Coffee Region – Bogotá, Day 5

IMG_3986Day 5, March 11

It’s hard to pick coffee on a plantation in Armenia when a person is still in a hotel in Bogotá.  Sure enough, with 2 cancelled flights, and a 4:00am arrival at the hotel, this day included creative ways to decide how to best adjust our schedule with a full day of activities that would need to be rescheduled.  The decision: get to Armenia and try to fit it all in on the following day.  So, back to the airport in Bogotá, and yes, we did arrive in the coffee region.

The day was not completely lost because we did end the evening with a visit to El Solar restaurant (complete with the first celebration of Jessica’s birthday).

As to Colombia, what did you learn and appreciate better as a result of this day?



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27 Responses to “Coffee Region – Bogotá, Day 5”

  1. Brittany Rogers Says:

    Your question: “As to Colombia, what did you learn and appreciate better as a result of this day?” – My answer: 1.Jose 2.His smooth negotiation skills and 3.His resilience. This guy saved the day a hundred times over! I was really excited to go to the coffee region, but truly appreciated the down time we were given that day. After the airport experience, this was a true reset into understanding and embracing (to some extent) Colombian time. The dinner was delicious at El Sabor and I loved watching the Latin Americans dance and celebrate.

  2. Karen Madera Says:

    It was a long day of travel, but we kicked it off with a good brunch and good rest. Upon arriving, the tour guide was super energetic and lifted the mood. Dinner was good. The restaurant was very festive! There were a lot of celebrations going on that evening. Looking at the landscape, it was very remote as we made our way to our finca. The house was very lovely and a totally different experience from a typical hotel. The employees were very attentive though and offered more personal service than a hotel I think. Would totally stay there again.

  3. Tyler Hjalmquist Says:

    We were able to sleep really late because of our late flight to Armenia.
    When we did finally arrive in Armenia, we were greeted by Andres (some people did not think he was that funny when he kept making jokes about our flight situation). Regardless, he told us about how Jose didn’t call him to tell him to go home until 3:00 AM, even though we knew our flight was cancelled earlier than that. He decided to single people out on the bus and ask them what time they went to bed. Once again, some people didn’t find this funny, but I definitely enjoyed his jokes.
    We had an amazing dinner at El Solar, complete with lots of wine and live music. Orlando made sure to get on stage with the microphone to announce to tell the rest of the restaurant people that we were students from Texas, and that we were celebrating a birthday.
    While driving through Armenia, we learned that there had been a severe earthquake within the last 17 years and that some of the land that used to have buildings on it was no longer suitable for construction. Despite the earthquake, the town had managed to rebuild and hopefully will not see another earthquake in the near future.

  4. Destin Whitehurst Says:

    Travel woes strike again. But delays are to be expected, and the scenario played out much better than it could have. I’ll take a comfortable hotel and high-end lunch buffet any day over spending a night on the floor of an airport. By dinner time, spirits were up and everyone had bonded over what became a recurring theme in our efforts to traverse this mountainous, stormy country. I do, however, have a new appreciation for American infrastructure and make-it-happen attitude.

  5. hannahsierra2016 Says:

    This day was packed full of logistics, back up plans, and airport wine. Clear running water and beds were scarce but creative thinking put us back into good spirits the morning after. Jose is a hero. It was in this tragic hotel’s shopping mall that we scored a beautiful pair of Emerald earrings for our dear friend Ashley Tisdale. It was this shopping mall that I learned that the average Colombian’s shoe size was an American 5-6. I also met the sweetest, kindest, woman in Colombia at this hotel shopping mall. She begged me to let her practice her english with me. She was so proud to speak fluently and had such compassion for us students in her home country. She wanted to hear all about our trip, keep in mind I had just showered in brown water and was fighting back my inner yelp review of the night before! All in all, this day made me earn what turns out to be one of the best days in my life, our adventure in Armenia.

