Sunday, September 13, 2009

Adios Ibague!

Waiting by the gate.

The time has come for our adventure in Ibague to come to an end. The airport in Ibague is a small place and the security is just right for air travel. It's not the 1984-esque police state that we endure in the United States, but a screening center, identification check, a second screening and then you're off to the plane.

Rouki and I are flying off to Bogota for a couple of days before returning home. Alirio and his wife and Diana have come to see us off. Alfredo and Carolina join us and our Colombia Coffee Family is complete.

Alfredo and Carolina arrive con azucar.

It's been an amazing time here in Ibague. So much to consider. So much to process. It's a melancholy time at the airport as we sit around waiting together. Alfredo and Carolina have brought us a going away gift of sugar packets. Not the simple packets you find at your local coffee shop but the same sugar packets we saw earlier this week at Sonata Cafe with the love messages.

Here, at this little airport in the middle of Colombia, we rediscover the joy of flying. It's a trip back to a time when people actually could wait with each other and see each other off. Only at the last minute do we leave our group and head for the tarmac.

It's a sad moment to leave our friends but I look forward to the time when we will see each other again.

No trip would be complete without one last photo.

A Sunday Brunch Like No Other

For the past week that we have been in Ibague, we've been eating breakfast at the Mercure Hotel's Cafe Bistrot. For the entire week it's been a quiet affair with very little going on. Even at night, when you expect the town's most prominent hotel to be pumping, the social scene is dead. In many places you'd come downstairs to find a bar or disco and the chance of meeting women. At the Mercure, there's another Italian restaurant and that's about it.

Until today.

Joining Rouki for our morning breakfast routine and suddenly the hotel was alive and packed with people. Colombians mostly, plus a few of us who are here for the coffee expo. Everywhere you turn you find Colombia's finest suspended or compacted in the clothing that only Colombianas can wear.

In other words, it was a beautiful brunch...

The Salsero

Pork on a stick and a salsa dj at the Multicentro mall.

How do you explain to someone that you really wanted to see them when the photos look like you're having the time of your life?

The plan was really quite simple. Finish the workshops, head back to the hotel to shower and change, then attend the fiesta where that certain someone is waiting for and expecting you.

The execution didn't quite turn out so well.

Evidently, the fiesta was being held outside of town, at some place more than twenty minutes and a pricey cab ride away. Thus, no one wanted to go and I was stuck either at the hotel doing nothing or just tagging along and hopefully finding a way out to the fiesta and the call at 10pm to say that I was stuck and still trying to figure a way there was not met with a happy response.

Ever had someone tell you they're waiting for you and want to see you when you want the same but you can't? She sounded pretty mad.

Drunken besos from the otra Diana at San Juan.

By midnight I decided that I might as well start drinking and powered down three mixed drinks of rum and tequila. At 12:30am, I began to think that it didn't matter that I didn't know my way around the city, I could find the party.

By 1am I decided that I would go and tried calling. Three times. No answer. Either: 1) she was busy (she was one of the organizers of the party and the entire weeklong event), 2) the music was too loud to hear the phone, or 3) she was waaay pissed off to answer my call. Whatever the case, I was screwed. Time to drink more.

Yo soy Salsero.

With no girl, no phone calls and too much to drink what better to do than start dancing salsa? Or perhaps what passes for salsa while dancing while drinking.

Of course, all of this become worse if, the next day, that certain someone who was expecting you to salsa with her is viewing the photos from your camera and finds you, The Salsero, dancing with someone else at some club called Don Juan...

Diego, Carolina, Alfredo, myself and Rodrigo in the midst of cerveza y ron.