February 5, 2009

Well, as nice as Casablanca hostel is, I got a rotten night’s sleep…I am a light sleeper, and in a dorm room of 10 people…oofa.

I missed my 9:00 am appointment at Asturias Motos (if you need a mechanic in Cali, Colombia, definitely stop here: they service ALL brands!) due to a lack of sleep, but luckily when I showed up at 10:00 they took me right in, and Jorge surgicated my windshield mount (it had rattled loose somewhere along the way and was driving me N_U_T_S and I did not have a hex wrench with me to fix it).

I spent another good long time taking to Sory, who is just great. She (also a motorcycle traveler) gave me lots of ideas for other cool places to see in Colombia. Wheen I asked about the road to San Augustin, she immediately called a friend in Popayan (another Jorge, and also a motorcyclist) that she knows drives that road once a week…

Well, us all being motorcyclists, he said to her to give me his phone number, and when I got to the outskirts of Popayan to call him and they would meet me.

Now this is all very cool.

Sory arranges for one of the guys in the shop to lead me out of town on his little motorbike, and we say goodbye.

On the way out of town I see two horseback police. These are the nicest animals I have seen on my trip.

I’m off! I take a picture of this because its crazy…yes, i am in the fast lane, but it’s worse than a “jersey barrier” in the USA…shorter too!

Back on the panamericana another sugar cane train…


I’m taking my time because it’s a short distance to Popayan…

I stop for a roadside brunch, I am getting caught up on my journal, and this German traveler (part of the crowd last night at Asturias) roars by…then turns around and we visit a bit.  He is also riding a DR650 (but not nearly as s-w-e-e-t as mine thanks to Twisted throttle and Cogent Dynamics 🙂  )

A close-up of the little devil critter on his front fender…

Well, as he is about to take off, along come my friends Bruno and Nathalie (from Valle de Corcora two days ago).  So the happy German unsuts, and we all visit and go over maps and take pics of each other…the folks running the restaurant probably think its a darned convention of moto-tourists!

Off they go on down the road…I am the last to pull out.

So I get to the appointed place in Popayan, and give a call. (Remember those cell-phones-on-an-a-chain? Mighty convenient when you need to place a quick call…cost me a whopping 20 cents instead of the $4 it cost me in Mexico when I had to call rube from a cabina…)

So Jorge’s daughter Catalina answers Jorge’s phone when I call…she’s a thirty-something Colombiana that has been living in London for the past 9 years, and is back in Popayan for a bit staying with the family and working in their wine operation. (Jorge thinks I need help with my Spanish / translation services because I had a hard time understanding him on the cell phone.)

Well I am delighted.  Catalina hops in her little bug and leads me to their house. What do I need? How can she help? What can she do?

We end up chatting for over an hour, she helps me find a hotel that she approves of (not in the Lonely planet book, and not in the red light district)

I quickly bring my things to my room, change into street clothes, and then she takes me to the  fabrica, wine factory, that her parents run.  her Mom makes me tinto (coffee)…and laughs at me for taking pics of c-o-f-f-e-e (which they will eventually get used to–me taking pics of everything!!!)

Goddess Bless Colombia, because this is the way coffee SHOULD be…

Strong coffee…warm milk…and a bowl to mix them to your own personal satisfaction…

The final product:

Cata’s Mom gives me a tour of her garden…the fabrica has been in the family a couple of generations…

An outdoor oven (like I saw a coupe of days ago) where they cook their Turkeys at Christmas…

A tour of the fabrica:

I love how they leave a candle it for Mother Mary…

After the tour of the fabrica, Cata and I go out to dinner. We order a jugo, a fresh juice, and I decide to expand my palate and try the Lulo. But I keep asking what Lulo is…how does it translate, and nobody can help me. Cata, great girl that she is, asks the waiter to bring me one, and a knife. Meet Lulo…my (new) favorite fruit…

Dinner is this rad combination of sumptuous veggies over maduro, fried mature bananas (sweet). OMG, I am in heaven! Colombia has the BEST food! (Little do I know but Catalina and I will take the culinary tour of Popayan and Colombia for the next several days…)

I am now exhausted, well fed, and ready for bed. Cata invites me to stay for another day and she wil take the day off from work and give me a personal tour of Popayan…I’m IN!

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