Tables Turned: Lost in Bogota..V
Tables Turned: Lost in Paradise - Armenia II

Tables Turned: Lost in Paradise-Armenia

I decide to leave Bogota without a plan.  My hosts Myriam and Andres are skeptical.  They prefer I wait and book a tour.  I do not want to.  Monday was a holiday and it made a minor mess of my plans.  Everything was closed.  I had to use the Internet to figure out what I wanted to do. To be honest, it was not much help.

There really was not that much information on Armenia.  This is the eje de Cafetera.  The land of coffee. Being a coffee fanatic I wanted to visit here.  I had no expectations and no idea of what I was getting myself into.  A real adventure.

I decided to take a bus at 4:30 in the morning.  This would get me into Armenia at 12:30.  I bought my ticket the day before.  I slept during the afternoon as Alex said he wanted to come over and dance with me before I left.  In the end he canceled, and I was wide awake.  I decided not to sleep.

The taxi came for me at 3:30 am.  I got to the terminal at 4:00.  It is very interesting being the only woman in the bus terminal at 4:00 in the morning in South America.  They have to behave because there are police and a few military guys.  It doesn't stop the leers. 

I am told to go to Sala A.  I wait there until 4:20, and then a young man comes up to me and tell me to go to Sala B.  This is on the other side of the bus terminal.  So me and my rolling suitcase roll over to Sala B.  I go over to the window and a gorgeous young man tells me to wait.  Oh yes I will.  I wait.  I wait.  Until I go to ask again what is going on, he tells me the bus has been canceled.  I start to want to kill him, but then I realize I am in Colombia not Buenos Aires, so I smile.

I go to the window of the bus company and they tell me the bus will now leave at 6:15.  Terrific.  I do not feel like sitting in Sala B with all the leering men, so I decide to see what is out in the termina.  Dunkin Doughnuts.  No thank you.  Yes, really.  I walk a little further.  Each coffee place is full of men.  I don't feel comfortable.  Finally I find a place that has 3 women working in it and a drunk looking guy hanging over a newspaper.  I order a capucchino.

I sit and read my book until 6:00.  Then I go to Sala B.  By this time I think I am famous in the bus station. The men from the bus company greet me.  I have been elevated to "Amor" and "Mami".  My bus will now be leaving at 6:30.  Welcome to Latin America.  At least now I am not the only woman in the sala.

Finally they call us to board.  I am thrilled.  I cannot believe.  Although the bus is more like a large van.  It holds 20 passengers.  I am seated next to a young girl who looks like she is 12.  It turns out she is 23.  Her name is Judy.  Her family owns businesses in Medellin, Bogota, and Armenia, and she is checking up on them. 

The bus is supposed to be direct.  Another lie.  It makes a stop.  A man from the back yells at the bus driver.  He is angry.  He thought the bus was direct too.  Salsa music is blaring.  The driver gets to choose the music.  At least I like salsa music.

Mostly I am sleeping and watching out the window.  We stop for lunch at 11:30.  The food looks wonderful.  Sancocho, ajiaco, arepas, and many other dishes.  I just cannot eat heavy food like that so early in the morning.  I have yogurt and 7up light.  Everyone thinks I am nuts, along with my wierd Argentine accent.

The scenery begins to change.  I do not think I have ever been in such a beautiful place.  I am amazed at how gorgeous it is.  So untouched.  At 3:30 in the afternoon, we role into Armenia.  I have no idea where I am.  Me and my suitcase and my wierd accent go up the ramp into the bus station.

First stop is the tourist desk.  There are two young adorable girls.  I tell them I am interested in staying in a finca.  Not to expensive.  They pull out a book.  This one looks nice they say.  They obviously have no clue.  I give them my phone to call.  The prices are outrageous.  The use up all the credit on my cell.  I feel like I am in a version of Romy and MIchelle's high school reunion Colombian style.  I ask them where I can muy more credit.  They point to up the ramp.

I walk up the ramp.  The guy there is a trip.  Not only can I buy credit he can charge my battery.  I ask him about places to stay.  He gives me cards for two hotels in the city.  He tells me I should go see Alfredo in Local 41.  I leave my cell with him and take my suitcases and roll over there.  On the way, many men ask me if they can help.  I finally make it to Alfredo.

Alfredo is great.  He is a real tourist information person.  Besides knowing all about the coffee plantations, he asks me if I need a place to stay.  He recommends a finca to me for $15 a night.  I go to get my cell.  I go to Alfredo and he loads me and the suitcases on the bus, tells the driver where to dump me.  I think Alfredo and tell him I will see him tomorrow.

I am a rare bug on this bus.  Everyone wants to talk to me.  We ride out of town.  Armenia is amazing.  As we leave the town we head into the most beautiful place I have ever been.  Soon we are down a country road.  The driver stops the bus and honks the horn.  He tells me good luck.

I am greeted at the door by a heavyset woman who introduces herself to me as Rosa.  I am in awe.  Can you imagine me without words?  I cannot speak.  This place is so beautiful.  Marble floors throughout.  Amazing rooms and furnishings.  I feel like a princess come home to the palace.

Rosa is taking me on a tour.  She has Jose leave my luggage in a room.  The grounds are mindblowing. There is a small swiming pool.  The gardens are lush.  I have to pinch myself to believ this is real.  If there is a heave on earth, then it is in Armenia.  I have to be in one of the beautiful places in the world.

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Mario el Maldito

More great writing from the Queen of Spam!
The adventures in Colombia sound so inviting, you make them sound soooo interesting and they probably are after such a change of ambience..and people. It must be quite a culture shock to be amongst such a change of behavior from confrontive (in your face) to almost Mexican. How long do you think it will take to tire of it? Will Medellin be the movable Tango feast of your dreams? Stay tuned!

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