The country side is beautiful and if I haven’t mentioned it, the people are the friendliest you’ll ever meet. Initially we get a long glance, as we are different, but everyone greets you on the street or in a store or restaurant. The other day a gentleman walked up to me in a neighborhood grocery store, smiled, and shook my hand. I read that as “welcome!”. Walks : Mongui is at 9500′, so it didn’t take much to hike up to 10k. Dave noted he’d never been that high with his feet on the ground.
Restaurants receive all of their food deliveries through the front door, as all of the old buildings have shared walls and no alley or back door. Congestion on these narrow streets is common, especially since each food type is a different vendor, like the egg man below.
Another feature that puts Mongui on the map is their Christmas colored buildings. White with green and red trim are the rule, with a side of brick. But no two alike.
One of Mongui’s claim to fame is the manufacturing of soccer balls. They advertise hand sewn leather ones, but we’ve had to search hard to find one. Most are formed synthetic, or even foam. All are colorful and I’d guess there are at least a dozen shops selling them, and an unknown number of manufacturers. It’s said 80% of the population is somehow involved in the industry, producing 300k balls a year.
After a not-too-long bus ride from Tunja, we arrived in the village of Mongui. Population 5000 or so, it’s nestled in a beautiful green valley where the small family farmer still rules.
Everyone seems to have a cow or two in their yard, with horses & sheep rounding out the barnyards. Several times we’ve seen a cow being “escorted” through town.