Imagine being able to do what you love, every day of your life. Chris Cajoleas is doing just that. “I’ve been in Colombia for four years now and I just love it,” says the Bradenton, Florida native. “I am a social person and love to be active. The activity doesn’t matter as much as just being out and meeting people,” he explains.
The small town of Sabaneta, where Chris lives, is located just south of Medellín. Its central park is the perfect location to meet with friends or people-watch. With a beautiful church at one end that faces benches shaded by flowering trees, a fountain, and footpaths, the park follows the formula that exists in many of the small cities and towns in Colombia. All around the park are cafés, restaurants, bars, and shops. “I am content,” says Chris, “to stop in one of the restaurants, drink a coke, and chat with the locals.”
Chris spends the rest of his time playing tejo (pronounced tay-ho), the national sport of Colombia. It involves throwing a weighed metal puck into a clay pit that has targets containing gunpowder. When the puck hits the target, it explodes. “I love it, I could play it every day,” he says. Chris plays in tournaments all over Colombia.
When he’s not on the tejo court, he can be seen zipping around the area on his motor scooter. “I live in the south, and many of my friends live to the north in Medellín,” Chris explains, “so I jump on my scooter to meet them for lunch or a visit. Driving around Medellín can be tough in a car due to the traffic, so a scooter is a great way to get around. It’s a fun way to explore the city.”
Chris really enjoys eating at Toscano in Medellín, which specializes in Italian fare and offers both inside and outside seating. “I usually sit outside,” Chris says. It’s another great way to meet people as they walk by the table. Toscano serves traditional Italian food including antipasto salad, pizza, pasta dishes, and to-die-for risotto. Most entrees cost between $5 and $10. “I’m not that big of a fan of traditional Colombian food,” he says with a smile, “I prefer to eat in restaurants owned by foreigners.”
Although Chris thoroughly enjoys living in Sabaneta, traveling around Colombia combines his love of being active and being social. “One of my favorite cities to visit is Bucaramanga,” he says, “the people are so down-to-earth and the climate is slightly cooler than the Medellín area.” His other favorite areas of Colombia include Jardin, where you can take a horse ride down to the caves; Salento, in coffee country, where you can see wax palm trees; and San Andres, an island that has his favorite beaches.
Chris’ life is good. He lives in a great part of the country that has perfect spring-like weather. He travels and meets new people, all while playing a sport he loves. What more could anyone ask for?
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