On Saturday afternoon, I stepped out of the lovely little La Roca hotel, and was greeted by Andres, a local guy hanging around the plaza doing nothing in particular. He and his rescued dog Venga escorted me to the weekend market, where I proceeded to go nuts over all the luscious fruits and veggies. Fresh produce: my idea of heaven. Andres introduced me to a variety of fruits I had never before tasted... including a sweet-potato thing best eaten drenched in honey and salt, with a tiny round of coconut fruit in the middle. Yum! Unlike I would do back home, I never once considered washing off the fruit before eating it. Maybe I am naive, but I couldn't imagine these fresh crops being drenched in pesticides.
Later, I sat with Andres and Venga, munching on crisp string beans while he gave me a good long lecture on the state of Colombian politics and the strength of the nations's export-based economy. He reiterated that the country, with its vast supply of primary resources, is not at all dependent on tourism or on imports, and this explains its relative success. "Si no tenemos, hacemos", he told me. If we don't have it, we make it. A pretty good DIY philosophy, if you ask me.
Later that day and still laden with bags full of fresh mangoes and mini plums, I ducked into a gold-plated church and happened upon a full-scale Colombian wedding. It was stunning; everyone was dressed to the nines, dark suits and elegant dresses. Of course I hovered in the back of the church and waited to take some photos of the splendid celebration as the wedding party exited the church. And I was not the only gringo to do so!
So now we come to Sunday. Having just returned from a bouncy, one-hour cabalgata through the surrounding hills on the back of a lazy little horse named El Principe, I am now happily stoned on Motrin, and will probably spend the rest of the day exploring the little town, snacking on local treats, and people-watching in the plaza. Maybe I will go see the indie movie playing tonight at the Salon de Eventos in Casa Quintero, not even caring what language the film is in.
Yeah, it's a tough life. But someone has to do it.
PS: I will upload some photos just as soon as I find the patience to do so. Stay tuned!