|Posted by Artesia Irawan on January 26, 2011 at 9:09 PM|
Leaving crazy Popayan during fiesta only to be greeted by more crazy Salento. I had Salento in mind as a tiny little village, quiet and place to hang out or get closer to the nature. But it took us an hour more in traffic going up to Salento due to endless party over there. I sat down the back of the bus in the rain from Armenia sitting next to Padilla's family who represent the friendliness host of Colombia.Daniel who sat next to me took care of my stupid backpack that doesn't have privileged to be in the trunk cause it was raining, so I have to take it with me in the tiny little bus.
After arriving in La Serana hostal, another hide out ( ehm ) I went back to the crazy party scene to meet up with Padilla family, who insisted that I have to join them and the family. They took me everywhere in town and his huge warm family who also coming from all over the place to visit and take place in the party scene. Daniel's aunties own couple of hostel in town and the amount of question I had to answer not only from the family but from the guests of the hostel I was staying for aqua de panella in the evening.
La Serana Hostel in the afternoon
La Serana Salento in the morning
At night when my body couldn't synchronize anymore I excused my self to the family that I have to go back to the hostel, the family was too concern to let me walk alone at night back to La Serana ( which is about 20 minutes walk from town ) I told them it's fine and clearly I don't want to hassle them, I could walk alone ( it's only 11PM ) So in the end after lots of 'concerns' and 'hows' I agree to let them walk with me half way. After halfway at the cemetery, there's a local family with three little kids walking to the same direction to the hostel. Daniel was too excited and asked them to walk with me to the hostel. And he told me to call him or text him as soon as I got to the hostel safely, which I did.
In the first 5 months traveling, I met numbers of people who's been traveling in Colombia and they never fail to mention how friendly the people are in Colombia. Some were too excited and wanted to cry even thinking about Colombia and the people, others were lucky enough to have 'family' or 'mother' in Colombia who took care of them just like her own son/daughter or brother/sister. At that time, I didn't expect anything cause the way people travel are different or their experience.
Padilla's family are not my first experience of the people sincerity and kindness here in Colombia. When I was at hospital in Popayan at 1AM, the 'whole hospital' came to the emergency ( okay, a bit exaggerated there ) but there are way too many people around for one sick person with their 'how are you' English nothing more, they made effort just to express their curiosity or a welcoming gesture in their ( I have to say ) beautiful country. They wondered around next to me while I'm in pain with a drip on me. ( I'm hoping my mum would be too busy reading this blog and others who smart enough are not going to tell her
At the hospital when I told them I didn't have enough cash to pay, one of the nurse said the office only open at 7AM if I want to use my credit card. So I had to stay there in order to pay so I could go back to the hostel. But they came up with one thing, they let me go and trusted me to come back later that day so I can sleep a bit more at the hostel. So bunch of people took me to one tiny room just like a little office with bunch of papers and one computer. I didn't know what they were up to until one of them asked me to read on the screen, the Google translate! They wanted let me know what they want to say, I had to laugh. How sweet of them.. He wrote something in Spanish that translated in English : I trust you...
From a country with a very recent 'bad reputation' to one of the top travel destination, I must say they really did an amazing job! The tourist information in Manizales were top notch, the people who works at the hostel were consistently friendly and helpful in most places I stayed up to now. But others still living in the past and concern about what the tourists think about their country. They always asked the tourist what do they think about Colombia or what your friends think about their country. I had to be honest that with my ignorance I only just find out about 'new' Colombia during my trip now and thought Colombia was dangerous as in the past. And then the men will agree and discussed among themselves as if they're talking 'see I told you so'
I only been traveling here just less than a month and still have about a month here in Colombia, I haven't seen shit in this great country and looking forward to experience more friendliness and the unique places of the country. Wish I have more time.
If you haven't been here and reading this post now, start searching about Colombia and write down on your 'NEXT' list.