Friday, November 25, 2011
November 17: Rio Intag Coffee
November 17, 2009
Location: Carlos' Farm, Intag Cloud Forest
Weather: Sunny with clouds, mild again!
This may be the best place since the Galapagos. I'm in love with the food, the land, the experience of being in Intag. It's amazing how this country gets into your blood, like a drug. I feel on top of the world here, stronger and more capable than I've ever felt in America. Part of it must be making my own decisions and choosing my own adventure, if you will. Whatever I do is essentially me, uninhibited by friends or family or keeping up with appearances at home. If I want to stay up until 5 AM, it's on me to wake up and go to class or hike 5 miles the next day.
A bunch of us stayed up and talked by candlelight in the cabin until late, late at night yesterday. We brushed our teeth in the community sink, sat around on a few of the beds and gave each other back massages to work out the knots of the day's hike. It was a night that I think I will cherish for a long, long time in my life. You know those moments in life where you feel at peace with the world and those around you, like you can trust and care about those you're with to such a degree that you bare your soul without inhibitions and walls to protect you? That was last night. Paul, Emily, Jenny, Shannon, Lizzy, Nate, a few others and I talked about why we wanted to go on the trip, what we found here, and what we'll take back with us. We talked about the realities and blessings in life, the challenges and successes we experienced. Maybe it was the ambiance of the night. The cabin was dark except for the glow of a few candles. It seemed as if we were the only ones in the universe except for the night noises outside. Lulls in conversation weren't uncomfortable, they were reassuring and peaceful. Moments like these can't last forever but that's what makes them so special.
Today we toured the Rio Intag Coffee Co-op, where shade grown coffee is dried in the sun, sorted, roasted, bagged, and sent around the world. It provides income for families in town that doesn't rely on outside companies. It's sustainable, too! Students for Fair Trade at B-W gets coffee from the Co-op and sells it at school. It's an impressive process--and the coffee is phenomenal!
We then visited a sugar cane plantation and saw sugar cane squeezed to release its juices. We drank from a clay mug and marveled at how sweet it was. A river nearby looked inviting so we jumped in. Guess what? It was freezing. As per usual! :) It had a surprisingly strong current underneath the waterfall and Mark had a moment of panic as he was caught under. After that, we decided to dry off and hike back with Melampy.
He brought us to an outdoor distillery where they were making aguardiente, a sugar cane alcohol with an insane alcohol proof in this form. Cristal or Zhumir is a flavored form of it that we realllyyy like (especially the green apple and watermelon flavored kind!). We were offered shots of it straight from the distillery. Melampy looked disapproving as we sang a jungle version of LMFAO's "Shots": "If you ain't takin' shots, get the heck out the jungle!" The alcohol tasted horrendous but we ended up with a pretty fun series of pictures!