Wax On, Wax Off

Unfortunately, there just isn’t any other way to name a post covering our journey to the Valle De Cocora National Park, home of the Wax Palm. The Palma De Cera is the world’s tallest palm, growing to heights as tall as 60 meters. It is also the national tree of Colombia, so you know it has to be pretty cool. Colombians sure dig the Wax Palm and have made it illegal to cut one down anywhere they are found.

We set off in a collective jeep, which, in South American terms, indicates a collection of people both inside and hanging off the rails outside the jeep. After a nice little ride through the valley of Cocora, we were dropped at the end of the paved road in the town of Cocora, from which the trail into the National Park eminates. We walked first through pastureland before reaching the protected cloud forest reserve. We ended our hike at a backwoods refugio, set into the hills a few hours by foot from Cocora. There, we enjoyed a quick snack and the company of many exotic looking hummingbirds. There is a larger bird common to these parts that I have not been able to photograph which has the same luminscent green and blue coloration as the little guy pictured at the top of this paragraph.

After another pleasant meal in the town square, we returned to the Plantation House for a bit of rest and contemplation. In my case, I was left to consider the anti-Ecuador trash-talk that filled much of my last post. Although we have met a few other people here who agree with the general sentiment, including yet another couple that were robbed in Quito in broad daylight by knifepoint, I feel the post deserves some qualifying.

We only saw a small part of the country and only visited one of the many formal national parks to be found. Yes, it is true the majority of “Serranos” (highlanders) in Ecuador aren’t too friendly to outsiders, but neither are they rude or hostile. I was only writing from our experience and I suppose it doesn’t need restating that, for us, a month in Ecuador was more than enough. So, what do you say Ecuador? Are we ok now? I felt like we were having an awkward moment there and I just want things to be cool.

Here in Salento, we are doing our best to resist doing much. Why is that, you may ask? Well, the ANTM team is due to expand two-fold in just a few weeks, with the arrival of my brother Howie and his girlfriend Marisa. They will be traveling with us for a couple weeks in Colombia. As such, we’re saving some of the coffee-related enterprises to be found around town for our second trip to Salento. I have, however, picked up some of the most amazing coffee I’ve ever had from Jesus Martin’s cafe, here in town.

We’re going to be headed north to Medellin before returning to Salento again at the beginning of August. We’ve gathered all sorts of great recommendations from travelers here and feel like we have a solid blueprint for the next few weeks. Best of all, no long bus rides!  At least if you are so bold as to ignore the 30% rule.

Tonight, we are off to another round of Tejo, my new second-favorite sport. (Much to my chagrine, we have not traveled to any beisbol loving nations!) Tejo shall be the subject of a future post. Much like baseball, the game of Tejo is rich with metaphor for the passing of time and the living of life. Oh, and it also features large metal blocks that you throw at packets of gunpowder. So yeah, it’s pretty great.

As for now, a gentle rain is falling in Salento. I’m drinking some of Jesus Martin’s coffee, listening to the new Bon Iver record, considering how I shall best approach the Tejo court this evening.


About andesnotthemint

Alexis, Mark, 2 seasons, 1 continent, a very long mountain range.
This entry was posted in Colombia, Ecuador, Mark, Salento. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Wax On, Wax Off

  1. mom wyman says:

    I could definitely smell that delicious aroma.
    But, it has to pass your “brother’s taste test”…..
    afterall, he’s the true bean expert….
    I’ll await his decision in a few weeks.
    love mom

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