The inocentes in the coffee region

10 Apr

Our friend Erika invited us on an awesome tour of part of the coffee region for the weekend, and we knew we couldn’t pass up the chance–especially given that our time here is winding down.

The coffee region is often referred to as the “coffee axis” or “eje cafetero”. The axis is made up of three principal cities: Manizales, Pereira and Armenia. Our bus took us to the furthest outpost of the axis, to Armenia, where we stayed at a finca hotel, otherwise known as “a place without wifi”. As a 21st century girl I was itching through my skin, but the peace and quiet of the countryside (without a lot of external stimulus) was welcome. We took walks down long dirt roads, passing fields of coffee and plantain trees and horses and cows. There were birds flitting about everywhere, darting into and out of the coffee bushes and from tree to tree.

We spent early Saturday on a balsaje, a bamboo-like raft floating down a nearby river. The water was very muddy, but despite its lack of aesthetic beauty we still jumped in and floated through some of the lighter rapids. We disembarked at one point down the river to visit a huge, beautiful waterfall, and we had a traditional lunch of rice, chicken, yucca, potato and egg, all wrapped up nicely in a leaf. Food that is also a present! Love it.

When we got back to our home base, we played balero for ages. The wikipedia page calls it “cup and ball” but it’s more like “stick and ball” and infinitely harder than the ol’ “cup and ball” game. You’re basically holding a stick attached to a ball with a small hole; you then yank the ball up and as gravity pushes it back down again you try to land it on the end of the stick. It took Greg about 30 minutes to get it; it took Erika an hour; it took me A DAY. IT’S HARD!

Easter Sunday should have been spent at the Santa Rosa thermals on the way back to Medellín, a waterfall leads to thermal pools in a lovely resort town. I have been meaning to visit the thermals ever since I read about them, and I was excited to finally be able to visit.

Unfortunately, I got food poisoning–again. So Easter Sunday was spent in Armenia at a hospital getting antibiotics and a few saline IVs to re-hydrate my pathetic little body. The tour group was well on its way to Medellín by the time we checked out of the hospital and checked into a small hotel in Armenia to pass the night before heading back to Medellín the following Monday.

I have nothing else to add to this post except for I GOT FOOD POISONING AGAIN. Seriously. AND HOW?! I’ve been sharing plates and food with other people, so why am I the only one eating these poisonous pieces?

OK, I’m going to curl up with my drugs and sleep off this craziness. Coffee region wins this round.


One Response to “The inocentes in the coffee region”

  1. Lea Anthony April 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    OH NOOOOO not again!
    You are very unlucky sweetheart. I know you are being careful.
    Jane caught some kind of intestinal parasite when she was in South America and was sick for a long while. Water can carry these things In rivers and streams etc.
    So when you swim, pinch your nose off and cover your mouth at the same time. :0

    Enjoy your remaining time and stay well.
    Kisses, Mom

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