Monday, November 25, 2013

San Agustin, Colombia farm stay, Ipiales las Lajas

 I arrived in a town called San Augustin to be a volunteer on a coffee farm outside of San Agustin. When I arrived it was a weekend long harvest festival where they had music and dancing and a dance competition for a Harvest Queen.  The first picture I took.. was from one of the floats.. I somehow ended up in the parade in one of the floats.
San Augustin Parade

Gallo fruit.. there were so many fruits I got try on the farm that I had never tried before

This is where the coffee beans get processed
 It comes from the top and goes through a grinder that takes off the flesh or skin of the bean then gets washed where all the stuff that floats to the top is discarded. Which is the flesh and some of the beans not considered good.  They use these to seed new plants or to make their own coffee.
These are the washed beans drying

Freshly picked coffee beans

 I always have a hard time picking gifts for people.  It seems like al the children like coins from other countries so I started making origami boxes and putting small coins from other countries in them to give away to the children.  This also helps to lighted my backpack since I have quite a collection of coins now.
This is the dryer.. its like a greenhouse but to dry the coffee beans.

Coffee plant.. with ripe and unripe beans.. the red are ripe.

Arracacha is  a root vegetable that is quite good and is related to a carrot and is a bit dark yellowish. We dug this up and then gave the stem and leaves to the rabbits and guinea pigs. 

 Yuca root is delicious just boiled and they eat is with almost every meal.  It quite a large bush almost a tree that they uproot for the roots and then stick some of the branches in the ground to grow new ones.
An entire cow
 There was a community event where the government gives a free cow to each community.  The cow comes and they needed volunteer to butcher it.  I got to be part of the process.  While we were butchering it people were eating and drinking.. yes that is a beer in the middle of the meat that we just cut. They found it quite strange that I wouldnt eat (using their hands no utensils) and drink with them while my hands are all bloody.
Some of the insides of the cow that they made into a soup
 After butchering the cow we shared in a soup consisting of the insides of the cow. I found the textures a bit strange and had trouble eating it so I had to give mine back mostly uneaten.
Everywhere has woodfire stoves. 

Making of blood sausage
 They told me I could help make the blood sausage but I politely declined.  I did try it though. The next day at the event where they gave away the grilled meat of the cow and had soccer games and music and speeches I did try it.  I didnt realize it was basically blood rices and spices before since I have never actually eaten blood sausage.  It was actually pretty good but I couldnt eat the intesting because it was too plastic like, but I dont think I need to eat it again.  We took home with us some of the meat they would not use for the event, I think like the fatty or skin parts and the hoof of the cow.  Some lucky person took home the head.

Fresh caught fish
 They caught fish from their pond that they had recently stocked.  They said the fish were small but would grow bigger.  I got to learn how to gut the fish.. they were joking how the day before I butchered a cow and now I was learning how to gut a fish. We gutted something like 130 small fish, it took quite a while.

Ruins at San Agustin

ruins at San Agustin
 San Agustin is famous for its ruins.  They are funeral ruins from the indiginous people.  My guide books lists this as one of the 4 places in Colombia you have to visit.  Since I was in San Agustin I decided to go to the park where they had the ruins.  It took me three hours to walk around the park.

I had a great time on the farm.  I stayed over 2 weeks.  The people were very nice.  I was surprised how interested they were in learning to bake cakes and things from the US.  I made a bananbread which came out normal, and I made a brownie which wasnt great cause when I went to the store I asked for butter but they gave me margarine and I didnt notice right away. I think thats why it didnt come out great.  They also baked alot. But after over 2 weeks its was time to move on.  My stomach also tends to get a bit sick of eating potatoes rice and plantanos almost every meal even though the food was really quite tasty its almost the same thing every meal.

IPIALES, Las Lajas Church
After leaving San Agustin I headed to the border of Ecuador.  Where I made a stop at the border town to the see the famous church Las Lajas in Ipiales which is located above a river.

Ipiales river

Church at Ipiales
Ecuador, Quito
Quito, view from my hostel
Well I finally made it to Quito and my hostel has a beautiful view.

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