Stepping back in time in Raquira

Trip Start Dec 10, 2011
Trip End Sep 29, 2012

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Where I stayed
Casa Viena, Villa de Leyva

Flag of Colombia  ,
Sunday, April 1, 2012

I leave at 7.30am from Villa de Leyva on a collectivo minibus to Raquira. About thirty minutes through the green colombian highlands. I arrived to the colourful houses surrounding the square and a church. I walked over a bridge to the market area and sat at one of the food places, large burnt saucepans smouldering over the fire ash covered cooker. I asked what they had for 'desayuno' breakfast, and I had eggs and hot chocolate with bread. As I sat here reading my book a little, I 'people watched'.

I saw older ladies and men walk over the same bridge to the market stopping to ask the price of things being sold on the street. The more elderly people were wearing hats, ladies as well. Large ponchos to keep warm and stockings up to their knees, showing the latter just where the skirt hem them. I walked around the market to see it being setup, this was pure Colombia. I smiled a lot as I took pictures and said 'Buenos Dias', Good Morning. More people looked at me, I was the tourist attraction, but mostly people did not care as they were haggling down the prices of salted fish or potatoes!

One woman bought some panela whilst holding onto her newly bought two live chickens in the other hand, with a head of one chicken tucked under her armpit. When she'd finished she stuffed the two birds into a straw bag, twisted it around and slung it hastily over her shoulder ready for her trip home.

One lady patiently waited for her husband to make a decision on the salted fish, she wanted. I saw them count their money, and then half the portion and re-weigh it. The church bells rang and I slowly made my way there and joined the service in progress. A cute little boy dressed in pastel blue and white cloth came around for the collection. Half way through bells rang agains and outside what sounded like fireworks going off. I shook hands with the others around me and smiled. I prayed for my Mum and wished her a speedy recovery from her back pain. I realised I did not need to pray for myself. I was happy.

Another lady sold very yellow cooked chickens, slicing off the parts of it the person wanted to buy. I followed the sound of the fireworks with a lot of other people and came to see where they were being set off. Then I saw a crowd all holding large green palms and singing, I walked with them back to the main square as two men kept setting off the fireworks off at the back very close to everyone with a big bang that jolted you. It was Palm Sunday and I was in for a real treat seeing this procession through the town, I'd now also realised why it was a hub of activity with only local villagers coming into Raquira for the special church service. I saw a lot of people dusting themselves off as they got out of a cattle truck turned into a make-shift bus to transport so many people here. I only saw two other foreign tourists that day. 

I stood with many others in the church near to the back and listened and watched the service everyone holding up their large palms. I checked the time and realised already I was going to need to leave for one more look around the market before taking a bus to get back to Villa de Leyva, else I'd be also part of this village tapestry stuck in a timewarp, way in the Colombian past but to be honest I could think of worse places to be stuck with all the wonderful fruits, vegetables, fresh food and welcoming people. I made one more stop at an empanda stand and got myself a beer for the road.

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