Santa Rosa de Cabal, ColombiaGreetings from Colombia. I´m so sorry I haven´t blogged yet from Colombia. Internet and computers have been unreliable and I have been going, going, going since I got here. I was planning on going to a coffee plantation or horseback riding to waterfalls today, but when I woke up it was pouring rain. Now it is clear and warm... that´s how it goes.
I´m in santa Rosa de Cabal now. It´s a smaller town north of Pereira. Since I my plans were cancelled today, I slept in and then went out in seach of food. I ended up eating at the same place I ate dinner last night, Restaurante y Cevecheria el Calamar (Calle 12 No. 12 53).... soooo good! If you ever end up in Santa Rosa, go there. It´s amazing!
Before and after lunch, I walked through the main plaza which is just 2 blocks from this stinky hostel. Every time I´ve been by that plaza, it´s been bustling and today was no exception. I also walked through and around the mercado (market) just south of the plaza. It´s the Super WalMart of the town. They have fruits, vegetables, clothing, shoes, restaurants, pretty much anything you need. The best part though was the Willys Jeeps outside the mercado. I´m in love. I SO badly want to bring of these home! (I´ll add photos later.)
The history of these Jeeps is really great. In the early 1950s, the US shipped a bunch of Army surplus models here. To market them to farmers in Zona Cafetera, expert drivers loaded them up with cargo and manuevered them over obstacle courses in the plazas and up and down church steps in towns like Santa Rosa de Cabal. The farmers were instantly sold and continue to drive these Jeeps (mostly older ones, about half I saw were Willys) today. Yesterday´s trip to San Vicente proved that you aren´t going anywhere in the mountains in a normal car. There were many Willys taking 10 or more people and a roofload full of produce up the mountain. Mind you, I took a shuttle bus which rarely went over 5 mph... these roads are serious. I´d love to be in Armenia (Colombia, that is) for the Yipao parade, ´´where pimped out Jeeps are loaded up with agricultural products and furniture and driven around town on two wheels´´ (Lonelyplanet.com).
I´m off to San Andres island to meet Kristy tomorrow, so I´m not sure I´ll be able to blog until Tuesday. I just found out last night that San Andres is east of Nicaragua!
PS. I´ll try to backdate posts from earlier in my trip if I can. ¡Adios para hora!