Travel

"Lo mejor" To Pangoa and Chuao Caracas

November 28, 2011

Childbirth temper from Bogota and arriving in Lima in a comfortable flight. I do not know how, but they gave me a bussiness class, the first time in my life (actually no, but the other was in a md80 Alitalia). They bring me everything and more, there are only chairs in human skin and hostesses topless. I would never remove! Then some turbulence and air pockets above the Andes on the ground remind me that all in all you are better.
The mountains that take you to Lima are fantastic, one pure entertainment.
Check in at the hotel after a taxi driver I " steals " $ 75. Waiting for 20 flags of all the countries (of altrone is international), sin who are the flags of the parties from Mc Donalds. The hotel is modest: very bad internet connection and TV with 2 channels. I feel 60 years on the climate of Italy, there are only a scooter and a black and white film by Fellini.
At 13.00 we start our meeting. On the one hand I am with the team formed by Eduardo, Margot Elena and Pedro Segundo. Across a number of people who take turns to those interested in trade with Italy, to people who need my help to install the machines. The meeting goes and starts sorgermi doubt that we are all here, but nobody really knows what; In fact, many good intentions, but nothing concrete.
I begin to wonder who are the people in my team, because I see it in their eyes lost a question " What am I doing here? "... the same question that I would like to do to them.
Finally in the evening we take the bus to Pangoa. There I know exactly what to do and what my role! Pangoa is a cooperative of Cacaoteros of southern Peru, where they have to sell a plant for chocolate. I do not sell plants, but I can help them find a good one at a good price, thanks to my experience.
Traveling with a bus that looks good, but so is not: start with 1 hour late, then with the air conditioning broken, most recently the driver is stopped by the police and is found drunk ... Well besides busting the boxes for the safety lose 2 hours for the change of driver, travel of 15 hours. We never arrive, I'm already regretting this trip in Peru.
We arrive at the hotel in a motorcycle taxi, a motorcycle with two rear seats, something between a bee and a Chinese sedan chair.
Arrived at the hotel the lady asks me for an autograph, I look dazed, she already knows all about me ... "Guinness record" ... looks like a guinness record Mirco fans Nek. I make him an autograph on the fly, because embarrasses me a lot. I do not know whether to be happy or mad here .... no internet
Start the meeting with Pangoa. Alvino Nunez does the honors of the house, get a counselor and then the coach of cocoa and other people begin to introduce the cooperative and their organization; I seem to be very well equipped and well planted, they have people who deal with credit, training and all the other things.
Let's go for a ride in their center of Acopio. At first the coffee, which actually is not nothing more than a warehouse where cocoa bag that comes already ready; then the center of Acopio cocoa, will be that is my work will be which for them is work begun by less time than the coffee, but I see a thousand faults. I talk a lot and do a lot of advice. They begin to wonder plant (real reason for the visit), and finally comes the directora, Ms. Esperanza Dionisio. We return to the office to talk about the system, I show him my study I worked; indeed I put down 2 levels: a more statement, a more dear. Pangoa is a reality beautiful and the people are really available, particularly albino, which although very young, has clear ideas. Everything seems to end well, are already past 6 hours and the time is flown.
We eat together, I a plate of fruit and a platano maduro. We try to finish early because after we have another appointment with Mr. Robert, a representative of another association of Cacaoteros the area. He is decidedly more small and as soon as we enter immediately see a lot of cocoa in really bad conditions. Let's talk a little bit and after I tell him that his ex-I do not like cocoa, extracts from a lot a handful of cocoa wonderful. They waited for me to see?! This is really one of the best cocoa little sign of criollo. We continue more concerned until after midnight, fatigue over me and I have to say goodbye.

