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April 14th, 2008
05:09 PM ET

Anderson's view: A week in Colombia

So I’m back, and yes I actually did take a whole week off. I can't remember the last time I did that. As I’ve said before, I don't relax all that easily and since most of my vacation days are used up shooting stories for 60 Minutes, I rarely take a whole week off. I spent last week in Bogota and Cartagena, Colombia.

Many of you will say to yourselves, "why in the world would anyone go there for vacation?" But the truth is, it's a great place to go. Cartagena is an old colonial city that, even during the worst years of violence in Colombia, was a safe spot. Bogota is a vibrant, chaotic place, that hums with life. It's got great food and music. There are huge problems with violence in Colombia, narco=traffickers and armed groups are still out of control, but the violence is way down, and at no time did I feel unsafe.

Everywhere I went in Colombia, complete strangers, who didn’t recognize me from television, asked me if I was enjoying my trip, and wanted to know if there was anything they could do to make it better. Anyway, it was nice to discover a new place, and I will definitely be going back.

Campbell Brown and Erica Hill did a great job while I was away, and I want to thank them for holding down the fort.

Tonight we focus on the race in Pennsylvania. The ongoing back and forth about bitterness, and how it is playing on the trail. We also go in depth on the ongoing drama in Texas over the polygamist compound, and the repercussions last weeks raid is having on polygamist communities across the country and in Canada.

I will be broadcasting from Miami tonight, and back in New York tomorrow. It's good to be home, and I will see you later tonight.
– Anderson Cooper


Filed under: Anderson Cooper
soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Morgan

    So glad to have you back Anderson! Sounds like your vacation went very well! I love traveling personally and i cant wait until im able to visit places like Columbia. Im looking forward to your show tonight! Did you get any color? Haha!

    April 14, 2008 at 7:09 pm |
  2. jay

    Bogota and Cartagena were wonderful places to be? If you say so.... okay, I'd add them in the pencil reminder of the places to visit. I'm covered in regards to immunization but probably a few more shots are needed before visiting. What I understand of Colombia is that the rich and famous live very comfortably but the poor don't as in some countries in South Asia. Also, kidnapping, human, rare speicies and drug trafficking are lucurative business of some shady locals. Is it not?

    On a different note, Andrea Casilaghi's girlfriend is from Colombia.

    I'm glad you are back. Relaxed and rejuvenated, you must be looking forwrd to be working.

    April 14, 2008 at 7:08 pm |
  3. Phil, Illinois

    I was out of town last week (well, you were out of country) as well, Anderson. I didn't catch 360 at all last week. I usually can't watch 360 when you are gone, so I'm happy I was gone as well. I'm glad you're back, and that you had a great, well deserved vaction.

    Have a great show tonight.

    April 14, 2008 at 7:00 pm |
  4. Maureen T

    Welcome back Andy! That's awesome that you took a whole week off! I will say though that you left us in good hands with Campbell and Erica! Looking forward to the show tonight.

    April 14, 2008 at 6:54 pm |
  5. Sarah

    Hey Anderson.......

    I am glad you are back. I did not see Erica's anchoring show on Friday, but I hear she did great! I did, however, review the live blog from the show.

    The polygymous compound is disgusting. I feel so sorry for those women and girls trapped in that situation.

    And as for the politics in PA, I am from the Pittsburgh area and no matter what the numbers say now I find it hard to believe that Western PA will vote for Obama. Even Democrats there are more conservative.

    As for South America, I'd like to go there some day.

    Sarah

    April 14, 2008 at 6:52 pm |
  6. Kathy

    Anderson,

    Anytime you can get away from it all and maybe Laugh out Loud and Often is a good thing. Hope you laughed a lot while you were off! It keeps us all sane!

    Count your blessings!

    Welcome back. Things are crazy out there in the democratic race! He said, she said ....blah, blah, blah......He drank a beer, she drank a beer!

    April 14, 2008 at 6:39 pm |
  7. Jo Ann

    Anderson,

    It is great to hear that you are back; 360 is just not the same without you! I was glad to hear that you actually did go on vacation this time, but I think that some of us suspected as much after you hinted at where you might go on your next vacation in your interview in this month’s “Outside Magazine.”

