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Travel Once Colombia’s ‘Deadliest City,’ Buenaventura Is Coming Back

01:35  12 july  2018
01:35  12 july  2018 Source:   msn.com

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“ Come here, come here,” she shouted in the staccato Spanish of Buenaventura , a city of 400,000 and Colombia ’ s busiest port. “Cocaine Wars Make Port Colombia ’ s Deadliest City ,” read a Times headline from 2007.

“ Come here, come here,” she shouted in the staccato Spanish of Buenaventura , a city of 400,000 and Colombia ’ s busiest port. “Cocaine Wars Make Port Colombia ’ s Deadliest City ,” read a New York Times headline from 2007.

At Stall 06 in the dilapidated temporary quarters of the Pueblo Nuevo market, Rosana Angulo was getting frustrated with my persistent queries about that day’s lunch options.

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Buenaventura is still not a city for random wandering, so we spent most of our time in the center of town, whi. theweathernetwork.com. A look back at Ontario' s deadliest tornadoes. Jun 13, 2018 5:35 PM - 2 months, 1 week, 4 days, 21 hours, 27 minutes, 40 seconds ago.

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“Come here, come here,” she shouted in the staccato Spanish of Buenaventura, a city of 400,000 and Colombia’s busiest port. I followed her into the tiny kitchen, where a jumble of pots battled for space, settled unevenly on chunks of glowing coals. She picked them up one by one. “This is the squid, this is the shark, this is the shellfish stew, this is the shrimp, this is the piangua clam, this is the donkey-paw snail …” There were a dozen in all.

“How do you make all these every day?” I asked.

“With plenty of love,” she replied, without missing a beat.

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Love and tradition are key ingredients in the food — and drink and music — of Colombia’s rainy Pacific Coast region. But there are others. The achiote seed is used to achieve a yellow-orange hue. Herbs, grown in raised gardens known as azoteas, impart rich, earthy flavors: the thick, fuzzy leaves of oreganón, which is sometimes called Cuban oregano but is not oregano; cimarrón, more commonly known as culantro, which is not cilantro; and poleo, apparently called pennyroyal in English, though not the English I know. I ordered the piangua — a tiny squishy black clam that collects at low tide in mangrove swamps — as well as the shrimp and the crab. That’s called a triple (TREE-play), and it cost me just 18,000 pesos, about $6.35.

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Love and tradition are key ingredients in the food — and drink and music — of Colombia ’ s rainy Pacific Coast region. This port city of 400,000 is at the center of it all.

Once Colombia ’ s ‘ Deadliest City ,’ Buenaventura Is Coming Back . Over several cups of tinto, the strong black coffee that keeps Colombia caffeinated, we came up with a three-day plan — a wildlife safari, a fishing expedition and a search for snakes.

Until very recently, anyone who wanted to take a deep dive into the Africa-inflected culture of the Colombian Pacific would have been best off heading to Cali, about 100 miles inland over the West Andes, to attend the Petronio Álvarez Pacific Music Festival. The six-day affair features the rhythms of the region, and crowded with vendors selling traditional food, as well as viche, the sugar cane liquor that serves as the base of its drinks — and traditional medicine. (This year the festival runs from Aug. 15 to 20.)

That’s because traveling to Buenaventura would have been a very risky prospect. “Cocaine Wars Make Port Colombia’s Deadliest City,” read a Times headline from 2007. In 2014 the Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos sent in troops to stabilize the city, and though violent drug gangs still operate, the murder rate is down below the national average, and the city is making a move to attract tourists. In 2017, Buenaventura became a member of the Unesco Creative Cities Network, based on its gastronomy, and if the new Galería Pueblo Nuevo (the official name of Ms. Angulo’s market) is ever completed, it will have a fine showcase for its product.

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Excerpt. Love and tradition are key ingredients in the food — and drink and music — of Colombia ’ s rainy Pacific Coast region. This port city of 400,000 is at the center of it all.

Once Colombia ’ s ‘ Deadliest City ,’ Buenaventura Is Coming Back . “We later knew that he was back living with his family, working on a farm,” she said. “Until the guerrillas found him, took him to the back of his house and shot him in the head.

I questioned whether a visit — the idea of an old friend from Cali, Catalina Ortiz — was a good idea. But Catalina convinced me that, given standard precautions, not only was it safe but not to be missed. Plus, she had a friend there, Stephanie Bueno Torres, who was starting a tourism website and would show us around.

Buenaventura is by far the largest city in the region, where an overwhelmingly Afro-Colombian population lives largely in small, scattered communities. Most are descended from slaves brought in by the Spanish starting in the 17th century to work in gold mines.

“We have preserved our ancestral culture,” said Elver Rengifo Micolta, a local radio journalist I met outside Buenaventura, as my travel companions Adam and Steve and I waited to board a jury-rigged, motorbike-powered wooden rail car on our way to the San Cipriano Natural Reserve (more on that later). “The best of the music and cuisine, it retains its original elements, just as they arrived from Africa.” I found that to be true — although there is also a significant indigenous influence. But the region’s culture has a distinctively different feel, especially in a country that overall is about 10 percent black.

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Once Colombia ' s ' Deadliest City ,' Buenaventura Is Coming Back .

Once Colombia ’ s ‘ Deadliest City ,’ Buenaventura Is Coming Back . Love and tradition are key ingredients in the food — and drink and music — of Colombia ’ s rainy Pacific Coast region. This port city of 400,000 is at the center of it all.

Our plan was to spend a day in Cali — which, though not on the coast, has a large migrant population from the Pacific region, then drive three hours over a northern stretch of the Andes, adding side trips to San Cipriano and the beach towns of Urumba Malaga Bay National Park.

