Yesterday we had a meeting early in the morning to finish coordinating the festival held today, and to finalize plans for next week’s trip. Afterwards, we went horseback riding.
We rode the 45 minutes to the location, all eight of us, in a cramped bus/car thing I forgot the name of- but we made the ride a fun one, and as we inched up the mountain the temperature decreased markedly.
It was a cloudy day, which made the clouds sit upon the mountains in such a way that it felt as if we were under a cloudceiling with mountainwalls.
I took this picture for D.C. and Matt, though I don’t know if they read this blog. Matt is a friend of mine (a few years older) who studies peace studies and conflict resolution at American University.
The town we went to was quite small, and this was the main road. This series of pictures was special, though, because of the man inside of them. He walked down this road (as you can see) and right after the second picture was snapped, he stopped in the doorway of a small wooden house with a tin roof, where his wife and infant son were waiting. He (ever so gently) embraced his wife and (ever so carefully) kissed his son’s forehead, and they just stood in that doorway, oblivious to everything but that moment of family.
In the second picture he’s so blissfully smiling. He’s smiling because he sees his wife and child and he knows that, in less than a moment, he’ll be able to embrace them. And so he smiles, so genuinely.
I could be wrong, but I doubt any of them will ever leave South America; perhaps not Colombia. Their lives are here, their time will be spent here, and they are content with that solitude. One Hundred Years of Solitude, in real-life form. I often struggle with the ideas of time and its habit of forgetting; I more often struggle with the ideas of humanity and its habit of forgetting.
These people will be forgotten, this moment, this road, that embrace (which happens every day, every week, every month, every year) will be forgotten, and they seem content with that reality. A reality which begs me to ask (and answer, eventually, hopefully) the question: Why cannot I be content with that reality?
We walked up this road until we stopped at a small restaurant (that doubled as a house) and tried aguapanela. It’s a cane-sugar water in which you submerge slices of cheese. After these have melted, you eat the cheese and drink the water. It’s quite good and perfect for a mountainous area which becomes chilly- and reminds me almost of the butter-tea that is common in the areas of Nepal and the surrounding Himalayas.
Afterwards we went to the stables where we paid the equivalent of six dollars (12,000 Colombian pesos) to ride for an hour. (And between you and I- riding horses hurts your buttocks).
So now you’re just going to see a lot of horse pictures! And me on horses. But here, there isn’t a selfie-shaming culture, so selfies are included. (I was on a horse). ((I don’t know why I’m even defending selfies as if they’re a bad thing because they are not)).
My fellow North Carolinian on a horse.
And we’re off! (First time on a horse, by the way).
Laughing. (I am in love with laughing pictures).
Carlos! We bonded over books (he, too, has read The Romanov Prophecy!).
So we had to cross a river. All of those long afternoons watching Western films with Pawpaw Griffin came back full force.
Carlos just trotted right over the water while the rest of us plodded along slowly (and quite wetly).
Go-Pro on a horse. Definitely not in those old Western films!
Straight out of a Western, he just needs a hat!
These kids- maybe 7 and 10- were leading us around like the little pros they were.
Super happy Anna (Wisconsin)!
This pathway reminded me of a scene from Anne of Green Gables (a series I’m still in love with).
Then we crossed a bridge…
…then up a steep, narrow dirt hill with an even steeper drop on one side.
Then we stopped with the horses and climbed this impossibly steep and beautiful staircase to a viewing area.
Where the view was, indeed, stunning.
This one’s for Justin and all of my other Pokemon-loving friends.
The light on the mountains here is so beautiful- I think that’s what I might miss the most.
Then we went home (this time by bus!) but, since the Global Festival was today, we had to cook “typical” foods of our country. Unfortunately we couldn’t cook anything hot, and had limited ingredients, so we improvised chocolate chip cookie bars and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in Anna’s host parent’s home. After a few mix-ups including mistaking the Spanish for “baking yeast” for “baking powder”; a true gas stove that kept turning off; oven temperatures in Celcius and not Fahrenheit, but data not working so we had to do the math ourselves without a formula; the minor problem of forgetting to add salt; and the fact that the cookies took an hour and a half to bake, they were done. And a great hit (thought they tasted nothing like home).
PB&J assembly line.
And, for funsies, this is the milk aisle. It all comes in bags and it’s not refrigerated. Also someone was brilliant with product placement.
I know this was long, but I had to share all of my horse-riding pictures. I’ll put up a Festival post tomorrow (:
(For those at home reading: I acquired a package of Kinder Buenos for when I return!)