We woke up early in the morning to catch a bus from Medellin to Armenia, which is known as the capital of Colombia’s coffee region. The winding ride took about 6.5 hours from Medellin, but only cost $18. When we arrived at the bus terminal, our host, María, picked us up in her car, and drove us 10 minutes north of the city to her parents’ gated community.
We were greeted by a unique and abundant display of Christmas spirit. Every detail of her family’s house was decorated–they had multiple Christmas trees, illuminated table center pieces, festive place settings, miniature saint dolls in every room, Santa Claus bed spreads, multiple nativity scenes in the kitchen, snowflake toilet covers, snowman floor matts, and copious of amounts of holiday lights. Their pool was surrounded with tube light figures in the shape of snowflakes, bells, fish, flowers, and birds. Even their dogs were adorned with miniature Christmas wreath dog collars.
Although we were amused by the interesting display of holiday spirit, we must have had the look of hunger on our face when we arrived because we barely had time to set our bags down before their housekeeper/cook, Patricia, had already placed a bountiful meal of bandeja paisa in front of each of us.
While cutting our chicharron and distributing pieces of fried egg about our plates, we managed an extremely harmonious conversation with her father. We became very familiar, even though we were forced to communicate through poor Spanish, hand gestures, and Maria’s frequent translation. We learned that her parents own an event planning and decoration company whose primary clients are politicians and wealthy entrepreneurs. Her father vigilantly served us poolside beers, and repeatedly invited us to their family’s holiday parties, while we listened to the abundance of birds serenade the setting sun.