Buenaventura is still not a city for random wandering, so we spent most of our time in the center of town, which felt safe to us. We found ourselves based mostly on Calle 1 (First Street), which is packed with hotels serving port visitors, restaurants and bars blasting salsa, and a snazzy new park on the water’s edge packed (at least on weekends) with mango eaters, basketball players, bouncy castle bouncers, lighthouse stair-climbers and an unmistakable this-is-the-place-to-be feeling.

There are few attractive buildings; city hall is an ugly tower only partially salvaged by a soaring mural depicting the history of the city. An exception is the Tequendama Inn Estación, a three-story neo-Classical building from 1920s known informally as Hotel Estación, a good option to stay at 178,500 pesos for a couple, or at least visit for spectacular views of the sunset over the bay and passing cargo ships — if you’re lucky, at the same time.

The Galería is a short cab ride away, but everything else we did was in walking distance. Our first night, we had dinner at Café Pacífico, which elevates traditional dishes to fine dining without altering them much, as with the jealousy-inducing whole snapper in coconut milk and azotea herbs (I had the triple — far less glamorous), and serves them with fresh fruit drinks, such as an icy blackberry/coconut mix. The décor is elegant and peppered with the work of local artists and artisans, both Afro-Colombian and indigenous. It’s so much classier than anywhere else in the gritty town that it was almost unsurprising when the owner, Saúl Monard Diaz-Granados, came up to our table speaking perfect English, the result of living from age 3 to 12 in New York. (It was actually extremely surprising.)

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buenaventura colombia . Next Stop: Once Colombia ’ s ‘ Deadliest City ,’ Buenaventura Is Coming Back . River-bathing in the San Cipriano Natural Reserve.

Once Colombia ’ s ‘ Deadliest City ,’ Buenaventura Is Coming Back . Sunny July 09, 2018 0.

He had some bad news for us, though: since we were there the night before the presidential election, alcohol sales were prohibited, so we could not order viche.

The next morning we drove half an hour to a town called Córdoba and bought tickets (4,000 pesos) for the ride to the San Cipriano Natural Reserve, on brujitas, or little witches, one of the most fun and ingenious forms of transportation I’ve ever seen: The community (also called San Cipriano) that serves as a launch point for the reserve is only accessible by rail through the jungle, but the passenger line no longer runs, so the locals have rigged wooden platforms with benches and attached a motorbike whose rear wheel propels you along the rail at speeds just on the fun side of the cool/terrifying divide.

We hired a guide for 12,000 pesos each for a guided 45-minute hike. Soon we were fording a brisk river, clambering up and down hills of mud not that far from the color of Ms. Angulo’s seafood. The adventure ended refreshingly, with a dive into the pooling water under a lovely waterfall. We headed back to town for a 13,000-peso lunch of fried fish before catching a brujita back to the car.

The next day was dedicated to food and — finally! — viche, which is still largely unregulated but increasingly popular. “The first swig is like a big fire is set in your body,” Bernardo Giraldo, my taxi driver from the Cali airport, had said. “The second is when it starts to be tasty.”

That description was uncannily accurate, we found, when Stephanie, our guide, took us the next afternoon to one of Buenaventura’s finest purveyors. Lucía Solís sells her wares under the Semillas de Vida brand out of stall 77 in another temporary market right across First Street from the mural.

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For Stephanie, that’ s a good thing: “If the sand were white, the big hotel chains would have already come in.” I found it beautifully rustic, with Рубрики EngNewsМетки Buenaventura ( Colombia ), Colombia , New York Times, news, NYT, Travel and Vacations, Новости. Навигация записи.

Once Colombia ’ s ‘ Deadliest City ,’ Buenaventura Is Coming Back . Love and tradition are key ingredients in the food — and drink and music — of Colombia ’ s rainy Pacific Coast region. This port city of 400,000 is at the center of it all.

Ms. Solís, a sixth-generation producer, makes different concoctions that target specific diseases and require deep knowledge of native plants, roots and seeds. “It comes from generations,” Ms. Solís told us. “It’s a gift from antiquity.”

Perhaps most intriguingly, women commonly take viche before, during and after pregnancy, under direction of the traditional midwives known as parteras. Different creations are said to help women conceive, stay healthy through the pregnancy, ease contractions and to stop postpartum hemorrhaging. “Giving birth without viche,” Ms. Solís said, “is like giving birth without a womb.”

“You can drink and get healthy at the same time,” read Ms. Solís’s promotional materials — a pretty good slogan if this stuff ever goes international. (Its export is currently prohibited.) Some have strong or bitter flavors, but the real crowd pleaser for us was Ms. Solís’s arrechón, made with viche, cream, eggs and local fruits like borojó and chontaduro. It tasted like eggnog made with peaty Scotch and is famed for its aphrodisiacal qualities. (If you’re looking for a cover story, she said it also works for anemia.)

Adam and Steve had to go home a few days earlier than I did, so Stephanie and I headed on a somewhat nausea-inducing speedboat ride out to Juanchaco (70,000 pesos, round trip), one of the easygoing beach villages inside the national park. The beaches were lined with palms and was peppered by tiny crabs, though the rather silty brown sands aren’t made for magazine covers.

For Stephanie, that’s a good thing: “If the sand were white, the big hotel chains would have already come in.” I found it beautifully rustic, with plenty of places to camp or stay for cheap, and enjoy traditional meals and viche-based concoctions. But we spent most of our day exploring the bay in a tub of a motorboat, zooming around isolated waterside nooks and crannies, stopping at tropical waterfalls for dips, watching pelicans dive bombing or fish, or watching our guide, Cristian Hurtado, crack open a coconut for us at remote Juan de Dios beach, home to a rustic eco-resort of the same name that Catalina raved about. I’ll have to save that for my next visit.


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