    Columbia sounds a lot like NYC, but exotic. I am sure the Latin food and music were wonderful! I hope you got to enjoy some of the fabulous Columbian art as well. It sounds like you may be thinking of doing a report about it in the near future.

    Above all, it must have been a relief to be “invisible” for a little while.

    As far as the Obama remarks are concerned, aside from the fact that this seems to be becoming a pattern with the senator, I found the suggestion by his supporters and many in the media, that the voters just don’t understand what he really meant, most distressing. Although I am anti-gun, I am still waiting for someone to explain what gun ownership has to do with being economically stressed. I doubt that he would have characterized economically stressed Blacks in the same way.

    Good luck with your lecture in Miami tonight. I look forward to tonight’s program!

    Jo Ann
    North Royalton, Ohio

    April 14, 2008 at 6:37 pm |
  8. Rania

    dude i just got back from london. it was really cold but nice though.
    but Colombia is a pretty Groovy place.
    Anderson Hopefully you won't be jet-lagged tonight

    April 14, 2008 at 6:35 pm |
  9. Camille, Belgium

    Cool, Anderson Cooper is back!!

    I'm happy you enjoyed your vacation. You know what Anderson, Belgium is also a great spot for vacation.

    April 14, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  10. Megan

    Hey, Anderson, I thought nobody in Colombia knew you but Sergio does! You have a friend!

    We are very glad to have you back. Campbell was absolutely terrific last week.

    Can you ring Miles up the next time you need a sub?

    April 14, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
  11. Kathy, Chicago

    Hi AC. Welcome back! The ladies did a great job! Columbia is a place you havn't focused on before. Maybe you can share some stories and pictures sometime down the road. It isn't a place I've really paid attention to until recently with the trade agreement talks. I hope you were able to kick back and relax.

    April 14, 2008 at 6:28 pm |
  12. Tammy

    Glad you're back. We all deserve a week to ourselves to unwind where no one knows who we are. Colombia actually sounds like a cool place to go (coming from a woman who thinks working in remote mountain villages in Honduras is a fun way to spend a vacation). I think as members of one world family we all want the same things no matter where we live. People just are intrinsically good. At least that's my experience. It's always awesome finding a new place that's a keeper on the travel destination list.

    April 14, 2008 at 6:28 pm |
  13. harry

    Anderson, looks like people in Colombia do know who you are and you have a new friend, Sergio!

    Campbell was terrific last week. But it is nice to have you back.

    April 14, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  14. Bethany

    Anderson,

    You are right. Vacationing in Colombia is not a typical get-a-way, but it is a unique spot in South America. I lived there for two years as I had a job in international education. The "vibrant" culture you experienced is an unforgettable one. Glad you had a great time while visiting my second home!

    Looking forward to tonight's show.

    April 14, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  15. Kriss

    I'm glad you finally got some rest! Can't wait to see you tonight!!

    Ohh and Erica Hill did great job!!! When Erica is there, she brings so much energy to the show!! It felt like you were there in spirit!

    Watch out Anderson or its going to be Erica Hill 360! 😉

    April 14, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  16. Patricia Cameron

    I love watching your show. I must give a comment about Hillary and Obama in the "BITTER" public eye. I am one of millions who agree with Obama, the public is becoming bitter each and every day when you have to pull up to the gas pump, and every day the price has gone up from 3 cents to 20 cents and each day it becomes worse. I live in Montana, and commute to work we are talking miles of country to get to the city. what 3% raise last month at work does not cover the increase in gas for my car. How are we suppose to make ends meet when the gas price is so high. Tell Hillary that her pocket book is padded by political pay. while mine is a 9-5 job, min. wage pay.
    She truly does not understand the average, day, for the average person trying to make a paycheck. Glad your back, missed watching you.

