September 14, 2007
SALSA; SALSA ; SALSA
Colombia Pt 2
After some random Cocaine nights out with friends and locals in sweet ol Cartahenga, we moved quickly south to the city of Medellin hoping to make it in time for the Annual Flower Festival. This is a big event in the area calendar with campensinos from surrounding villages descending in throes with huge boquet arrangements of flowers on their backs and a lot of weeklong partying.
Unfortunately we had been supplied with the wrong dates and arrived a little earlier than expected, so we headed 6hours south to Zona Caffeteria and the quaint little town of Salento for a couple of days. Here we indulged in local trout, big homemade sandwiches and a lot of drunk card playing with some cool british kids we met. Juliet and I also visited a coffee farm and had a good chin wag with the owner about the price and competetiveness of the coffee market and I went off on my own to lovely Cocora Valley. A valley, which described to me before depature as "a place even an idiot would have trouble getting lost in." I of course managed to somehow wander off the real path into some stunning scenery and gain a hell of a lot of altitude. After passing beautiful acres of cloud forest and 60m high palms I luckily managed to gather the path was a tad irregularly high and rushed back down to the park entrance before dark but not in time to get the last jeep back to Salento. My limited spanish conversations with the locals proved little comfort and I decided to walk back as dark descended with an unknown amount of kms ahead of me. Not a single car passed me in my direction and the lack of any lightsource or even habitation proved very spooky and ethereal. Fire flies flooded the banks and the paddocks to my side and I walked on unable to see my feet thanking god i wasnt tripping right now. Luckily the town was only 12 or so km away (I had already walked 24 kms that day in Cocora) and manged home at about 9pm. Much earlier than the ETA of midnight i had given myself.
Another 6 bours and we bumped our way into Medellin again as the climax of the flower festival was approaching. This was offset by bumping into a lot of old friends, some of whom had not actually left their hostal in 3days due to large stocks of cheap beer and the availability of taxi delivered coke. In fact the night before the large flower parade juliet, myself and a slew of random people muddled round the nightlife area until 6 in the morning and barely crawled out of bed in time for 3pm parade through the city. We sadly had managed to make very few of the hundreds of activities going on, but I prided myself in making it to the hevaily crowded parade site while many of my friends failed.
Medellin is an important city in Colombia and the former Drug Cartel headquarters. This is the city where drug money ruled everything in the 80s and Escobar had a huge mansion 3 hrs out of town with half the population on his payroll. It´sn also the city where Botero was from and his statues are scattered all over the city. Nothing is quite like seeing the twight bend the shadows of horrendous fat brass men sitting on horendous fat little brass horses in the main square. It´s also a town known for it´s women and nightlife, and silicon alley is a hell of a weird and wacky place to hangout to go dancing.
On the bus ride to Popoyan I got severly sick and I had to bed down in a lovely new hostal on arrival. Intersped with watching a lot of almodavar movies and feeling sorry for myself (and the people next to the bathroom), Juliet and I wandered around this whitewashed city before getting word of Pisco and expecting the worst. Luckily nothing came up the coast past Peru and I´m still waiting for my first earthquake experience. Another night and I was well enough to handle 6 hours of terrible roads to the lovely little town of St Augustin. The town is the site of a wealth of Pre Inca ruins and burial mounds and a supposed eductaional cocaine factory I unfortunately failed to locate. One particular ruin took us hours to get to, walking up to the edge of a vast canyon and scracted in giant pictures on the rocks overlooking the river way below were very vivid shamen and condors.
We took the path less travelled opting a road I had previous no knowledge of existing, bumpily through spectacular country to Pasto. The bus brokedown numerous times and it began to get very cold. We had been specifically told not to travel at night in these parts and it was 1 am before we made it to our hotel. The next day was a full day of travel also with no breaks to the Ecuador border and on to Quito. The border was terribly slow and we were more than a little sad to be leaving out favourite country so far. I guess it was Colobias way of telling us not to leave.
Books Read: Laughter in the Dark/ Camera Obscura - Nabakov,
Music: Justice, Single Frame Ashtray, This Heat, Les Savy Fav - Go Forth, Film School
Posted by alex at September 14, 2007 12:35 PM