. In fact, I was sorry to board the plane because the weather and the clouds were so stunning on Friday. But things have a way of working out. I had a seat in row 2, in front of the wing, and for perhaps the first time ever, a window that was pretty clean. This all conspired to produce my biggest haul of great airplane photos ever. Naturally I’ll share them with you. In order to follow along, here’s our departure path from the airport:

The westbound departure pattern from Bogotá’s El Dorado Airport.

First up is the airport’s control tower as the plane taxied into position for takeoff.

The control tower at El Dorado Airport.

A few seconds after wheels up we passed the Fontibón neighborhood on the right side of the plane. You can see a soccer pitch on the bottom right of the photo.

The Fontibón neighborhood of Bogotá.

Next we passed the Parque de Ventas La Felicidad.

The Parque de Ventas La Felicidad.

As we turned west we came up on the Tintala neighborhood, with what looks like a reservoir on the middle right.

The Tintala neighborhood of Bogotá.

Continuing west, we flew over a quarry near the town of Fute.

A quarry about 15 miles west of Bogotá.

Are we done yet? By no means! I won’t torture you with all of the 453 pictures I took from the window of the plane, but I don’t want you to miss out either. And who else is going to look at them? A couple of hours into the flight we were over Central America and the cloud cover was mesmerizing. Here’s a towering cumulus cloud formation from 40,000 feet.

A cumulus cloud over Central America somewhere.

This is the jet turbine of our 787 shot at 1/32000th of a second.

A jet engine shot at high shutter speed.

Below, these strange markings over Mexico only make sense from the air. Surely they can’t be the work of man?

Footsteps of the gods?

After three hours over Mexico we crossed the border near San Diego and then flew past Oceanside. Almost home! A few minutes later we got a great view of Orange County.

South Orange County from the air.

At the bottom of the picture you can see Lido Isle (left) and Balboa Island (right) protected by the Balboa Peninsula. The waterway snaking up from between them is Back Bay. John Wayne Airport is at center left. My neighborhood in Irvine is dead center in the photo.

About 30 miles further along we got a nice view of downtown LA. That’s the 710 freeway on the right and the San Gabriel mountains in the background behind the haze.

Downtown Los Angeles with the San Gabriel mountains in the distance.

The approach to LAX goes over Inglewood, home of the new multibillion-dollar sports palace being built for the Rams and the Chargers. The Fabulous Forum, former home of the Lakers, is just above it.

The new Rams/Chargers stadium under construction in Inglewood.

A few seconds later we touched down at LAX, and by 8 pm I was home. It was August 9, 2019. My passport expires on August 19. Time for a new one.

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate