Estamos en Cali, Colombia!
Compared to the population of three million people in Panama, we are excited to experience the different culture of Colombia, a country with a population of 45 million and known for its unique salsa dancing, plantain-based food, ideal climate, beautiful mountains, and world-renowned coffee. International travel tip #1: Arrive at least three hours early for your flight. Although a slow morning in the airport, we all arrived safely in Cali, Colombia, where we were escorted to our very modern and trendy hotel overlooking the entire city of Cali. Today we began the Colombia portion of the program by learning all about the city and therefore established a background about the country’s distinctive culture and rich history. Understanding Colombian culture will prepare us for the week ahead as we dive into the country’s agricultural production practices and commodities. We are excited to be submerged in yet another culture and compare Colombia’s agriculture to that of the United States and Panama. Some of the highlights of today were visiting historical national monuments and statues, traveling up the tallest mountain in the city to overlook Cali, and experiencing some of the diverse cultural food at a restaurant where all meals were plantain-based (a plantain is a mix between a banana and a potato cooked in various ways). Tomorrow we are off to spend the day at the Center for Tropical Research, where we will learn about tropical agricultural production, a sector of the industry that we do not see in the United States.