Rollin' in the Pesos!
Trip Start Apr 07, 2013
12Trip End Apr 21, 2013
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Everyone said we should try the juices here and Juan Claudio gave us a list of some fruits that you just can't get in the States. We took our list of must have fruits to a nearby juice stand for an après breakfast beverage. The wooden chairs and tables were completely covered in writing, sketches and signatures so we had plenty to keep us entertained while our fruit was cut and pressed (we'll be making a return trip with a sharpie to join in the fun). I got guanabana and Brittany got zapote. Ever heard of them? Me neither. They were both delicious and we were pleasantly surprised to realize we had no convenient way to describe it. Neither of them tasted like anything we've had before. How often do you discover a new taste?
Thirst quenched and stomachs full we stepped back into the heat and trekked to the Old Town. Brittany convinced me to visit the ATM just one last time before we tried calling the credit union. The two of us squeezed into the tiny booth and followed the prompts.
We still didn't have any idea of what we should do or see so we pulled out the guidebook and read up on the town under some trees. The gold museum sounded interesting and it's free, so that topped the list. Thus began a hot, sweaty, and fruitless search of over an hour. Finally we stumbled across a tourist information kiosk and were helped by another exceedingly friendly Colombian. It turns out that we had been circling the place the entire time but it just didn't matter how close we were; it was closed on Mondays. What's open and nearby? The Inquisition Museum! Any time you hear the word "inquisition" you know you're in for a good time...
The museum is in a centuries old building that has been very carefully restored. The second level was dedicated to showing the before and after pictures, explaining how difficult it was just to figure out how to repair things. It took many years of expert craftsman labor to complete, and the end result is spectacular. The other floors were dedicated to less pleasant things. The first floor had various rooms filled with instruments of torture. Morbid, but (if you're a guy) very interesting. Who actually sat down and thought this stuff up? One of the rooms was all about witches hunted down by the church. There was a plaque (one of the very few signs in English) that described all the questions an accused witch was asked
We wandered through some plazas in search of lunch and found another balcony view. I guess we're both a little taller than the average Colombian because the chairs and table made us feel like giants. We were right next to the School of Fine Arts, and there were street vendors everywhere. Things were pretty quiet while I de-boned the whole fried fish on my plate (if you order fish you will get exactly what you asked for) but then school let out. It seemed like they released the kids in stages, from oldest to youngest. No matter their age, they ALL swarmed the vendors. I suddenly understood why they had been camping out there; a steady line of 15 people occupied each of them as they frantically handed out ice creams and juices to meet demand. It looked good, but I'm already intimidated by the language. Trying to order with 14 hungry Colombians waiting for me to get out of the way would just be torture (for me AND for them).
When 2PM rolled around we decided it was time for a siesta and walked back to the hostel
Once Brittany felt up to it we hit the streets for some cheap grub and ended up with a surprisingly good pizza. Throw in some glass-bottle sodas (somehow always a thousand times better than what we can get at home) and we were flying high for a total of $14,000 COP! I'm still always pleasantly surprised by how rare English is in the restaurants. It makes the experience all the more authentic and is putting some fire under my butt to learn a little Spanish.
We're going to visit the main fortress tomorrow and then go to a meeting at the local Kingdom Hall in the evening. Google maps says it's only a one hour ten minute walk. Brittany said no :)