November 29, 2011

We got up early as usual, we have a breakfast of fruit and go to Satipo to catch our bus back (I am already sweating cold for the trip venita of 15 hours and I can not imagine).
We climb quickly tired and fall asleep. After only 100 km I realize that I have stolen the camera ... Nooooooooooo! Begin to beat the heart pounding, with the machine had a hardisk with practically all my life in!
The rest of the trip is only so many blasphemies and commonplaces. The driver does not help, I will say that the fault is also because its the bus is an espresso and then did not have to get off in any way. The language does not help, maybe I can not explain well, but mostly I think that those who do not have ears to hear, does not intend to.
That sucks, my car, that sucks!
We arrive at night. The trip, apart from the theft, is better. Let's move on to a beautiful passage at 4800 meters " the pace of Ticlio. "

November 30, 2011

This morning we have to go to make a complaint by the police, the shipping agency, we have a meeting in Sierra Esportadora (the government agency for exports).
Here are very slow, the cops do not help me. Finally comes a boy who tells me: "you are a foreigner who is came to help us, we need to assist you, it is not can this attitude. Come with me! " It brings me to the tourist office of attention. There is completely different music. They help me and I find support in the agent Eric.
After the complaint, we Esportadora Sierra. A large part of the meeting in which video conference with the coach of the national cocoa. All very well, drop the ace of cups and the announcement that I would like to make a foundation to help their campesinos. I say this with my heart and with true passion and their belief perceive it so much that I wonder if I could go on December 15 in a riunone in Rionegro. I tell him no, but this gives me much trouble ... I would go! While continuing the meeting, I try to convince myself to go, but that would mean coming home to six days more late (because after here I will go and return in Venezuela December 12), but not for another six days to see my daughters, my wife, I could not resist.
I feel like crap, it would be important, but I do not think that it has closed a door, I think they realized that I wanted.
We return to the hotel and finally with a good connection I can see Arianna and Martha ... 10 days later my little girls!
The afternoon (a little late) eat animatamete also discussing with my team on what to do for the future, because we are not yet established and already We have earned the trust of the government.
The purpose of the evening is still in the bus company to see if we can retrieve my camera. We get almost close to a compromise: they would pay a part, but in fact we do not get anything.
11:59 hrs we leave for Trujillo to Casagrande. Tomorrow visit to the sugar factory.

December 1, 2011

The journey begins to weigh, so many days and many sleepless nights by bus to the fourth category.
We arrive at Casagrande and waiting for a vast expanse of sugar cane; I do not know how many acres they may be, but on the one hand we walk more 20 km before you see the end. We arrive at the sugar mill and like everyone else stands out for its strong smell of molasses and the black smoke that rises strong driven by steam. Is not the first one that I see. Before this I had seen Valdez in Ecuador, but this is truly immense.
My arrival is as the arrival of the messiah. They currently are not selling in Europe and a European buyer see him as a prophet of wisdom. I listen intimidated, know that our market is demanding and do not know how to respond for fear of making fool.
The day goes by fast. Towards evening we sit at home and let's talk about Margot the foundation that we want to do in Peru. The topic we are passionate about and if they fly three hours without even noticing it. I have to go back to Lima and leave my new friends. I'm sorry, we embrace strong knowing that it is not and should not be a goodbye, but a see you soon.
Before leaving the bus with Margot takes me to a lady from the bakery " Carmencita " eating a piece of candy, rice with milk and sour cherries (or something similar). My God that good!
I salute the company and the way to Lima.

December 2, 2011

The trip is delayed a bit, so much so that just arrived at the hotel I go to sleep 2 Oretta.
Today is the only day a little I would like to take this opportunity to feel free and the home, to see if everything is okay, but before you've even finished my nap is calling me to see Pedro: "Mirco illego en 15 minutos en el hotel." What I could not tell you if I'd waited with open arms?!
Indeed I'm glad to see him, Pedro addition to being a very educated person, enjoys the knowledge of local politicians even at high levels. I understand that with him the idea of ​​making a foundation is the one that hit more and for which all members of staff want to work.
We have lunch together. Finally I find a dish of fried Yoca and beginning to apprezzade the chica morada: a drink made of black corn dried, with the addition of a little pineapple. To see her and instead looks like red wine.
The afternoon is spent in some stores DigiCams to see if maybe they have already my car relisting. Useless ... not even a shadow. I'll eat the cifles and go to sleep. Tomorrow we leave for Caracas in search of the original cocoa porcelain.

