Rainshowers soak the surrounding Andes: 9 PM, 12/31/2018, Finca La Aguada
We spent New Years Eve 2018 at a friend's finca, called La Aguada, meaning (basically) watering hole.
Finca La Aguada is 50 km (31 miles) south of Medellin, by the red star
Finca La Aguada has been in my amigo's family since 1927 when his abuelo, a coffee broker, purchased the land. Just 50 km south of Medellin, (near the red star above) the finca, a working farm, has 230 hectares (about 570 acres) of land, five employees, and 500-600 head of cattle. Like many Colombianos, our friends escape the city on weekends and go to the finca to relax, and to enjoy traditions, foods, and fiestas they've known since childhood. Colombianos often take advantage of fiesta weekends, three (or four) day affairs they refer to as 'Puentes,' or bridges, meaning a bridge period between busy work weeks. There are 18 official holidays in Colombia, thus many opportunities to visit the finca.
Finca La Aguada is a working farm, and its five empleados work very, very hard
Connecting old and new: A vaquero chats on his cell phone.
We didn't work hard, except at relaxing. Another reason people go to the finca is to renew their souls, and to immerse themselves in the natural beauty that is Colombia. There's no way to convey the tang of fresh air, the invigorating panorama, the surrounding silence at such a place. It must be experienced.
Relaxation can be hard work!
As we look south, a curtain of rain bathed the thirsty landscape
After living in busy, bustling Medellin for a time, it's easy to forget that such vistas as this even exist. The silence is palpable, and warm winds caress you at midday. The air actually smells cleaner. At midnight, the black sky is etched with stars, as if painted with a wand of light, revealing starlight that's blocked by the glare of the city. The night sky at the finca also offers sights that are invisible to us in the city, the blinking lights of aircraft passing over, bound for Lima, and Bogotá, and Quito, and Santiago de Chile. Bats waft by, sussing wingbeats inches from our heads, and wholly harmless. As we studied the blackness above, silent satellites traced the sky, their signals blipping messages, possibly New Years greetings across the sleeping earth below.
The finca is also a great place to see flora & birds
Above, male & female masked crimson tanagers flit around the casa all day. Several blue grey tanagers sang and danced for us as well. There were hummingbirds too numerous to count, and too quick to photograph. Hawks wheeled overhead, doves mourned the passing day, and parrots screeched by, their brilliant plumage more iridescent than anything seen in any pet shop.
A hawk passes over looking for lunch
Miriam, our ama de casa, cook, and long time La Aguada empleada rescued a bewildered and befuddled chick, while keeping a careful eye on Theo, faithful feline, and official La Aguada watch cat.
Critters large & small populate the finca
Standard walking sticks, Phasmotodea, are common in the Colombian tropics. Common at La Aguada are the Brahman beef cattle that provide income and sustenance for the workers and owners.
Grass & Cattle go together all over the world
Curiously, cattle at Finca La Aguada are imported from Asia, and they munch grasses imported from Africa, all to provide meat and protein for people in Colombia. (while being photographed by Norteamericanos)
Last light of 2018
December passed, and January arrived, a new year full of promise, anticipation, success, perhaps a bit of caution, along with the shared beliefs that such havens as Finca La Aguada really do exist. La Aguada is indeed a watering hole for soul thirsty city dwellers, as well as the simple, hard working folks who live here managing the land and the everyday business of it.
Our dear amiga above is performing a traditional observance for Colombianas, walking around a block while carrying a small suitcase. Other traditions are eating twelve grapes, one for each chime of the midnight bell while making a wish, wearing yellow underwear (don't ask), and burning a straw stuffed doll, among others. Along with several other traditions here, carrying a suitcase at midnight signifies a hope to see new places, and to meet new people. Looking back at our own recent, peripatetic history, we must have carried a suitcase or two for quite a distance, and at just the right time. In the last two years our travels have taken us to lands & locations we never imagined. More than once we've whispered in jest to each other the well traveled Dr. Seuss adage, taken from the last book published in his lifetime: 'Oh, the places you'll go.'
Finca La Aguada was our latest place. It won't be our last. Thanks for reading.