Cali, Salsa capital of the worldSeptember 18 in Colombia
It was always on the cards to head here as good old Quantic lives here. I say lives as he moved to New York just before I left on my travels, never mind eh?!
Cali is the centre of the universe for Salsa and the city is very much alive with it! Good job for me, I found a couple of dutchies in Salento who were going my way, so we all went together. Then, just as we got off the bus, I bumped into Syarda for like the 6th time. I thought she’d gone home to Holland, but no, so we scooped her up too and jumped in a taxi, 4 big bags strapped to the roof of a tiny Hyundai.
Once in the hostel, I bumped into a few more people and before you know it, there were about 10 of us having a drink. Then we hit the town to see what this Salsa lark was all about, it was crazy! So much fun!
The next day, the plan was to do a walking tour and then go out dancing again, after a group lesson this time, and that’s what we did! I bumped i to another couple I knew and they joined us for the lesson. We all headed out and got to the club, but first, we discovered that the off-licence across the street served booze, just like a bar. Good job too, as we found out that the couple were on a big honeymoon trip, so there was a round of 16 very large tequilas went down. Boom! Not much happened the next day, apart from food, but we did plan a little day trip to San Sipreano, which is not heard of.
We got up quite early and headed to the bus terminal, found a shuttle and jumped on.
The bus dropped us at the side of the highway where we were shown to a shed to by tickets. Not really knowing what was going, we bought the tickets and crossed an Indiana Jones-like bridge across a deep ravine. Once on the other side we found a railway track, and what can only be described as a shipping palette fixed to a motor bike! There were 9 of us in the end, crammed on a wooden bench, motor bike with the front wheel up, back wheel on one of the tracks, and off we went. A crazy ride for 6km down a semi-disused railway track at 40kph, soooo much fun!! And no one died.
The next adventure was to walk to 3 waterfalls, with inflated innertube around neck, and we set off into the jungle. We had a guide, so he showed us the way, ditched the tubes after crossin the river, then headed up hill. The waterfalls were fun, getting there was very muddy and humid, but we got a swim in each, then a couple hours later, found ourselves back at our tubes. We then all hoped into the river and slowly made our way back to where we started, down some gentle waterfalls. Nice.
Once back and dried off, we sort about getting our turbo trolly-bike pallet-bench, a further 6km down the track to the next town. It was getting dark, and raining, so this added a whole new level to the danger, we were all tired, but smiling!! After a bit of faff, we found our way back to Cali, a few hours up the road, home late, but a great day out.
Knowing that everyone would be trashed, I sought out a swimming pool on the Wednesday. Once I’d found one, it was awesome, the only problem being that it was for members and lessons only during the day. My Spanish is no where near the level need med to sweet talk an old guy on the security desk, but 10 minutes later, I was in the managers office, with a swimming coach, who could speak some English, and it was agreed I could have an hour in the pool. Bangin’!! Oh, and I was the only one in there, what luck!!
As I was getting out of the pool, I saw someone else doing lengths. I walked past his lane and called me over. He was a local student paramedic and wondered what I was doing there. I told him and he offered to show me round a little, perfect! We headed to a market and got some food, he showed me a few salsa spots, then we ended up and his friends drumming studio, near my hostel, where I got a short lesson on traditional Pacific drumming. This is what happens when you head off by yourself!
I got back to the hostel and told the guys, who’d done nothing, so I felt a little bit lucky. We then got on the beers in readiness for another night out, and Syarda‘ slays one before heading home.
Heading out to the same club, I found that there was a jazz club tow doors down, which was free. I paid into the salsa club, drank a beer and headed next door by myself. What I found was an 18 piece jazz big band about to start, I couldn’t believe my luck, the club only sat about 80 people and I stood at the back. They were unbeliveable! The type of thing you’d pay £40 for in Ronnie Scott’s. I sent the rest of the night between dancing and watching the band. The next day was a bit of a right off, but made plans to head south with one of the crew, a kiwi girl called Kirsty, to a town called Popayán, half way to the boarder.Read more