Sunday, July 23, 2017

Ant Lunch

Latin America again. To say I'm in love with Latin American is an understatement, but I must say that Colombia of all the places one me over more than all of them put together. The colors, the smells, the scenery. There was nothing about the country that I didn't love. I arrived rather late the first night, and crashed out rather quickly in Bogota. The plan was a day traveling around Bogota for conferences, then a late night flight to Pereira where I would spend most of my time. 

Work makes up most of my trips, a creature of the company I do my job and I do it well, looking forward to the short breaks in between, the moments of amusement where I can steal them. The day in Bogota was hot and sweaty, we drink hot instant coffee in outdoor cafes while we discuss strategy for the three conferences I need to do. The capital city is buzzing this year in early October. 

Over the summer the 50 year war with the Farc had come to an end. 8 days before I landed the people rejected the deal and now there was an air of confusion over what that meant and what was going to happen. We spent most of the day in the car, occasionally running into traffic from various protests while the country still tried to figure out what it was going to do. The reality of history when you are on the ground: traffic was inconvenient for people in cars. History is a funny thing when you are living inside the bubble. 

Mid-day, after having finished several conference and before my last conference and race to the airport for my late flight, my coworkers asked me what I wanted to do for food. 

"I'm quite happy to eat whatever is good locally. Best way to explore a country when you are traveling through it."

"Okay, then we will go to the cafeteria."

The cafeteria was actually a local diner, popular for their local foods, simple plating and low prices. I was fine with it. When we got in my coworker took one look at the menu and then, said to me, "Oh, we should have ants."

Of course we should.

"Ants?"

"Yes, hormigas. It's a local specialty. You'll love it."

I think about all the time I spent in Korea. I've eaten weirder things. 

"Sure. And the trout."

My coworker had a rather long conversation with the waitress when she finally came about and after much discussion, more parts of which that I could follow, I found that we would not be having ants after all. 

"Why no ants?"

"It's not ant season. She told me any restaurant that is serving ants right now is serving ants that have been frozen. You don't want frozen ants, so you should not order ants right now."

Sadness. 

We went on to have a lovely lunch, without ants, but with something that I joked was like fruit soup, some sort of tea that I just did not enjoy as much as I should have. We laughed about fruit soup all the way to the next conference, where I successfully impressed before being sent to wait a few hours in an airport for a hop flight to Pereira. 




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