Friday, October 28, 2011

Cali, Colombia 16 – 21 Oct 2011

I got into Cali late due to the rain in Salento. I arrived around 8:30pm. I got to the Hostel and found out that it was the last day of Cali famous Salsa festival. I saw the celebration on TV live but I was too tired to get to the stadium where the celebration is.
The next day is a public holiday in Colombia, the hostel gal told me that nothing will be open in the center and advice me to go to the Chipichape shopping mall. I spent the entire day in the mall, window shopping and watched a movie. At night my host Leonardo pick me up from the hostel. He and his mom lives in a big house. They are very friendly and helpful. His mom only speaks Spanish so I got to practice my Spanish. :-)

Leonardo dropped me near to the central in the morning. I found out that Kyle is in town, a traveler I met in Leon, Nicaragua. I went to look for him at the hostel but he was out. San Antonio is an area next to the center with Colonia buildings and up on the hill there is a church. I spent the entire day walking around the center and the city. A local Civil Officer saw me sitting in front of the museum, he approached me and started to give me info about the museums around and what is free. At the end, he became my tour guide to the Museum Religious, Gold Museum and he brought me into the Theater Municipal. It was my first experience seeing the inside of a 100 years old theater, just like in the movie of the 19th century. I was so thankful to him! :-)

Teatro Municipal
I finally met up with Kyle in the afternoon, we have a chance to catch up, he bought a bike and he is going to take a boat into the Amazon with his bike and then ride his bike all the way to Peru, sounds like an interesting journey. He was taking a salsa class from a private teacher near the hostel, I got the contact cause I was looking for one as well so I could take up some Cali salsa lesson while I am in town.
In the evening, Leonardo picked me up from the hostel and we went to the church. It was actually a group of people who offers food and drinks to the poor and homeless lead by the priest. We bought 2 big bags of bread and some has drinks that they carry in a trolley, we left the church walking to the district of poor people. This area is dangerous to be in after dark, so we walk in a big group with the priest as the leader. Along the way, there are kids, adult, women and men approached us for bread. Some carries a bagpack or plastic bag so they can collect more bread. We distributed the bread along the 2km street, we passed by a homeless center where homeless people can sleep in but they have to check in before dark and the place can only take up 200 people. At some point, it gets kind of scary when too many homeless and poor people surround us for bread. Lucky Leonardo was next to me, I was really getting worried. It was a great experience and definitely goodwill to the people in need.
Monumento al Gato del Rio
Leonardo offer me to stay longer in Cali so we could go for some salsa party on Thursday, he also hosted 2 other travelers the next 2 days. One from Cameroon and one from Reunion Island. Next day, I found out that the group of Argentineans I met in Ometepe, Nicaragua is in town. I was so happy to meet them again. I also took up 2 salsa lesson in Cali, their salsa is different from what I’ve learnt, and they work more on the footsteps. It was great to experience different salsa style in different country, so far I’ve tried salsa in Mexico, Cuba, Guatemala and Colombia.

On Friday, I left really early at 4:30am to catch the early bus to Popayan so I could catch the connection bus to San Agustin. It was a 2.5 hours ride from Cali to Popayan, I arrive just in time for the bus leaving to San Agustin.
Cali – Hostel Iguana ( – 18,000 for a dorm bed and WIFI available

Taxi from Cali Terminal to Hostel Iguana – P6,500
Bus from Couchsurfer’s house to central – P1,500
Taxi from Couchsurfer’s house to Terminal – P8,000
Mini Van from Cali to Popayan – P22,000

Movie a Cali– P11,500
Salsa class at Cali – P15,000 per hour

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