Jardin is very nice. Way up in the Andes, settled 151 years ago today, in fact. It seems to be more affluent here. The countryside is yet different but similar to other parts I’ve seen. Humid, cloud forests, coffee plantations, agriculture all over the mountainside. Jardin is less visited by foreigners and moreso by Colombians. Mostly from Medellin. Especially on weekends. So there is even less English spoken here than I’ve yet encountered. I’m managing to muddle my way through. I read about this place on tripadvisor when I was searching to get out of Medellin. Here is a helpful link I found http://discovercolombia.com/jardin-colombia-garden-of-eden/ and http://wikitravel.org/en/Jard%C3%ADn.
I’m staying in a hotel here. Hotel Valdivia Plaza. The rates are really inexpensive. 30000 for weekdays and 58000 for weekends per night. And they take VISA! My room is nice, tile bathroom which looks newly renovated. And TV. Of course its all Spanish dubbed or programming. On the weekends breakfast is included, yay! I’m right on the plaza so its central (like this place is so huge), which also means noisy. Being hearing impaired has its benefits. My first night wasn’t bad at all, see what the weekend brings… there was a parade this morning.
Its very festive here lots of colourfully painted homes and buildings, and tables and chairs in the plaza. Lots of people sitting out along the plaza and streets having coffee, ice cream, visiting. There are lots of motorbikes, no taxis, jeeps, bicycles (kids mostly), horses, hand pulled carts and moto-ratons (think India), chivas, and cars. By the way the cars in Colombia vary from Nissan, Kia, Toyota, jeeps, GMC, BMW, Mercedes, VW, etc. Plus there are car brands I’m not familiar with. And, as you can imagine the much older models are in various degrees of repair.
There is this ginormous church that overlooks the plaza. I mean HUGE. Its the most impressive I’ve seen in my Colombian travels. In fact there are 3 churches in town. Strange to me. The plaza church rings its bells regularly. I went in yesterday to look around and a service was taking place, with priests in confessional booths waiting to hear confessions.
The thunder and lightening starts at about 1.00ish PM. It is loud. I mean on your doorstep, earthmoving, china breaking, startling LOUD. If you’ve not been this close to the heavens, you have not experienced thunder like this. Then it just buckets. Then it clears up. And everyone returns to the plaza. Then it does so again in the evening. You can hear the cracking sky for quite some time first. And see the dark clouds coming. In fact its like in the movies when there is an active volcano nearby, its constantly talking. Quite amazing. People run out to the plaza to tip the chairs inward and wrap them up in plastic with the tables. Last night I saw this guy standing in front of the HUGE church in his shorts (regular boys shorts) no shirt or shoes in the pouring rain, arms outstretched to the sky. I wouldn’t have noticed him if he wasn’t under the light. The rain is heavier here it seems, almost like someone drained a bucket over you. This afternoon seems quite cooler after the PM rain.
There is a cafe here owned by a German expat. I sought him out yesterday to ask questions. He was quite friendly and informative. The pizza was great. He told me of some things to do, and said if I have poor Spanish it would be difficult to navigate any kind of tour in a moto-raton, or hike/horse adventure. Don’t I know it! I still like it here regardless. At lunch today a man had approached me to ask where I’m from. He is from Medellin. His English was nominal. He and his wife were friendly. I’m thinking this weekend will be busy here. Lots of people arriving.
I went for a very nice walk this morning around the town, and on a country road. Reinhardt said it would be safe to do so. Walk anywhere. It was very nice. I picked up a companion on the way back. A dog! It followed me all the way into town. They have a saying here, please don’t steal my dog, I cant afford to keep replacing them. However, its the dog that follows the person. Something else, dogs are all over in every place in Colombia. Most of them are strays. And none of them are neutered or spayed. The Colombians don’t believe it necessary.
Well thats all for now. If you are interested in learning about the busses in Colombia, read my reply to my sister under moving on.