I aimed my camera down the colorful Mogotes street when Guato (photo below) pointed at me and then crossed himself and posed for a shot. He had a good laugh – one of those deep belly laughs – and then slapped me playfully on the back before swaggering down the street still laughing to himself.
Everyone seems open to having their photo taken. This morning, a man walking his mule (photo below) stopped in the street for me. He was happy to pose. When I showed him his photo, he laughed like Guato did and said something in Spanish. When he walked away, Wilfredo said he was astonished that he could see the photo right away!
On Sundays, Mogotes becomes a market town. It’s like a mini Brick Lane in London where people line the streets, sitting in the sun next to clothes, shoes, all sorts of goods. A large warehouse opens into a fruit and vegetable market and behind that, there’s a field where cows and horses are taken to be sold. Vendors offer food like empanadas, soup and ice cream. People from surrounding mountain towns take buses into town to buy their food for the week. I bought a colorful bracelet made from seeds and shells painted in bright blues, pinks and greens. It cost COP6000 (about $3).
A few nights ago, we ate tamales on the farm, wrapped in huge banana leaves and then drank hot chocolate the Colombian way – dipping in bread, with chunks of soft cheese floating on top that you eat with the bread.
Sitting on the porch at night, you can still see lots of kids playing in the streets after dark alone. People leave their doors open and sometimes leave their keys in their cars. There are police who hang out on the streets, but they are very friendly and unintimidating. It feels as safe as any small American suburb and more welcoming than any big city.