The inocentes revisit where they met…sort of

18 Aug

I believe the general reading populous of “people I know” is aware that Greg and I met in college at UC Santa Barbara. In this episode of Inocentes Abroad, Greg and I make a trip to Santa Bárbara with new and newer friends to have a home cooked meal.

It has been just over a week since Greg and I met Diego and Carlos (not our “regular” Carlos, or the tree lawyer Carlos; a new, new Carlos). Diego and Carlos have been friends with Erika* for nearly 20 years. Last Wednesday, we were having drinks with Tam, [regular] Carlos and Jota when Erika and her two friends dropped by. Tam and Jota were celebrating the finale of their Duke Engage presentation (more to come, later later) and the general mood was upbeat.

Diego and [new] Carlos fit right into the group, and the evening was a pleasant one for Greg and I, and a really, really fun one for the rest of them (they all went out to party afterwards).

Before parting ways, Diego invited all of us to his mother’s house on Sunday in Santa Bárbara for sancocho. While in the US the idea of Santa Barbara brings to mind ocean breezes, island vistas and wineries (and FIESTA), the Santa Bárbara of Antióquia is a much different place, though still beautiful.

The drive from Medellín to Santa Bárbara takes about an hour and a half. We went from the bottom of the valley and up into the mountains, climbing into the Andes to our destination. The city itself is perched on top of a mountain, and from some streets it looks like if you walked far enough to the edge you might fall off into the valley below. From the city, you can see the surrounding valleys and rivers, and on either side the valleys are bordered by huge, green mountains.

We (Greg, I, Tam, Jota, [regular] Carlos, [new] Carlos, Erika, Diego and his son) arrived at the home of Diego’s mother, which reflects the typically colonial architecture that many are accustomed to: houses are built with high, straight walls all the way to the roof, with narrow, tall doors; once inside, there is a central sitting area, with a hole in the roof open to the sky. The rooms were colorful with bright walls and lovely paintings, and there were birds everywhere. Four cages lined the courtyard, and another cage was placed outside on the back patio.

We were all welcomed warmly by the Doña of the home, Diego’s mother. We drank many juices (people here love juice!) and finally sat down to a big bowl of sancocho, while the Doña watched us enjoying it, asking us how it tasted, whether we liked it, what we needed to enjoy it more and imploring us to EAT ALL OF IT. When we were done eating and resting in the backyard, the women of the house who had prepared everything retired to the table to have their lunches.

This is another thing that I’ve noticed here. I was told beforehand that people who welcomed us into their homes would roll out the red carpet and wait on us hand and foot. This has been true of every house we’ve been to, as has this other fact: when people feed you here, they watch you eat. They watch over you to make sure you are enjoying it, ensuring all is OK and that you want for nothing. Then, later on, they will enjoy their meal at a separate table. At its heart, it’s a kindness, but it’s also a bit daunting when you stop to take a breath and someone asks you if anything is wrong with the food.

After resting and chatting, we went for a walk around the town, and eventually settled down to have a few beers, sodas and coffees to while away the afternoon. Afterwards, we returned back to the house, relaxed for an hour or so more, and made our way back to Medellín, exhausted but full and content.

The Doña wouldn’t let Greg or me leave without promising to return, so we hope to be back sometime in the future to relax in the mountains.

*I have been misspelling Erika’s name this whole time as “Erica”; forgive me!

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One Response to “The inocentes revisit where they met…sort of”

  1. Lea Anthony August 18, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    How Charming.! A Santa Barbara flashback for the 2 of you. Looked like a lovely place and lovely people. Keep working on the panorama shots because pictures are beautiful.

    Kisses, Mom

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