|Hacienda Anacaona in San Agustin|
We did. (So for those of you who in the pool of many days in Colombia would it take for me to be kidnapped by guerillas or narco-terrorists: if you had a number 8 or less, you lose.)
Finally, as we began descending the mountain, the fog lifted. The temperatures warmed. The rain stopped. The pavement returned. (!) The road widened. Soon we were descending into the beautiful, old colonial city of Popayan, La Cuidad Blanca, the White City. Why La Ciudad Blanca?
|Popayan: La Cuidad Blanca|
|La Cuidad Blanca indeed|
|View from across the square|
|Juan Valdez Cafe is a national chain of coffee shops. Seriously.|
|A white llama in a white town|
But there was no time to see this beautiful white city in any sort of detail. I had to get to the bus station to catch an inter-city bus to my next destination, Armenia. We missed the "2025" bus, which would've been direct from Popayan to Armenia (with a stop in Cali). So I had to take the "2065" bus to Cali, where I would transfer to the 2025 bus that, supposedly, hopefully, would be waiting for me in Cali.
Cali is a not-very-nice place. There was litter eveywhere. The rest of Colombia is immaculately clean, so it was jarring to see all the trash on the roadside in Cali. There were squeegee men at all the intersections. )Where's Rudy Guiliani when you need 'im?) It didn't seem like a very Colombia city, at least as far as my impression of Colombia has been set.
I got to the Cali bus terminal. I go to get Big Green, my suitcase, out of the luggage compartment. A man grabs it, starts barking at me in Spanish, and goes to put my bag in the main part of the bus that I thought I was supposed to get off. I was confused. After a few repetitions of me taking my bag off the bus and asking how I get to the 2025 bus, I finally understood that the driver of the 2065 bus (assisted by the guy who grabbed Big Green out of the luggage hold) would now drive me to the part of the huge terminal where the 2065 was patiently waiting for me. Turns out, my guide from San Agustín had made arrangements for the bus driver and bus personnel in Cali to be on the lookout for me to make sure I was properly transferred to the 2025 bus. I felt like a rare, valuable Faberge egg, being handled with such precision and care.
Or maybe a urine sample where chain of custody has to be precisely documented, being handed off from one caretaker to the next.
Because of all the work being done by these folks, I was soon safely on the 2025 bus, bound for Armenia. Country #17! Well, no, not that Armenia, not the country next to Turkey. Armenia is one of the three anchor towns of the Coffee Triangle, the Zona Cafetera, of Central Colombia.
Three hours later, #2025 pulled into Armenia. My Zona Cafetera guide was waiting for me to take me to my hotel, which was not in Armenia, but in a small town northwest of Armenia, Quimbaya. So, about 13 hours after pulling out of the Hacienda Anacaona, I arrive at the Hotel del Campo. The hotel is very nice It has some sort of island hunting camp motif going for it:
|Room 14 at the Hotel del Campo, Quimbaya|
|Semi-quasi outdoor shower|