Not in the Guidebook!

Trip Start Nov 15, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Colombia  ,
Friday, October 5, 2007

Example of why we think Colombians are so friendly:

1. Meet Lionel "El Quemado" (the burned, because of a disfiguring scar on one side of his face) at the Periera bus station. Invited to stay with him in his village Belen de Umbria. The place is way off piste, and does not appear in any guidebooks or tour maps.
2. Met by Lionel in the town square. He is going on holidays and introduces us to his friend Javier, restaurant owner, chef extraordinaire and musician. Javier actually lived in Brisbane for 18 years working in the service industry and playing in a latin band. The curried rabbit he serves for dinner is mouth-watering. We're also shocked to encounter a real Kalamata olive, feta and other delicacies we've missed. He tells us his palate developed from years of waiting tables and hanging out with Greeks, Italians, and Indians in Oz. Just this week he has been interviewed by a TV crew from Bogota about his ground-breaking food.
3. Meet Javier's friends Hugo and Fabiola in a bar. They invite us to stay with them in Santa Rosa.
4. Next day, walk to his farm, and meet Javier's brothers at their platano (banana) and pig farm. One brother worked in the US for 7 years, 7 days a week in a factory that made shoulder pads for footballers. What a mind-numbing sacrifice, but happy now because he has his own piece of paradise. We also meet their big friendly dog who loves having his bum rubbed by the pigs. 5. Farewell Javier and take a bus to Santa Rosa.

You can say hi to Javier and have an exceptional meal at his restaurant Salsa y Sazón, Avenida Umbria #8-89, Belen de Umbria, ph 3527598.
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