  6. Laura Szymanski Says:

    This day was the strongest test of my highest core value – efficiency. Something (mostly) incompatible with Latin American cultures. I am usually able to keep this in check in the spirit of cultural sensitivity, but I’m exhausted all self control and the Elephant has overtaken the Rider. {Reference: Haidt’s Happiness Hypothesis.} Knowing we all have different values which allow us to bring our strengths in perspective to a team, I really appreciated Orlando’s detailing what was going on and had occurred over the last 24 hours. In crisis situations such as these it is difficult to have clear communication and ‘paths’ especially across a language barrier. Jose took on the burden of being that intermediary and in that became the hero {and future president?} of our trip.

  7. Ashley C Tisdale Says:

    After a long night of attempted travel, this day turned out fairly well. The experience just allowed me to go with the flow and appreciate moments as they occur. I enjoyed brunch at a nice restaurant and I was able to walk around the mall and check out leather shoes. It was quite surprising that I went to a store with Hannah and the biggest size they had was a size 6. As I wear a size 6.5, I was quite disappointed because most stores have my shoe size. The big prize for me was being able to purchase a pair emerald earrings at a decent price. While Hannah and I explored the mall, we ran into a woman who wanted to practice her English after she heard us talk in the store. When we reached Armenia, I enjoyed the jokes from Andres who referenced me to Ashley Banks from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I thought having dinner at El Solar was a great way to end the night as the environment was very engaging and the food was delicious.

  8. Curtis Davis Says:

    I think Day 5 really tested everyone’s resolve. I never thought I would become so familiar with Bogota’s airport. Enduring multiple cancelled and delayed flights gave me a new appreciation for domestic travel in the United States. Big props to Jose for taking the airline to task and negotiating hard to set up with new flights and an interesting stay in Lavanca’s hotel. I was sad to be leaving Bogota but we had several adventures waiting for us in Armenia.

  9. David H Chung Says:

    Definitely airplane delay was the factor that made our schedule packed, but I believe we enjoyed a little bit loosened schedule that they. I was relaxed with the nice breakfast at hotel, free time with our classmates at the airport.

    Also, we had the enjoyable dinner at the El Solar restaurant. I was fascinated by the two singers who sang an old pop songs in Colombia. The male singer’s voice was perfect, and female singer was great too. It was also enjoyable to see old gentlemen dancing with ladies, which is hard to see in the Korean culture.

    Especially, I liked the hotel because it reminded me of a typical rural accommodation in South Korea, exposed to the nature and harmonized with the surrounding forests. The hotel also provided good hot tub to relax and enjoy small drink and talking to each other.

  10. carlisland Says:

    One of my favorite days. After getting grounded last night we were put in a nice ( but dated) hotel close to the airport. Of course we later found out that Pablo Escobar’s family had frequently stayed at the hotel and the hotel was seized by the government after his death.

    During breakfast I decided to wonder away from the group and was delighted with what i saw.
    This felt like true Colombia. I didnt see other tourists but rather white collar workers having lunch on a typical weekday.

  11. Jessica Jozwiak Says:

    During our travel woes, I was so thankful for Jose’s quick negotiation skills with Avianca and Orlando, Dierdra, and Lucero’s ability to rally the troops with a smile on their face. That was a LONG day but adversity is a good thing, and we all knew that the adventures awaiting us on Saturday would prove a well-deserved reward.

  12. Kyle Gabb Says:

    I very much appreciated the late start to the day as my sleep schedule had been completely thrown off since arrival in Colombia. After a nice lunch, some gift shopping, and a rousing game of “heads up” in the airport, we were off to Armenia. Go with the flow. The way I like to think about it is if we were born 150 years ago, getting across any country in a day would be an amazing feat. Nowadays we can circumnavigate the globe in two days. It’s all about perspective.

    I was surprised at how much of a city Armenia was – I was picturing a very rural place. It had big malls, a few universities, and quite the night life. Our tour guide was definitely a stand up comedian in another life. The dinner at El Solar was very fun – good food/drinks, live music, and an animated international audience. After getting to the hotel, some of the group spent some time in the hot tub and talked about our experiences for far. I spent perhaps too much time in the hot tub, but thats a story for another day (tomorrow).

