Hola mis amigos
Well the fin de la semana is por descansar and descansar we did! On Saturday we headed off to the home of Humberto and his wife about 2 hours (should be about 1 hour but traffic is horrendous!) out of Bogota in a place called Villeta. Villeta is about half the altitude of Bogota so as we headed up and down, down, down the temperature and the humidity rose. The coutryside in Colombia es muy lindo. The grass on the hillsides look like velvet and the trees look fluffly. Everwhere is green with many plants, flowers and streams. As we head out of the city the houses become small and basic. They are dotted all along the roadside with every so often a group of houses being built together with some as shop or cafe fronts. Everywhere people are selling fruit. Quite different from the traffic light stops in Bogota where people sell anything by the road side including fire extinguishers and flags. Sometimes circus performers stop in front of your car to perform and then ask for money.
We passed through La Vega, a small town on route to Villeta where Nicola and i browsed some of the shops. Cured meats on sale, clothes shops, deli,s selling sweets and pastries, cafes selling beer, bike shops - door are never closed rather the shops spill out onto the streets. I´ve noticed that bike riders (lots of them) have coloured vests printed with the registration of their bike. As you leave the city you notice more bicycles and the odd horse and cart!
The heat takes my breath away but Ian who was struggling with the high altitude finds it much easier to breathe here.
We meet Humberto at a roadside cafe with talking parrots. From there he leads us to his house which is surrounding by sugar canes, banana trees and is in the heart of one of the coffee growing areas. We have to cross a stream to get to his house - just as well it doesnt rain much here! His house is beautiful and we are warmly welcomed. Raimundo, the trip organiser and his wife Marie Teresa are with us and so are Kiran's "parents" Miriam and German and two other rotarians Rafael and Amparo who we met on the first day. We a beautiful lunch and head off to the pool to relax (strictly no photo area!) LAter we play cards, listen to music, play group ping pong before having a later dinner at 9.30pm. Lunches tend to be big here, main meal of the day with dinner being served anytime between 7.30 to 9.30pm.
The next day we wander round the beautiful grounds of the house and into the chapel they have built behind the house. Humberto does not seem to bothered that a painting was stolen from the chapel during the night!! Maybe he is but doesn,t want to alert us to danger!
From Humberto`s we head off to Rafael and Amparos house in La Vega which is a weekend home sent in a secured complex. Before lunch i have a wee seat in the hammock on the balcony and quickly doze off! After lunch i go to read my book in the hammock on the patio and conk out for at least 2 hours. It was one of those sleeps i found it difficult to wake up from but when i did awake to an empty house (everyone had gone to the complex`s pool) it was to a beautifull setting sun caught between the mountains and giving off a warm glorious glow. The cicadas were out in full force. Kiran and Nicola make a chicken curry for everyone. Spicy food isnt the norm here so it was quite mild but delicious. We all sat outside and after a while we danced, we sang, some of us played guitar and we had a fun evening! The three chicas slept in the house next door and Liz had a late night dip in the jacuzzi as we listening to a nearby fiesta de campasino.
On Monday morning we thanked our kind guests and headed off to Supata. It was a bumpy ride down and round the rolling mountains. This was the place we were told was where we were delivering books into the jungle. As it turned out we were met by the Rotary club of Supata and we travelled with them to a small school down in the valley. It was not so much jungle but there were lots of banana trees around and it stood on its own serving all the local farms and homesteads in the surrounding area.
The rotary club have a 3 month book delivery service to the school.The kids were great and had made loads of banner and flags welcoming us as well as baskets of fruit and hand made fans.
It was a good day today and later we ate lunch at another rotarians house. We got back to Bogota around 7pm. I spent the rest of the night helping Beatriz`s granddaughter Marie Alejandra with her english homework and she helped me with some more spanish!