In The Heart of Colombia's Coffee Region

I am approaching day 9 here in Manizales, a medium sized city right in the heart of Colombia’s booming coffee region. But i’m not going to talk about coffee much this time. Rather, the 7 day Feria de Manizales that ended a few days ago. So choo choo, lets begin!

In The Heart of Colombia's Coffee Region

Many days begin with a cup of Juan Valdez coffee. Juan Valdez is like the Starbucks of Colombia, except it actually a coop owned by a union of coffee farmers.

In The Heart of Colombia's Coffee Region

These are some friends. Monica from Colombia, Jordi from Italy, and Diego from Buenos Aires.

In The Heart of Colombia's Coffee Region

The four of us hung out at Monica’s apartment my first night while Jordi cooked us one of his native pasta dishes, consisting of pasta with a vegetable based sauce of condensed milk, onions, peppers, carrots, mushrooms, etc.

Afterwards, the four of walked down the street for an electronic concert in the park. A quick observation is that this city is filled with soooooooooo many teenagers. Its ridiculous. Going out to discotecas or bars at night means hanging out with 15-17 year olds. The concert ended at 11 PM, just in time for the teenagers to get to bed.

In The Heart of Colombia's Coffee Region

Another day I was befriended by a Colombian couple from Bogotá.

In The Heart of Colombia's Coffee Region

They own a company that rents out musical equipment for concerts all throughout Colombia. They were here in Manizales to rent their equipment for huge sold out Marc Anthony stadium concert.

In The Heart of Colombia's Coffee Region

After chatting for a bit, they invited me and an Australian girl to come watch them setup for the concert the following night.

In The Heart of Colombia's Coffee Region

After an hour or so of wandering around the stadium, we walk directly outside to watch a car race around the stadium.

We met up again for dinner with a bunch of Colombians also staying at the hostel. This week has definitely been about practicing Spanish. My ability has definitely regressed from last year. My theory is that as I learned more complicated grammar is takes me more time to process what I want to say since I have a wider range of information to use.

By the way, I ate a pretty good chicken shwarma.

In The Heart of Colombia's Coffee Region

Walking back to the hostel revealed a very authentic looking US Army vehicle.

In The Heart of Colombia's Coffee Region

Wandering outside the hostel is a giant parade complete with beautiful Cristal Aguardiente (Anise flavored alcohol) girls dancing in a truck.

In The Heart of Colombia's Coffee Region

It is perfectly normal for Colombian soldiers with giant guns to help control the flow of pedestrians.

In The Heart of Colombia's Coffee Region

Another night some friends and I taxied it up to the city’s lookout point.

In The Heart of Colombia's Coffee Region

Of course we were not the only ones there as there was a widespread carnival going on, complete with games, clowns, etc.

In The Heart of Colombia's Coffee Region

Climbing this tower provides the view of the city.

In The Heart of Colombia's Coffee Region

Later that night I watched the Juanes & Miguel Bose concert. Juanes is arguably the most popular Latin American musician right now.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHH-q4t6k3s]

In The Heart of Colombia's Coffee Region

The following morning I watched even more live music at the Reggae, Reggaeton, and Hip Hop day in the park. One of my favorite groups, Dragon y Caballero happened to be playing!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwCyFpCrWbM]

In The Heart of Colombia's Coffee Region

They are pretty big, as you can see.

In The Heart of Colombia's Coffee Region

But before them, I and many others suffered through the performance of this reggaeton singer with a lisp. It was awful.

In The Heart of Colombia's Coffee Region

And finnally I am going to share a few random pictures from the park.

In The Heart of Colombia's Coffee Region

A bunch of Colombian soldiers huddled in the back of a truck.

In The Heart of Colombia's Coffee Region

Gambling with guinea pigs again.

In The Heart of Colombia's Coffee Region

Jason Bartoli
Jason Bartoli

"Jason is the best person you'll ever meet here. He's just a ray of sunshine. An adventurer, businessman, and has a 4.9 Uber rating. Lovely person inside and out. I say, go message him" - My Mom

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