  13. Bryan Benson Says:

    Never have I been so thankful for TSA, the FAA, and any other U.S. air travel organization. Wow is Colombia lax with its air travel; just no sense of urgency whatsoever. My favorite part was when the lady freaked out on the plane and maybe eight different people boarded the plane and simply loitered and spoke into their walkie-talkies. The true hero of the day was Jose. I’ve never seen that kind of patience and coolness in the face of disaster – he truly saved the trip.

    I loved El Solar – it had a very homey vibe to it. The live music, the decorations, it was all great. I got the sense that people for miles around go there on Friday nights as there was a real feel of familiarity and community.

  14. Yeony Bae Says:

    It was very fun dinner experience. Live music and salsa dance in the restaurant made me realize that I am in Colombia, once again. My mind was blown away when a whole group of people stood up and started to dance. It was really fund experience. Oh, by the way, I felt we are very American group when we had to ask to reduce the volume of the music.

  15. Ivo Fink Says:

    After our involuntarily long stay at the airport the night before I enjoyed sleeping a bit longer, then enjoyed the delicious lunch that was provided for us in the hotel restaurant. Although we had certainly not planned to stay a day longer in Bogotá, retroactively speaking I consider it a great opportunity for a truly Colombian experience. While there were plenty of tourists in Zona T close to our first hotel, it seemed that the area around Tequendama was exclusively populated with locals, thus giving me a better impression of local white collar life in Bogotá. Finally, we made it to Armenia on our third attempt and reached the Finca Hotel La Esperanza nestled amidst a banana plantation.

  16. Kent Kronenberg Says:

    The contrast between the fine brunch buffet in the morning and the airport struggles the day before was stark. Long story short, we finally arrived in Armenia and the coffee region. I had an absolutely incredible steak at El Solar. I think it really was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had, and it was only 35,000 pesos (about $12).

    The decorations at the restaurant were really funky and the live music got the crowd dancing and swaying in unison. I don’t think Kavita was expecting a restaurant in the middle of Colombia to sing Happy Birthday for her, either, which was a lot of fun. Our hilarious guide Andres got us off to a fantastic start in the coffee region, as well. Driving through Armenia and Montenegro (another European country/central Colombian town…) provided a chance to see some towns largely not trampled upon by tourists. In fact, they reminded me of medium-sized towns in Korea in ways that would require another blog post.

  17. Ibk Ol Says:

    Ah, the Bogota airport, the place we will attempt to avoid for the rest of our trip. So, we were supposed to get to Armenia the night before but we end up staying at a nice hotel in Bogota, having a nice lunch and catching a flight to Armenia that was only a little bit delayed this time  Andres tried to lighten the mood when we got there with some jokes. We had a fantastic dinner at El Solar, and enjoyed celebrating with the Latin American guests at the restaurant. Great end to a yucky start to the day.

    Oh and Jose for President!

  18. Anna Knyazhitskaya Says:

    After some Malarone-induced nightmares in Pablo Escobar’s, I mean, Avianca’s hotel, I was glad to enjoy a relaxing day complete with an amazing brunch in Bogota, an entertaining dinner in Armenia, and lots of wine and conversation in the Ecohotel hot tub. Jose, our amazing tour manager, taught me how to properly eat ceviche – start with the “cooked” fish on the bottom, a skill I found useful for the duration of the trip.

  19. Kavita Rangaswamy Says:

    I appreciated getting the opportunity to sleep in, after a really really long night. We eventually landed in Armenia and was greeted by Andres, our very energetic tour guide. My dinner at El Solar was fantastic, and I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of vegetarian options at the restaurant in what I expected to be a tiny town. I was surprised by Orlando with a birthday song and brought on stage. Definitely unexpected since my birthday was the next day! The restaurant was filled with singing and dancing, which was a fun and much needed break from the stress of the night before.

  20. Adriana Penalba Says:

    It was actually really nice to sleep-in in my and Karen’s suite. I know that not everyone had the best of luck with accommodations, but we got ours in a timely manner and had a lovely slow morning. I watched some Spanish television and was surprised by how quickly my Spanish was coming back to me. Surprisingly we made it from Bogota to Armenia no problems, and then ate at a really nice local restaurant where I had steak, a big steak. And I ate all the steak. I also, just loved seeing how easily Colombians dance and have a good time with each other. In addition to celebrating Kavita’s birthday, there were a lot of other birthday celebrations going on. A father and daughter danced, and older women in party hats. It was a really fun time.