December 3, 2011

I wake up with a strange desire to apple pie. Indeed I had it already yesterday evening.
I go out and try for the trade of this Lima simple and delicious dessert. On the evening of my arrival I saw a little boy with a bike-shop that had them. I just have 2 brackets, but I do not see anything. I take a taxi and go to Lima airport: nice and very fast in its various steps.
At passport control they ask me the slip of paper input. Merd ... I do not have ... it was in the camera bag that I have stolen. And now?
"Don Ningun problem Mirco puede pagar $ 5." The energumero that is at passport control tells me that everything is paying possible. I did not understand if it is in rule or not, but I do not want to pay and then pull out the allegation of theft, tell the story of my mother and then my grandmother, I tell him that I have a brother in a wheelchair to go to take urgent .. . Whilst I do not see me strifino eyes to weep a little "work"! The Incredible Hulk Andean recoils and let me pass. Now once a little prayer to our Lord to forgive me of cheating.
18.00 arrival in Caracas (Venezuela), where we should be waiting for Stephen, one of my employee who wanted to come with me in the last part of my trip to be able to steal some secret my Cocoa. I do not know if I want to give him many, experience counts and costs.
With him are waiting Cattabriga, the director of the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Venezuela, a great lord but not seen for now.
After 1 hour, with a quiet throughout Latin America, I would touch the shoulders: "... and then Mirco" and then I was about to leave on foot. I would like to tell you but it is so nice that the only thing that I can do it and embrace it.
I immediately changed a bit Bolivari of the black market. Here it works well, there is the official exchange rate to 6 bolivari every dollar exchange rate and the black 11 bolivari.
He is waiting for his wife who comes from Spain. Meanwhile, Stefano and I we eat an arepa all'arepa grill: a sort of motorway - Mc Donalds dell'arepa.
We arrive at the hotel where Continental is waiting Benji Price, a goalkeeper who could be good but in reality it is not. It makes us wait for 42 minutes to give us a key to the room, "a lord ratito degame Checking". "Checking Degame." What the fuck should check how many years I have come hair on your chest gosh!?
Stefano capottato rightly is feeling the time zone (the time would be 4 in Italy).
On the other hand the sfigatone us to a suite, which to be honest is not nothing more than a normal room of a 3 star Italian, but rather than the usual room last year where there was only cold water and dirty sheets ...

4 to 5 December 2011

At 4 we already standing. Our fabulous hotel does not enjoy even an internet connection (I downloaded the mail).
Comes to take for your trip to Chuao - Choroni Anja, who with a lance (a boat), there will island of white cocoa.
The trip is a true odyssey. We boarded a small Lancia Mr. Domingo hired a speedboat. Today, among other things, there a sort of meeting of Latin American heads of state and there is a strong fear of terrorist attacks. Then we head overland to Barlovento, en Rio Chico: the area where it comes from cocoa carenero superior that just last month we have imported. The trip is Still, in a taxi "de Confienza", which is a safe taxi, because right and left us all say that Venezuela is now the country's dangerous in the world.
The taxi driver stops for gas "10 EURO CENTS PER LITRE!" Nearly almost all cases I leave here and I'm going to Italy with 2 tanks of 60 liters.
Once in Barlovento, the first thing we notice is that everything is underwater. The Rio Chico, mighty river, last year had broken its banks and still have not been repaired. Although we are not in the era of winter (their rainy season), it's raining here, however much, in fact, the company just got "mis poem" Mrs. Amanda, we can hardly remove from the machine that goes down a storm incredible.
I finally just stopped and Stefano we enter the finca. Is not very well maintained, very productive; I guess to guess that does not come to 300 kg per hectare. More go inward, more mosquitoes and flies devour us. The friend Simon who is guiding us laughs saying, "they feel it is arrived freso blood. " That's why I noticed in the crowd. The problem is that with all this water stagnant flies go to the wedding.
We also collect twenty pods, actually there would serve more, but do not resist to all these bites.
We enter in the company. They not only produce cocoa, but also have their own chocolate production. Simon is engineer (as well as being the husband of the daughter of the mistress) and builds the machines alone.
After a brief taste of their products makes me see his cars, those built by him: a real Archimedes machines of chocolate. Small presses butter, concatrici, tempering machines, small machines with simple technology, but it gives excellent results.
The company Mis Poemas is inter alia expanding production putting up a factory by 800 square meters able to work 1500 kg per day.
The machine that more impresses me after the press for butter, it is the millennium: a machine able to refine in a single step from the cocoa nibs to 20 microns.
It is evening and accompany me in a hotel run by a Muzzone, an Italian gentleman. The hotel is nice and invite Simon and his wife to eat with us.
I saw the restaurant and saw that the chef is a Colombian (nothing against Colombians, but often I just happened to not eat well in Colombia), preferiso take fruit; others eat a lomito pepper.
Papaya, melon and pineapple frozen ... but gosh how syrupy but still frozen, that sucks! My view on the Colombian cooks does not change. I protest and I was affected by the type plate of fruit.
Throughout this situation, however, Simon conceive an alternative machine, able to pass from the nibs chocolate in less than 10 minutes. He laughs and tells me I'm a genius. I laugh and say, likewise, may have been born a beautiful friendship.

