Travel conversations with locals

While on our day trip to Guatape this past Saturday, we spoke a lot with our guide and driver Luis about local life in Medellin, Colombia, and Guatape, as well as his observations when traveling. He also travels quite a bit and has visited the U.S., including New York City. As we were sitting down at lunch in the town of Guatape on Saturday and are enjoying a refajo, freshly squeezed passion fruit juice, and a limonada de coco (coconut limeade), we marveled to him about how good all the local fruits in Colombia are and how much we love this juice, especially with its nice frothy top. He agreed, saying that he loves the local fruit and especially loves mango and blackberries (funnily enough, blackberry juice (de-seeded) is extremely common in Colombia, always seen on the list of juices to choose from at fresh juice squeezing stands, yet in the U.S., that’s pretty much unheard of. “Can I just say that the orange juice in the U.S. is just terrible,” he said, laughing. “I don’t know what that is, but it is not juice from orange.”

We also laughed and agreed. I explained to him that the multiple types and level of processing and pasteurization of the oranges used for juice, predominantly sourced from Florida, basically ruined the flavor of the orange juice, resulting in that disgusting processed flavor. Even when juices say “100% juice” on the label, they’ve deconstructed that orange and made “flavorings” out of the orange that although are artificial, because they are somewhat derived from oranges, no company is required to label their bottles with “additives” or “artificial flavoring.” The food laws in the U.S…. are questionable and sad. In the end, it doesn’t taste anything like the fresh juice you can reliably get in Colombia (or really, any other country) at all.

Yep, in Colombia, you get fresh, real food. In the U.S., we get processed everything. Not everything is better in the land of the rich and “free.”

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