  21. Victor Okocha Says:

    I was soooo close to flying in first class today. Somehow I received a first class seat for our delayed flight to Armenia. As soon as we pulled away from the terminal I fell asleep. I opened my eyes 30 minutes later expecting to be in the sky but instead we were back at the terminal. I think in total we spent about an hour in those comfy seats which is more time than we would have spent had the flight taken off without any delays (only a 30 minute flight) so it was a win in the end…sort of.

  22. Elizabeth Sickler Says:

    Maybe it was all the travel trouble, but I was ready to leave Bogota by the time we actually landed in the Coffee Region☺ I was hoping to see a different part of Colombia that wasn’t just a big city. Just driving into Armenia at night I could see a very different type of culture. The biggest difference I noticed right away while in Armenia was the dress of people. In Bogota everyone seemed to be dressed very professionally, many women walking in VERY high heels. As soon as we entered the coffee region people were dressed much more relaxed. I found the people in the coffee region to be much more relaxed in their personality as well as their clothing!

  23. Krista Fischer Says:

    I actually had one of the best night’s/early-mid morning’s sleep of the trip at Pablo Escobar’s hotel. A recurring theme began to surface as I surveyed my suitcase that morning. Somehow every hotel in which it opened, it simply “exploded” all its contents EV-ERY-WHERE.

    It turned out, karma had a reason as to why I was supposed to stay in Bogota one more day. I was able to purchase the perfect pair of emerald earrings I had been in search of since the beginning of the trip. Back at the Bogota airport, we only experienced a slight delay and were well on our way to Armenia. God love our Armenian tour guide, Andres. Our dinner at El Solar that night turned into the Nicaraguan version of the singing scene in My Best Friend’s Wedding. It was AMAZING!

  24. David F. Says:

    Travel hiccups aside, I would have to say that our trip to Armenia and the coffee region were my favorite part of the entire Global Connection tour, and this was the first day of it. I immediate had a great feeling when we arrived to the small Armenia “international” airport. Jon was a hilarious guide and accentuated the awesome-ness of the region. While the music at the restaurant was a little loud, the food was very impressive. This was also the day that I discovered my stomach was not sensitive to the Colombian water and veggies and had a great rest of trip eating and drinking whatever I pleased. =) Additionally, I learned that Jose is an angel and has the patience of a saint.

  25. stephanielmoten Says:

    We had a bad experience at the airport last night and early this morning. Since we didn’t make it to bed until about 4am we slept in and had a nice meal at the hotel. At this point I decided to take my chances with the produce and started eating salad and raw vegetables. When we got to Armenia we had a very nice dinner at El Solar. They had live music and a very festive atmosphere. There were several big groups there celebrating different occasions.

  26. mikeramirezblog Says:

    Travel made this day one that was packed with logistical nightmares BUT luckily we had Jose to step up and negotiate what he needed to in order to keep the flow as smooth as possible! To answer the question I learned that Colombians are very very family oriented. As we stepped into this restaurant in Armenia the colors were vibrant the music was extremely loud and the people were all smiling and enjoying the night. The food was amazing and there were two people singing which sort of looked liked karaoke but sounded way better than I could have. I really got a feel of appreciation of the night once I saw an elderly man with his wife, family, and friends beginning to dance on the dance floor.

  27. Paolo Boero Says:

    Travel woes left us all pretty exhausted but I actually saw it as a bonding experience, similar to that of preseason training. We all went through it together and for the most part rose to the occasion. I think it reinforced the idea that there is no easy/expedient way to get from place to place in Colombia and living near the Andes mountains comes with some serious weather. I was really happy that we got to walk around Bogota that morning and see some of the downtown working area, as well as the street art everywhere which I loved. I was constantly reminded of how the politically charged the art was and how it expressed the turbulent past of Colombia.

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