Saturday, September 25, 2010

Una Die Sin Plagues - A Day Without Plagues (bugs)

Most everyone in Corasoma has been under attack by something equivalent to the “no-see-ums” found in various parts of the U.S. in springtime here in Colombia. A small ferocious fly with a huge bite leaves large, itchy welts when it zooms in and does its work before you even realize you’ve been chewed. But on Wednesday, Sept. 22, we made a short ride (about 25-30 minutes) to San Gil, and a drop in elevation brought some of us temporary relief from scratching and being bitten.
Horses here are not always treated well, sadly.
The purpose of the trip was to buy some groceries as ‘miercoles’ (Wednesday) is market day... how I remember the word in Spanish is that it sounds like ‘mercado,’ which is the word for market.
On the way out of Barichara, however, I saw a number of fellows on horseback (It’s easier when it’s so muddy to have a four-legged drive transport if you don’t have a four-wheeler.) and one sad little creature hitched to the spot outside of town while the rider gets supplies.
In another spot, near where we had lunch, we saw a pile of what appeared to be sticks moving on its own up a hill. On closer inspection, it turned out to be a wretched little over-burdened small horse, struggling to climb the hill with stalks of cane to be harvested for panella (sugar from the cane). It is a sad fact that work animals here are not treated that well for the most part. But then neither are the lower class workers, male or female, given much respect by those who have them working. No wonder a man who is in his 40’s looks like that little horse, beaten down, struggling just to make it to the next day.
This was the fried version ... yummy!
Lunch was at this wonderful little country restaurant called “Pesque y Coma” which really means “fish and eat,” because you can actually fish for your dinner. But I like the idea of the sign which made me think of the fish being so divinely cooked that it puts you into a coma... which it almost did. Very moist Tilapia in two different versions: one was fried and the other was wrapped in foil and steamed. 
San Gil was bustling with people and traffic as usual and it always takes longer to find what one is looking for because no single shop carries all the items, so it’s necessary to walk up one street and down another, asking each proprietor if they have what you are seeking and being told, “No, but you might try....” and on to the suggested next stop.
At Corasoma we cook with a wood stove, and the oven gets its heat from that wood, which is hard to regulate. I was looking for an oven thermometer and did not find it, but I haven’t given up.
On the way back to Barichara, our ‘tour guide’ for the day, Carlos, suggested we stop and see another village called Villanueva which is supposed to have more services than Barichara. About 80 years old, this village was dirty, plain, and totally uninspiring. The residents do not seem to have any pride of their place. In fact, I found the energy quite depressing and was glad to leave it. Clearly it is not a place much visited by turistas as we were stared at as if we had just landed in a space ship. I later learned that this was once a very violent area, and perhaps I had picked up on that historical psychic energy.
By the time we returned to Corasoma, it was almost sunset and the rainclouds were moving fast over the mountaintops. Although the day was interesting and the food was good, I found out some upsetting personal news via the Internet today, so it was good to get back to friends and a hot cup of tea while I ponder the information received.

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