Friday, April 14, 2017

my private armenia

We have arrived in Sevilla.

Not the Spanish city of Columbus fame, but the small town of Colombia fame. Or, at least, famous enough for this traveling trio. Patty’s father has a house there. And that is where we are staying.

If there was any doubt that we were no longer in the urban embrace of Bogota, this is what greeted us when we opened the front door. I almost felt at home. For me, it is goats. For Patty’s papa, it is cows.

This morning, we flew from the capital to Armenia. Even if Armenia had not been on our agenda, I would have requested a stop there. Place names can be rather eccentric, at times. And they are always worth investigating.

A member of Patty’s extended family, Humberto, picked us up at the Armenia airport. It was quite evident that we had left the temperate weather of Bogota behind.

Colombia contains almost every type of biodiversity imaginable. This region grows coffee. The clashing shades of green were proof enough that we had entered a tropical zone. As was the 20 degree jump in temperature -- along with a similar increase in humidity.

Humberto braved the semana santa traffic on the region’s narrow roads. We stopped in Montenegro for lunch. (And, yes, I will get around to writing an essay on Colombia’s food -- just as soon as I can stop savoring it.)

On the ground, the greenery has the texture of a tapestry. Towering wax palms. Coffee trees marching in orderly rows. Banana plants. Yellow bamboo. And a green bamboo called guadua that look like verdant ostrich plumes.

This part of Colombia has been settled only recently -- with the obvious exception of the local Indian tribes. It is now an ecological mix of cattle, horses, coffee, and bananas.

The entire town seemed to have turned up in Montenegro’s plaza this afternoon. After all, the entire country is on holiday. Once again, with the exception of the people who service us tourists.

One of them is a fellow who pushes children around the park in their own personal car. You would almost expect to see something similar in a Paris suburban park in 1895. Both scenes would be equally charming.

As we drove through the string of villages on the road to Sevilla, we made two beverage stops. The first was at a coffee shop. I have not drank coffee for quite a long time. Let’s call it 10 years. I simply am not fond of the taste.

But, we were in Colombia -- the reputed coffee capital of the world. So, I had a cup. I can now say I have recently consumed a cup of coffee.

The second stop was a roadside stand selling chica de piñ
a -- a mixture of sugar cane, pineapple, and water that is allowed to ferment fior 3 or 4 days before it is sold to passing motorists. Just like cowpuccino in Melaque.

Refreshed, we pushed our way up into the hills to Sevilla -- where we will spend the next few days. If we are all lucky, we might learn a few things about the production of coffee.

For now, I will simply relish our newly-acquired bucolic existence. Eva Gabor has nothing on us.

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