December 6, 2011

Still frustrated by dinner at the hotel worthy of the best choice bo-frost, we are preparing to return to Caracas, but a quick call us change plans again: Simon, who was to accompany us can not leave home due to rising water during the night. What do we do? The situation is difficult, because all continue to tell us not to leave the hotel, this place is not safe. With a taxi back via an alternative route, it's raining cats and dogs (or buckets). We are like two wet chicks. We arrive in Caracas tired and with an immense hunger. Time to put our bags at the hotel and we rush to TGI fridays: the chain of restaurants in New York where, in addition to the usual hamburger you eat something more ... but we down of hamburgers and fries.
I'm not a fan of this cuisine, but every time I pluck the urge to eat something messy, something that would not eat, but this time ... I already know that I will regret it! Sauces and dips will give life in my belly to twenty petulant with discharges from the northeast ... but to be honest, "who cares" and all attached!
In the afternoon we pass it to rest at the hotel. We are tired. For I have many more days that are outside Italy and I feel the weight of the trip.

December 7, 2011

The bell rings and free day!
Today, with my new ballance, jeans and polo shirts with starched collar me it is a nice walk all'Avila: the mountain overlooking Caracas. With Stephen we have become experts in negotiating the taxi, in fact since the first day we can check prices by 70% less. We arrive at the foot of the great mountain and a cable car going up to the summit. From there on a wonderful view: you can see the plantations of eucalyptus and the air is more clean. In summit there a small walk 500 meters from the nearest cable car takes you to a 25-story hotel, a real insult to nature ... huge and unbelievable ... closed! One thing that cement and tears ... now that is fact was exploited gosh!
Stephen can not resist and you smoke a cigarette, here is forbidden, but he cares for turkish.
Coming back we see even better how impressive the cable car; There is about 30 minutes, I think the cable car biggest of Latin America.
The afternoon we spend in a flea market or better than the Negroni " senor " senor " senor " you tug here and there to sell you a pair of shoes tarot. I like a good Belluno eyewear I buy a home "rey bam", the brother of the poor ray ban famous ... hear some 10 cents and with a smile.

8 to 9 December 2011

These two days in preparation for the Chocovenezuela. First we visit a school Chocolate directed by Mrs. Marlene, a former coach of Nestle who knows a parcel. From the initial responses from me, I understand that the thin Marlene underneath it a rock on the chocolate culture. She brings me also to visit the factory of Cocoa Real: a gigantic plant can produce more of 40 tons per day of product. To me the technology and industrial machines like as much as the work by hand. They are and will remain craftsman, but because of this sense that behind these machines is some artisan builder who has lost time and sweat.
Marlene is fascinated by things that say so much that I officially invited to return to Venezuela in May. There for there I do not know what to say, are already full of things, I have to go to Sao Tome in Lima in January, February and ... and then Dubai and New York. At the end I can not help but say yes. We hope that it is time to follow me and my wife, so not leave her alone at home and spend a week together between work and vacation.
Marlene would like me to do the chairman of a committee of judges of a national competiziona pastry; important and difficult, but fascinates me.
The rest of the time to get to Friday afternoon, time of inauguration of the event, we spend between capital radio, television as the canal, periodicals such as el mundo. In short, feverish that you begin to feel. I am the only foreign guests and the press chasing me.
In the canal we are also talking about a possible collaboration to make a program for the whole of Latin America on cocoa. I would be the conductor mmmm ... me gusta!
Hours 14 o'clock we arrive at Palafiere, but as soon as we break out of the taxi, we understand that something is wrong ... two more steps and we see that everything is wrong! Now there should be the authority to inaugurate and instead everything is delayed by at least 2 hours ... 3 hours ... to become an astonishment 17:02 Cattabriga opens to the public event. Grips my heart because I know how the cavenit is committed, but here are so ... Venezuelans sti fancazzisti!
We spend the evening drinking whiskey at the home of Andrea, a friend who is came to work for me in Italy and with whom we have kept in touch; I would like to go to sleep ... tomorrow is a great day, I have a 4 demonstrations.

