Saturday was my last day in the company of Dorine. She made her way quickly to Ecuador while I took my time, going in the same direction but making a long halt in Cali. Before that, however, I still wanted to enjoy some of Salento’s serenity.
My idea was to leave on Monday. But, before that, I wanted to walk along the coffee route and visit a coffee farm. So I thought I might leave early in the afternoon. However, with Dorine gone, there was nobody there to help me keep an eye on the time. So I woke up late, which made the accomplishment of afore mentioned objective as good as impossible. Even less since I got distracted even before I was well on the coffee route. As I stopped in front of a shop to take a picture of a cat, the owner arrived and asked if I wanted a… coffee. So I went in, took a “tintico” and got acquainted with Sergio, the coffeeshop keeper, and Dante, his cat. Sergio had been travelling South America as well but with a specific aim. As a cook, what he had been focusing on was food. A gastronomic trip.
With the necessary caffeine inside my body, I was now completely ready for the walk. It took me one hour and a half to get to the farm. There, I had the opportunity to visit the plantation, helped to harvest the coffee beans and got the explanation about the whole process. At one point, the good beans were separated from the bad ones. “The first ones are meant for the export. The others are the ones we consume here in Colombia.” She said this quite naturally, without indignation of any kind but I was shocked. So here they produce one of the best coffees in the world. But only foreigners get to taste it. The drama of South America in one sentence: incredible natural resources that benefit those living anywhere but here. I was sent back to the Latin American bible: “Las Venas Abiertas de América Latina” – The Open Veins of Latin America”. But, somehow, that rule did not apply to that particular farm. Its limited organic production is meant for local consumption.
In the evening, there was a barbecue organized at the hotel. A nice way to get in touch with the other hotel guests. Although I already had had the chance to meet Marie and Trempette, two French ladies. They were surprised to see me there, as I had told them of my intention to leave in the afternoon. They were again surprised to see me there at 9.00 in the morning on the following day, as what I had told them next was that I was going to leave very early. Apparently, they thought it was funny, as I heard Marie shout: “Hey, Trempette! Sarah! She’s still here!” Stick to a schedule. Still not my greatest strength.