    April 14, 2008 at 6:14 pm |
  17. Michael, NC

    Some unconventionl places, but I bet they were the perfect break from the job. Those trips are the good ones, places to get away and experience life outside the states and outside our element for a while. I was expecting something a little more exotic, but sounds like a good time.

    Lucky you came back after a week, I am growing partial to Campbell, and always Erica.

    April 14, 2008 at 6:14 pm |
  18. Fay, CA

    Welcome back Anderson. It's good to know you made it through an actual vacation this time around without some sort of catastrophic event taking place in the world and you having to cut it short and come back to work again. I recently read your excellent interview in Outside magazine and am glad to see that you were able to get to Columbia after all–it sounds like a really exciting place to visit and the interview really made me want to get out a map and hunt down some of the more off the beaten track locations in the world to visit. I admire your adventurous spirit.

    April 14, 2008 at 6:13 pm |
  19. jan

    to Lilibeth–Are you saying that someone applying for the most important and powerful job in the world should not be scrutinized? Heaven help us if you are old enough to vote! welcome back, Anderson.Missed your total objectivity! Michigan

    April 14, 2008 at 6:12 pm |
  20. Stacey

    Seriously, write a book on unique travel destinations already! I love that people get to see Mexico & Cuba, but if I have to hear about one more beach at either of these places, I will not be help responsible for my actions. I've just started planning my trip to Africa, and it looks like I'm going alone because it's not to a beach – and I couldn't be more excited!

    April 14, 2008 at 6:11 pm |
  21. Kim

    Welcome Back!

    Vacation is ANYWHERE you need it to be. A week off at home or in a foreign country where you're not hounded by fans. Just being not at work for a whole week sounds good. (I am a mom, so even "vacations" require taking care of others, but so worth it.)

    April 14, 2008 at 6:08 pm |
  22. Paula, Colorado

    Anderson,

    Hi! Welcome back. I'm glad you were able to take a week's vacation–and one that you enjoyed. I saw your interview in "Outside" magazine, so wasn't too surprised that you would choose Columbia as a travel destination.

    I look forward to your program tonight.

    Have a safe trip back to New York.

    April 14, 2008 at 6:07 pm |
  23. Josh, LA, CA

    AC how about announcing ahead of time to the viewers that you will be away from the show? That way I won't tune in expecting a nice dose of witty prose from the Coop and then BAM! there's someone else in your chair.
    Just a thought.....
    Josh, LA, CA

    April 14, 2008 at 6:07 pm |
  24. Heather

    Welcome back Anderson

    I figured you were either on assignment for 60 Mins(and yes I did watch as I have since I was six, this time wondering if maybe you had some report, but no) or you were on vacation. My best friend spent a year there teaching while getting her masters. Every time someone says Columbia I think Romancing the Stone. Everytime. So yes I have that visual in my mind. Anyways, it's great you are back. How was the hotel?

    April 14, 2008 at 6:06 pm |
  25. K. Patrick

    Hey Anderson!!

    Sounds like such a fun trip, I'm glad you had lots of fun!! I always love to learn about different cultures around the world. There is so much to see! I find it very fascinating. I'm so jealous of you, because you get to visit all these wonderful places. I hope I can one day!

    Also, Yes I agree....Erica Hill did a FANTASTIC job on Friday!!
    We had been waiting patiently to see her host for the longest time. Finally, she got a chance! She did a great job for her first time. I can't wait to see what else she has to offer! Please make her the permanent Sub when you are away!

    April 14, 2008 at 6:06 pm |
  26. Carol B., Virginia

    It sounds like you got some R&R etc... in Columbia, while travelling incognito. That takes care of the question,"Donde esta' Anderson Cooper?" Your subs did a good job, too.

    April 14, 2008 at 6:06 pm |
  27. Stacy

    Many of you will say to yourselves, "why in the world would anyone go there for vacation?"

    Not me. Lying on a beach is nice, but boring. It sounds like you saw something new and had a nice time, which is the way a vacation should be.

    April 14, 2008 at 6:05 pm |
  28. sergio

    Hi Anderson... Thank you fot your nice comments about Colombia, that for us is very important..

