On Sunday, July 1, my friend Diego Andres invited me and some others to go to his hometown, Calarcá, and see the town’s anniversary festivities with him and his family. Calarcá is a town just outside of Armenia. It was my first time outside the city since my arrival, and it was awesome!
- Hanging out with Diego’s family during the celebration was probably the best part. Not only are they all lovely and welcoming people, but also just seeing them together as a family was very comforting – even amid the hullabaloo of the celebrations. Big thanks to Diego and his family for their hospitality! See the photo of Diego’s family below. Not pictured are Diego’s aunt, uncle, grandma and other relatives. I’m kicking myself now for not taking a picture with the whole group…
- Driving from Armenia (where I live) to Calarcá was an experience in itself. The roads connecting Armenia and Calarcá wind through the hills. As you drive, you pass rivers, coffee crops, cows. It’s beautiful. I don’t have pictures, unfortunately, because the road was so windey that by the time I was able to peer around the bend in the road and see the view, we were already around another bend!
- I finally had an excuse to wear my poncho! My friends showed me how to wear it in the cool way, aka, not like Juan Valdez. Instead they fold it and wear it like a scarf. See below.
- The jeep parade was so interesting. While Jeeps are an iconic American car, they have also become a symbol of Colombian culture and history. The U.S. apparently sold a bunch of military-grade Jeeps to Colombia after WWII, and the farmers began using them to haul massive amounts of cargo – coffee bean, bananas, etc. Now, the good people of Calarcá load up Jeeps and parade them through town once a year. The parade of Jeeps is called a Yipao. They also sup up the Jeeps to be able to do wheelies. It’s crazy!