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!
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.
These are some friends. Monica from Colombia, Jordi from Italy, and Diego from Buenos Aires.
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.
Another day I was befriended by a Colombian couple from Bogotá.
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.
After chatting for a bit, they invited me and an Australian girl to come watch them setup for the concert the following night.
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.
Walking back to the hostel revealed a very authentic looking US Army vehicle.
Wandering outside the hostel is a giant parade complete with beautiful Cristal Aguardiente (Anise flavored alcohol) girls dancing in a truck.
It is perfectly normal for Colombian soldiers with giant guns to help control the flow of pedestrians.
Another night some friends and I taxied it up to the city’s lookout point.
Of course we were not the only ones there as there was a widespread carnival going on, complete with games, clowns, etc.
Climbing this tower provides the view of the city.
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]
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]
They are pretty big, as you can see.
But before them, I and many others suffered through the performance of this reggaeton singer with a lisp. It was awful.
And finnally I am going to share a few random pictures from the park.
A bunch of Colombian soldiers huddled in the back of a truck.
Gambling with guinea pigs again.