A Taste of Local Life in La Tebaida de Armenia
Trip Start Nov 29, 2010
16Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
He, like many in/around Armenia, is out of work now. He brought me to his job interview, unlike any I had ever seen, and then back to the house (by bus) in La Tebaida. Jairo uses LOTS of local words and phrases that aren't even used in other parts of Colombia, forget other countries
Back in the days when the drug cartels were much more active in Colombia (late 80's and early 90's), a law was enacted that 2 men could not ride around together on a motorcycle. This is because the mafia thugs and assassins would typically ride around 2 on a motorcycle to do their business. So, Jairo and I had to head to the farm before sunrise in order to get to the farm before the police started watching the roads
Breakfast was excellent and consisted of farm fresh eggs, hot chocolate with fresh milk, home made cheese, and juice. Forgot to take a picture of that meal. Lunch was also made from several fresh ingredients by Jairo's mom. I relaxed and read most of the afternoon while Jairo weed-wacked the property. Jairo's parents had a lot of questions for me, and I in return asked them plenty as well. The government seems to be making it harder and harder for small-time farmers like them to get by in favor of lower-priced, higher tech mass producers
Jairo didn't get the job, so we ended up hanging out a lot during my stay there. He's funny and was good enough to explain almost all of the local slang that he used to me, which although was useful in the moment, I didn't try hard to remember because I know I'll never need it again. I talked a lot of business ideas with him taught him some English which he plans to learn. Apart from that most of my daytime was spent catching up on economic/investment reading from the past few months which I had pretty much ignored.
Friday night Yuli & I got together in Armenia to go dancing with most of her work friends that were on the Nevados Park trip. The 2 guys that were on the trip, Miller & Gustavo, are hilarious a lot of fun to be around. A good time was had by all.
I can't put into words well enough how good Angela and Jairo were to me. I was on a declining cash balance while waiting for my new card to come from Costa Rica, and they treated me to way more than they should have or needed to considering I was a complete stranger crashing at their house
On Saturday, while Angela worked, Yuli, Jairo, & I went for a bike ride around Tebaida. New foods included cow stomach (chewy and gross) and cow intestine stuffed with rice and some meat (so so). Then on Sunday all 4 of us went to a place called Canoas, a nice river with some swimming holes. New foods included Colombian tamal which is cornmeal with rice, veggies, and meat and is very good, and chicha a fermented fruit liquor which is also pretty good. It was a nice weekend getting to know areas of the coffee zone that very few if any Gringos have ever seen.
We all had dinner together most nights, taking turns cooking (even though it was mostly Angela, dinner & breakfast), and just sat around talking at night. I was anxious to get my new card so I wouldn't be so dependant on them and also so I could treat them to a few meals or drinks or anything. The following weekend Yuli had classes at the university on Saturday, but managed to score some free passes from a friend to the Botanical Gardens and Panaca, the farm theme park, for Sunday
The following Thursday my card came, and I decided to head to Cali on Saturday morning so I could at least experience one day of the weekend in the salsa capital of the world. Yuli & Jairo waited for the bus with me and we said goodbye, but it wasn't too sad because Yuli had vacations from work and planned to meet up with me on Tuesday in Cali so we could travel together for a couple of weeks in southern Colombia and Ecuador...coming soon!