    For me was very nice meet you in colombia, I hope you enjo it very much your staying here...

    i hope see you next time when you come back...

    I see you tonight on Tv..good luck with your show,,,

    The best for you .. a friend in Colombia.

    April 14, 2008 at 6:05 pm |
  29. Jasmine

    My sister and I were extremely worried about you – we thought another station might have stolen you away from CNN! Were glad you're fine and back on the air tonight – we won't miss a second of your show (with Erica)!

    April 14, 2008 at 6:04 pm |
  30. Charlotte D

    Anderson,

    Welcome back. It sounds like you had a more peaceful time in Colombia than you would have had covering the news here with all the sniping and bickering going on among the candidates.

    I will take your word for it that Colombia is a nice spot for a vacation. Thanks for the review. It reminded me of years ago when we went camping in Death Valley. Everyone looked at us and said, "Death Valley, why in the world would you go there?" I would reply how beautiful it was and how great the hiking was (not in summer of course).

    Stay safe in Miami and see you tonight.

    Charlotte D
    Stockton CA

    April 14, 2008 at 6:04 pm |
  31. Chelci

    Glad that you are back but I have to say that I loved Campbell...the show was AWESOME with her at the helm! She really knows her stuff and was the best sub you've had since John King. You better watch out she'll have your job! Just kidding....

    April 14, 2008 at 6:04 pm |
  32. jackie from s c

    I am so tired of Obamas speeches. I am a retired educator at the age of 70. Why can't
    ' the people see through him. I dont think there's
    much potental in his knowing how to lead our country. I constantly hear bad things about Hilary through the news media and I think she has the ability to lead our country regardless of what some people are saying. Journalists should puchase new pens that will enable them to give the true picture of her established capabilites to run this country.
    My hopes are,for the next administration, to see accomplishments made by Hilary and not just flowery speeches and promises made by Obama.

    April 14, 2008 at 6:02 pm |
  33. Nina - It

    Hey Anderson!

    Welcome back! I'm very happy you enjoyed your week off, you deserve it!
    I've missed you the whole week but Erica did an amazing job anchoring the show on Friday!

    See you tonight!

    April 14, 2008 at 5:59 pm |
  34. Sarah, Atlanta, GA

    Anderson, glad to hear you finally took a vacation and enjoyed yourself. Sounds like you had a great time.

    Erica did a FANTASTIC job anchoring the program on friday, but I am glad you'll be back tonite. Sounds like an interesting program tonite. Can't wait.

    April 14, 2008 at 5:58 pm |
  35. Kim Jung-Hae ( Seoul. Korea)

    Hi Anderson 😀
    I'm so glad that your back!! it brought a smile to our face...
    Anderson, I like your show very much and I really did miss reading your blog. I'm really looking forward to tonight's 360!!
    Keep healthy & happy!! Live with passion!!

    April 14, 2008 at 5:58 pm |
  36. Jacqueline

    Hi Anderson

    Welcome back!

    April 14, 2008 at 5:52 pm |
  37. Darlene

    Hi Anderson-

    I am glad that you're back this evening. Sure, the ladies did great but I missed seeing you all week.

    So glad to hear that you had a great vacation. See you tonight!!

    April 14, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  38. Judy Stage Brooklyn MI

    Welcome back Anderson. You were missed.
    See ya' tonight.

    April 14, 2008 at 5:41 pm |
  39. Megan O. Toronto, ON, Canada

    I am impressed that you finally went on vacation Anderson. Hopefully you are now well rested and ready to get into the nitty gritty of this political race. I would go to Colombia in a second if I could although I would go anywhere for that matter 🙂

    Looking forward to seeing you from Miami tonight. Have a great show

    April 14, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  40. pati mc., camp hill, pa

    Hey Anderson,

    Wow! That is so cool that you shared your vacation destination. Sounds good to me. I also love going to new places, especially where there are interesting and friendly people. Sounds like you hit the jackpot. Good for you for finally taking some time off too – yes, we know how you are, but you are still human – we all need some R&R now and then. Must also be pretty cool to be somewhere where you are not recognized.

