13.12.2011 - 16.12.2011 21 °C
It has become apparent that there will be no sun really, to speak of. The clouds hang ominously like thick smoke in the sky. Armenia is hilly, which I like and you can see a lush green blanket of jungle spreading out over the hills which surround the town. It has a busy centro which is packed full of street hawkers selling huge tropical fruits, arepas, deep fried donuts all manner of tasty treats. We're back to the trolleys. First observed in Brazil. Ingenious customised trolleys for specific food or other preparation. Churros, popcorn, fruits, lottery. Ricardo takes me to see his fathers button shop. It's incredible. An old shop with it's original signage, and original shop fittings. Buttons, ribbons, cottons, zips. A haberdashers emporium. Nothing has changed for 40 years. I love it. Then in a sort of comfortable haze. We wander the busy centre and immerse ourselves in the hustle and bustle. We stop for green mango with lime juice and salt, my favourite. Unfortunately for me no one really speaks English this therefore renders me in a bubble, I have to learn Spanish. Essential.
Arepas (corn meal tortilla) are eaten with everything. Lunch or dinner at home is maybe meat or fish (usually fried) with rice and a sliced tomato or salad. Simple and tasty. The avocados are stupendous. The biggest avocado I've ever seen, is so delicious I can't stop thinking about it. Mashed on an arepa, it's perfect. I love the all the family and I'm being fussed over. Given presents and made to feel right at home.
The grandma, matriarch is an grand old dame who still wears lipstick and is, well incredible. She sat crocheting in front of me looking at me straight in the eye. She's 89 and her eyesight is perfect. Her garden is a joy and I'm inspired. Pots are the way to go. I want frangipani and aloe vera and everything she has, but will these work in London? I fear not.
Ricardo's parents have a tiny Pomeranian doggy called Canella (cinnamon). When she was a puppy she fell off the bed and twisted her neck. She now has a permanent cocked head. So her head is always to one side and it spears she is always looking at you. I will upload a picture. It's quite funny.
It's done it again. South America and my hair just don't get on. It's done that flat thing, what's going on with it? Flat on top wispy ends. BAD hair again, sigh. I have to experiment with different shampoos. Ricardo is also having the hair problem too. REN expensive shampoo, you don't work in Colombia. Sodium laureth sulphate all is forgiven, crossing fingers this works better?
I'm od-ing on tat. The Christmas decorations are super tat. I've never seen such extreme tat! Ed would love it. They love all kinds of lights. Preferably with as much colour and flashing. Then there are these stuffed toy father Christmas´s, snowmen and angels. Then just in case you might pop to the loo and forget what time of year it is...they have Christmas toilet seat covers, Christmas wee drip mats, bath mats and towels. The nativity scene at the parents is enormous. I've never seen anything like it, it's basically a nativity town. I resolve to do a similar one from now on at home.
I will list who is there for Christmas day. A few I've not yet met. We are having a roast pig with an apple in its gob for Christmas day apparently! Let's cross fingers for some veggies too.
Plus possibly Angela, Ruben, Suzanne and Samuel.
And not forgetting, Netto, Lina, jeronimo and Sara. And Carlos and Victoria. Who I'm meeting soon in Medellin. I feel like in a my own version of 100 years of Solitude. Still one of my favourite books. Or Cien Anos de Soledad.
A remarkable thing happens on Thursday. Ricardo, his mum Martha, her sister in law Camilla and I jump into Camilla's car to drive an hour to Pereira. For a divorce! Ricardo is getting divorced. I'm very happy. He is too. My boyfriend is officially a free agent.
Need more vegetables.
Going to be the size of a house if i continue to eat everything I'm offered/given to eat.
I'm in a nation on feeders. All the women continually offer you sweets, fried dough balls...
They can talk like I've never heard talking before. They hardly stop to breath!
The love hotel road (on the outskirts of the towns, where you shack up for an hour or two with an illicit lover, or just because you still live at home with your parents).
The awful sculptures. The naked stretched man. Truly terrible.
The torrential rain.
The tiny yellow taxis.
The horse mane extract shampoo? Is this the secret? I'm too scared to try.
Another surprise. Flight booked to Bogota and tickets for Nicholas Jaar! We'll stay with a friend of Ricardo's.
So Thursday eve. We sit supping Club Colombia. Delicious cerveca waiting to board to 35 min flight to Bogota.