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    • Evergreen

      Narciso, a local pig farmer from Villa de Leyva, Colombia, plays tejo every Friday and Saturday evening, sometimes even on Thursdays if he has spare cash. "It's a place to unwind. Playing tejo is about having fun, beer, and banter", - Narciso explained.

    • Evergreen

      The rules are simple. Each team member throws a smooth rock at a clay target; if he hits just outside the little triangle made of envelopes filled with dynamite, the team gets one point. Three for hitting the dynamite, and six if you hit right in the middle. The first team to gain 21 points win.

    • Evergreen

      You don't have to pay to play: according to Nestor Vargas, owner of the tejo bar of Villa de Leyva, each team must buy at least half a case of beer and they can play for as long as they like. "On a good night, I sell 30-40 cases of beer", - Nestor said.

    • Evergreen

      Playing tejo is now a national sport in Colombia. "A national champion can win as much as $5,000", - one of the players explained, excited. In a country where an average monthly wage is $300, this is an astronomical sum of money.

      But tejo isn't really about competition. "Most men who come to play are local construction workers, day laborers, small farmers. It's their space. They can talk without reserve, drink beer and hang out", - Nestor told me.

    • Evergreen

      Tejo is said to have originated from an ancient Inca game of throwing golden discs at targets. "Explosions just add a little color, I suppose", - Nestor said, but when asked here the dynamite came from, he just shrugged his shoulders.

    • Evergreen

      Women are allowed to come and play, too, and in some parts of Colombia, lots of female players enjoy the sport. In Villa de Leyva, though, this is a man's world.

      "My doors are open to anyone and everyone. I don't tolerate brawls or fights and the men know that if there's trouble, I'll call the police. Tejo is about sportsmanship", - Nestor assured.

      Soft-spoken, intelligent, quiet but incredibly efficient, Nestor kept a sharp eye on the game, hurrying over to clear empty beer bottles or fill the dynamite envelopes before the teams even realized they were running low.

    • Evergreen

      Nestor's bar is in the shadier part of town, but foreigners are welcomed to come in and play. "We're actually starting to get more and more tourists nowadays", - Nestor explained.

      If you want to try your hand at tejo, check out "Cancha de Tejo" bar in Villa de Leyva, Boyaca, Colombia. This is the real, blue collar Colombia: raw, unfiltered, and unapologetic.

    • RussP

      I love South America the health and safety brigade are yet to spoil everything.

    You've been invited!