    Visiting South America is something that I have always wanted to do. I like the way you see things, there is really no place that I would not go either. Friends call me crazy when I relate that I would totally go to Afghanistan if I thought that I could get in. And if I could find someone to go with. (I am not as brave as you are, I am not going alone! LOL.)

    Erica did a wonderful job while you were away, and it was nice to see the girls taking over. This is not to say that it is not good to have you back.

    Ah, Pennsylvania. Yeah, well I can tell you that we here in the Keystone State are waiting nervously to see how this will pan out. Even polling my friends and co-workers, it becomes clear that people here in PA are very confused, angry and just plain tired of it all. There really is no "general consensus" amoung my circle of freinds and family; mostly it is just frustration and the wish for it all to be over. Can't wait to see what you guys have to say. Hope we can look forward to Candy and David Gergen. They are the best!

    See you later and thanks again! We missed you.

    April 14, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  41. Dolores Austin Texas

    Well Anderson, I have to say that I am so glad you'll be back on the air tonight, I have missed you. All though I have to agree with you that Campbell and Erica did a great job, AC360 is just not the same without you.

    April 14, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  42. Pamina

    Hi Anderson,
    Welcome back! Your vacation sounds like it was educational and entertaining. What was your favorite place you visited while you were there? Have fun in Miami tonight.

    April 14, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  43. Kristien,Antwerp, Belgium

    Hi Anderson,

    I'm glad you had a great vacation!

    I guess Colombia wouldn't be high on my list of places to visit, but even in the worst places there are always nice people. Throw in some good food and music and you've got yourselve a great vacation!

    You are right, Campbell and Erica did a great job, but that's not really a surprise, the subs on 360 are always great! (John King, Soledad O'Brien to name just two)
    Having said that, it's really great that you're back and I look forward to tonights show, it sounds very interesting.

    See you tonight, Kristien

    April 14, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  44. anne newfoundland canada

    Hi Anderson:

    Welcome back!

    I am glad you enjoyed your week off,and it's great that you took some time for yourself.

    I am looking forward to the show tonight.

    Take care.

    anne

    April 14, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  45. Lilibeth

    Welcome back, Anderson! I'm glad you had an entire week off. I have to admit when I saw that you went to Colombia, I said, "Yikes!" Not a typical vacation destination, but sounds like you had fun and I'm glad you're back safe and sound.

    Yes, didn't Erica do a great job on Friday? I was so proud of her! She anchored the show so effortlessly.

    Pennsylvania...when I heard about the "bitterness" comment being picked apart, I said, "Here we go again." It seems that the candidates can't say anything these days without being scrutinized.

    Again, welcome back and see you tonight.

    Lilibeth
    Edmonds, Washington

    April 14, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  46. Christina, Windber, PA

    Hey Anderson
    It's great to have you back. Glad you enjoyed your week away. I'm not surprised that people approached you, even if they didn't know you from television. People can sense good in others so it's natural that they would feel free to approach you and want to make sure you were enjoying their country. Have to admit I am just a little bit jealous of your travels; it's been so long since I've been more than 15 miles from my home.

    Glad you got back safe and had a nice time. Looking forward to tonight.

    April 14, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  47. Claire in Birmingham, AL

    Glad you had a great trip Anderson! Granted, Columbia is toward the bottom of my list of travel destinations, but it sounds really fun. Hope you got a little color, but not too much sun =D . Glad you're home and I'm looking forward to tonight's show!

    April 14, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  48. Melinda

    Glad you had a good trip, Anderson. I wouldn't normally think of Columbia has a fun vacation spot but it's a good thing to see new things and experience new cultures!

    Looking forward to the show!

    April 14, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  49. carmela

    Welcome back, we missed you. The ladies were fabulous, but something (you) was missing the whole time. Glad you enjoyed your time off.

    April 14, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  50. Marcia

    Glad you finally got to take a real vacation and enjoy yourself. Colombia does sound like an interesting place to visit and not being recognized must have made it more so. Anyway welcome home and now back to politics 24/7

    April 14, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
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