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herbert and i

In the Heart of coffee country

COLOMBIA | Friday, 15 August 2008 | Views [627] | Comments [5]

Arriving in Armenia around midday i then got hopelessly lost again. I ended up stopping at a furniture shop. A hotel was recommended, I must have looked pitiful blackened face because the lady hailed a taxi and got me to follow the taxi to a hotel, which she paid for. Apparently i am the first Australian they have met and they were so proud that i had come to their city. The next hour and a half in an exhausted state i had to feign interest as i was bombarded with information. All i wanted to do was have a cold shower and a sit down for five minutes. They were all so nice that I couldnt excuse myself, cold drinks were bought out to me during all of this. Armenia is a thoroughly modern city and very wealthy, good roads spotlessly clean with lots of pedestrian malls and extrmely friendly people. The city was flattened by an earthquake eight years ago, but there was no signs of that. When i finally got to sit with a coffee as in proper coffee, the town halfwit had to come and disturb my peace. I had to laugh, as all the locals were, as they walked past and saw me humoring him. A full day here and on to Cali to meet up with Juan Carlos from Horizons Unlimited.

The ride to Cali was an easy ride on a 4 lane highway. The new government really has security as a priority, there were soldiers at every bridge and all the way along the route. Trucks were being stopped and searched for drugs i think. On reching a town called Buga i hailed down by two policemen. No checks of any kind exceopt to ask if i had tried Colombian coffee. I was then ordered to follow to a cafe where they bought me a coffee and waited expectantly for my seal of approval, when the nod was given i couldnt believe how excited they got. Then it was on to meet Juan Carlos at his workplace. He met me at a service station on the edge of Cali on his immaculate Kawasaki 600, then took me to a steak house for a piece of prime Argentinian Black Angus pampas fed, it really was the best steak i have had in years. He organised a tour of the power plant he works at, for me in the afternoon. Then everyone gathered around, took photos bombarded me with questions, i cant begin to explain how welcome they made me feel. Then another hell ride through peak hour traffic to Juans home, i know i have said it before but it is chaos, no ones in a lane, cutting in on you, buses its mad and no one seems to get hit. A few days in Cali where i will be shown the old town and a lake tomorrow i think, suprises can be fun.

The next day i was shown are Cali taking in all the sites as well as  dusk view over the city from Jesus Rey a lookout to the west of the city. Then a nightime tour it is a lively city with music and all sorts of entertainment which all include dancing. Sunday we set of for a lake called Comitan i think and yet another power station tour this one a hydro plant. Occ health and safety isnt really a priority here as i nervously walked under the leaking intake valve for one of the turbines. Extremely interesting and a really thorough tour. Then a suprise i was driven two hours through the Cauca Valley into the surrounding hills  to Juans sisters farm. The whole family were there to greet me, great plates of food and cold drinks, what better way to end the lunch but with Cuban cigars. I cant begin to explain how priveliged i feel to have met these lovely people and to be shown such warmth and kindness. On the drive home we stopped at a roadside stall bags of postres were bought for the trip home. All of this and they wouldnt let me pay for a thing.



How priviledged to be in a place that the locals no know no aussies. Do you feel like Indiana Jones

  Tina Conde Aug 16, 2008 10:11 AM


G'Day Tony
Been off line for a few weeks ... great to pick up on your adventures ... you really need to get a GPS to help with getting lost ... fantastic descriptions of you run ins with the cops ... keep it coming ...

  Chris Aug 16, 2008 7:09 PM


Hi Tony,

Thank you for the presents. Adriana and Lea say hello.

Stay Safe

  Tina Conde Aug 17, 2008 7:41 PM


Hi Tony, thank goodness for that Columbian coffee! Now I won't have to get Kylie to sneak in Lavazza...Netty xxx

  Annette Edwards Aug 18, 2008 9:07 AM


Hi Tony.
I continue to enjoy your travel journal.
Keep well.

  Richard English Aug 21, 2008 9:25 PM

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