We are home. After a year in Colombia, a month in Peru and a few days in New York City, I am back in Johannesburg, wondering what to do next. Instead of concentrating on the future, however, I find myself reflecting more on the year that has passed. And I have to admit: Colombia, I miss you. Continue reading
After living in Colombia, or Barranquilla more specifically, for almost a year now, I feel like I’ve mostly assimilated to the Costeño attitude and lifestyle. While I still stand out like a sore thumb due to my low level of Spanish and Gringo appearance, I’ve probably become as laid back and carefree as most of the coast-dwelling folk. With that said, I still get frustrated with some of (a lot of, actually) the ways they do things. Some frustrations I can acredit to cultural differences, but many things appear completely illogical. On my year long adventure, I’ve noticed many idiosyncrasies and I’ve compiled a list of those most infuriating. Now, this does have to come with a disclaimer so that I don’t offend or give anyone the wrong idea. I see things from my sheltered, South African perspective, so many of these examples may seem pretty ordinary to you.
Cali, the capital of Colombia’s Valle del Cauca department, is a city full of character and spirit. It was the last stop on our June trip, where we spent just two days before flying back to Barranquilla. The country’s Afro-Colombian heritage is really evident in Cali, where the people are warm and passionate, and the city buzzes with a seductive energy. Continue reading
After spending the day exploring the Hacienda Venecia finca and sampling some Colombian coffee, pretending to know whether the aromas were spicy, earthy, or chocolaty, we left Manizales and made our way to Salento. Salento is a tranquil little town in the Quindío department, at the heart of the coffee triangle, and is the gateway to the stunning Cocora Valley. Continue reading
Our two-week escape from the Colombian coast feels like an eternity ago. Well, it really has been ages now, since I’ve been quite useless when it comes to keeping this blog updated. Continue reading
After five days in Medellín, we left the big city and set out for the Colombian countryside. On our two hour bus ride, we watched lush green hills roll past the windows before arriving in the small town of Guatapé. This pueblo is built along the banks of a reservoir, created when the government flooded the area in the 1970s. Apparently, at the bottom of the lake somewhere lies the original town of Guatapé – a casualty of the nation’s hydroelectric power needs.
A two week vacation recently marked the halfway point of this year-long Colombian adventure. It was a holiday that I desperately needed after all the work I’d been doing last semester. Hah.
This trip saw us venturing inland, leaving the costeños behind and travelling to the land of the paisas. We hopped on an early flight to Medellín on June 20th with the low-cost airline Viva Colombia, and flew back from Cali fourteen days later. Stepping off the plane, we were instantly relieved to escape the suffocating heat and humidity of the coast, and from there things just kept getting better. Continue reading