I know it's been quite some time since my last blog (I have posted a few short stories, though) but I have been a bit busy, I moved to a different city in Colombia. I now live in Armenia, Quindío. Armenia is a small city of about 300,000 population. It sits at the base, in the foothills, of the Andes Mountains central range. Armenia is part of the Eje Cafetero, the coffee region. Most of the famous Colombian coffee is grown in this region. The city has several major arroyos, or washes as they're called in Arizona where I used to live, big enough to be small canyons, with very steep, almost perpendicular sides. I think the only flat, level roads are located in the downtown area of the city. The city sits at about 4800 feet elevation. It does get a fair bit of rain as one would expect being at the base of the mountains. So far, in my first two weeks here most of the times it has rained has been during the night, though today has seen rain for most of the afternoon. The climate in Armenia is generally warm and overcast. Throughout the year, the temperature typically varies from 60°F to 80°F and rarely dips below 60°F or above the low 80's. All that means daytime afternoons highs are generally in the high 70's and night time lows are generally in the low 60's. The physical size of the town is not so big, I can walk from where I live near the south end pretty near the north end in about an hour.
The Armenia downtown area includes a pedestrian-only "street" that is, according to wikipdia, 9 blocks long. Though it seemed longer when I walked it. It's lined with many restaurants and shops of every kind. The first thing I noticed when I arrived here was the lack of horn honking. In Barranquilla every driver honks his/her horn at every intersection, at every vehicle that might possibly enter the road in front of them, and at anything and everything that exists in the roadway. And they will not slow down, let alone stop, for pedestrians. Here in Armenia it is the complete opposite - almost no horn honking, people actually drive in a polite manner (well, most people, anyway). Also, in Barranquilla the buses are driven as if they are in a Formula 1 race, and I mean every bus on every street. Here, so far in my short time here, I've seen none of that from the buses. Another difference is the taxis - in Barranquilla they are not metered, so you have to ask the driver if he will take you to the location you want to go and ask for the fare before you get in the car. Here in Armenia the taxis have meters which are easily seen by the passengers and you do not have to ask if the driver will take you to the location you want to get to. And the fares are lower here, I can get pretty much anywhere in the city for between 4000 - 6000 pesos (between 1-2 dollars US). At the Éxito store at the Unicentro mall I found my favorite coffee, D'Origenn (Santa Marta, Sierra Nevada Mtns, single source coffee) and it is actually cheaper here than in Barranquilla.
I will be posting pics in the photo album as I start taking them.