December 10, 2011

I wake up and eat a banana. Stephen if he sleeps. I am tense ... maybe because I feel on me the weight of the guest of honor ... let's go!
The first thing we'll do is entertain the kids in the chocolaboratorio; I now know that for a long time prefer children to adults, not because are more naive, but are more true. If you explain something to learn and thank you, while adults sometimes have the rubber face that you would wrest from one ear biting like Tyson.
With children it is a huge success. I color them with the chocolate ganache and them is more that strafogano, that that they use for coloring. Vince Andrea, a girl of 6 years has designed a chocolate pods that looks real!
14 to begin tasting them. I'm leaving myself with "brunch chocolate", I want to surprise them and in fact I start with the ace of spades: balsamic vinegar of Modena with cocoa biscuit bread out of the oven.
The public is in disibilio. I've already conquered and there are still 4 products. Coming in with a shot of olive oil Garda after a museum with Venezuelan cacao of Paria. Just say that cocoa is Venezuelan them get excited and start to fumargli ears; are ready for the final wad: artisan sourdough cake with flambéed francelico nibs and chocolate. Mrs. Mary almost faints, leaning on the shoulder of her lover (or maybe husband) and begins to ruminate this piece of cake: "still holds?" "No ma'am, I do not have anymore!" and I answer her down even more convinced her to ruminate and not be so great goodness to slip away.
How to tell the scale, 3 minutes and 05 applause and many handshakes, (well the scale are 11 minutes).
After me it's up to Stephen: he is good, but shaking like a leaf! A girl named Daniela acts as his translator, but he is na ball and I say this because is a great friend of mine. We sleep together, but you have to excite the audience, while he is cooling down. After only five minutes the 50 friends I had brought him a dowry from my course, they became 30 and after 20 minutes are 15 ... he is embarrassed. I could intervene, but even better you feel a feeling like this, it will help to grow!
After this, only time for a deep breath, there lies the cooking. Here is challenging: you have to work and explain at the same time. The presentation is called Chocolate ... agua y se puede, or how to join this that God separated. Everyone knows that you should not combine water and chocolate, but I know something more and I'll explain.
There is no a lot of people, one in the kitchen "en vivo" would like to see how to make the recipes and things like that and my explanation is chemical theory (Pallosa a bit to be honest, but I continue). I conclude by making a chocolate mousse and water, nothing of that, but one thing that few know how to do; I usually do as icing for those few who could really understand this lesson.
People taste the mousse and I'm already preparing to leave, when a murmur rises. One goes from here, another from there and in 5 minutes the present lead equally if not more people (friends who were around etc etc) and ask me for an encore, to re-explain the whole thing because according to their "eres genial de algo", ie "I've done is genius. "
Everything is well what that ends well. In the evening I go to the hotel alone, I combined stefano for a date with a girl he liked ... we'll see if they come back in Italy or if you stop in Venezuela with a Venezuelan ...

December 11, 2011

The day comes to return to Italy. As always the desire to return there, but also choked up. I eat a fresh mango and gaze infinite greet you all, hugs and kisses and I return to Italy.

END

or nearly so, because As always start by plane from Venezuela adventure more larger than that in the fincas cocoa: 4 hours in the waiting room because thought I was a terrorist ... 3 hours late plane, an Alitalia 767 with a television every 10 seats (but when they built them in 1800?), lasagna (as they call it, which is actually , messy dough the day before). Arrival in Rome under lightning and air pockets that almost bloating me out from above ... and flight to Venice with 6 hours of delay.

sign that says "Belluno 346 meters above sea level," we arrived! Latin america I miss you and I will return soon, but right now I'm enjoying a little my house!


Mirco


Translated with Google Translate