Thursday, April 21, 2011

A little Colombian side trip

Bernarda had called the night before to make the accommodations and arrangements. I had checked the long range weather forecast and it called for rain all week in Medellin. We were going to a place called ECO PARQUE EL GAITERO ,in Santa Fe de Antioquia. About fifty miles from downtown Medellin. In my visits to Colombia this was going to be my first opportunity to get out of town, and see some countryside.
We took a taxi from the condo to the metro Poblado terminal, there we met the bus that would take us to the park. The bus was the large van type that was very similar to the bus we rode in at the Methodist mission in Costa Rica. Ten passengers plus the driver, who looked to be in his early twentys,pulled out and started our journey , it was sprinkling rain. We wound out of the city and at last we were driving through the mountainous countryside.Approxamately twenty miles out we came to a tunnel. I have been through many tunnels in the US but never one three and a half miles long. They could hold a 5k race in the tunnel and the runners would never see the light of day. We stopped at a small restaurant fuel stop in the town of Saint Jeronimo called the Bomba Texaco. We had some hot chocolate and some very tasty made on site rolls Called almojabana pandequesos
.Everyone loaded back up in the bus ,It was still sprinkling off and on, we resumed our journey. Roughly twenty more miles and we turned of the paved road onto a gravel narrow road that would take us around and down the mountain to our destination. Some beautiful sites but with the rain on the windows of the bus it did not make for good picture taking. As soon as we pulled into the parking lot the rain stopped and the sun came out ;beautiful. We headed for the restaurant and had a cup of coffee, then walked down to the lake and picked up a couple cane poles and some bait .We walked to a spot that looked good and tried our luck. These poles had a couple pegs that the line wound around and If you were an expert like Bernarda you could make that cane pole act very similar to a fly rod and cast with it.Bernarda said just one moment, and walked back to the pavilion coming back with a bucket for the fish we were going to catch---optimist. We fished for awhile watching others reel in fish after fish but for us it was looking like we were only to be fish feeders and not fish catchers. After awhile we picked up our gear and headed to one of the other lakes as this one had become extremely crowded. We walked back the growing lake where the smaller ones were protected and no fishing was allowed, A worker was manually removing algae that was floating on the lake as we walked by. Approaching the next lake we saw an area that looked like it would suit us fine .No other people close and a nice shade tree. We soon found out why no-one else has captured our spot as the journey traversing around to it, was very slippery and treacherous. We soon claimed our spot and began fishing .I had my bait stolen a couple of times and then I had one, It looked like what we call a brim. Soon Bernarda had a fish on her line and It was a small mouth bass. I caught another ,then Bernarda caught a really nice Talapia.We fished for a while longer but it had warmed up and I think the fish that we were fishing for all went to the bottom in the middle of the lake. We were visited by five long eared Brahma crossed cows that were curious to see what we were doing but as I talked to them and approached they scattered and wanted no part in us. We took our fish to the fishing pavilion and they gutted them and weighed them and we paid 9100 pesos for our fish.(about $4.00)
It was time for lunch so we headed to the restaurant and had some very good chicken and rice with salad and beans. With a citrus mango drink. After we ate Bernarda checked on a guided horseback tour of part of the park and we had a half hour to kill so we walked and watched people, always an entertaining thing to do.
It was time for our horse back tour so we walked on over to the stables. I was reminded of my cousin Allen who lived on my home farm (where I was raised).Allen had several Arabian horses all beautiful and some more spirited than others. The first time Allen talked me into riding ,he had a young gelding named Riaad An Arabic name not sure of the spelling. Allen Saddled him up and then told me that he would ride him across the dike and back to get him calmed down a bit then I could ride him. As soon as Allen cleared the saddle Riaad took off like he was chasing the wind. They galloped to the other side of the dike ,Allen turned him and they blistered back across the dike, and up the hill skidding to a stop as Allen jumped off and said ok Your turn. Allen and I grew up together and he knew that I was one half fool hardy and the other half crazy, So of course he knew that I would hop right on. With Riaads eyes doing a little dance going around in circles, I hoisted my leg almost halfway over the saddle when he took off at a full gallop. My legs never did get in the stirrups so I just wrapped them around his neck and held on. We soon were at the other end of the dike, Riaad whirled around and without missing hardly a beat we were once again at a full gallop across the dike, up the hill ,past Allen, as I was pulling back on the reins yelling whoa---whoa across the yard ,across the driveway and under the clothes; line. Needless to say we both did not fit .
With those thoughts in my head we walked to the stables. The wrangler brought a horse around for Bernarda and held the horse while Bernarda effortlessly sprang into the saddle. He then brought My horse around and I eyed it suspiciously. He held it I threw my leg over the saddle no problem, We eased out of the stables and started down the trail It was plain that my horse liked to be in the lead so I just gave it rein and let it pick its own way through the rocks and down the trail . I came to the conclusion that the horse knew where to go so I let it. As it turned out we had a wonderful ride ,lots of fun and many pictures. We got back to the stables and Bernarda got off her horse and jokingly said ouch
Ouch lol.
We walked from the stables to the main area and headed for the changing rooms to put on swimming suits. After a nice leisurely time in the pool it was time for us to get our things together and load up in the bus.
I did get some pictures coming back out as we climbed and rewound around the mountain but the road was so rough it was tough to get clear ones. When we got to the main road A Young guy came up to the bus, obviously knowing the driver, he asked for the driver to pick up two ladies in Saint Jeronimo and the driver said ok. We headed back and when we arrived in Saint Jeronimo. We pulled off the side of the road and called. He then received directions and we drove through the little town passing many people carrying small crosses. We drove through town stopped and asked directions once ---turned around --sat outside a house and honked the horn. We started back into town ,the phone rang and the driver turned the bus around again drove back to where we had turned around--and there were the ladies now waiting alongside the road. We picked them up the started back into town but only got to the edge when all traffic was stopped. The priest carrying a long staff, with all his parishioners and a small band were parading through the main street of town from the Church to ?. It began sprinkling rain as we crept along behind the precession , they turned and once again we were on our way. A short stop at the Bomba Texaco and the rain started falling heavily. It was dark now and the rain and darkness made visibility poor. We came around a corner and just in time the driver hit the brakes and we then moved slowly through mud and rocks from a mudslide. We traveled along where once the water was actually running across the road ,and a couple places where rocks the size of a large grapefruit were strewn across the highway. Once we arrived at the tunnel and went thru the weather improved and the rain slowed. We arrived in the outskirts of Medellin when a large bus the size of a Greyhound bus pulled into the road in front of us and forced us to stop. I had been extremely proud of our driver up to this point.
Our driver decided that he would make known to the driver of the large bus his displeasure so at the first opportunity he sped in front of the bus and then hit his brakes. Apparently the driver of the large bus not to be outdone then when we were beside started moving over until our driver had to hit his brakes to avoid hitting the bus or the inside curb. We were now on a four lane road ,Our driver sped around the bus --got in front and then at the next light waited until it turned green and just sat there. We then drove on the large bus turned off and the excitement was over. Like something out of an action movie--ha--only in Colombia. We were dropped of at metro terminal then took the metro to Poblado terminal, caught a cab to the apartment, Put the fish in the freezer, turned on the TV, and Chilled.

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