Cali is cool
Cali the World Salsa Capital
I decided to head South and finish the North of Colombia later, before I go to Mexico. My friends have a yacht in Cartagena and hope to be out there in April May, so I am planning to be in that region then.
Your visa only lasts 90 days, so mine will get renewed when I return.
I went to Cali, because it's on the way to Ecuador and Peru.
I had never heard of it, so I asked other travellers what they reckoned.
Prepare to get diverse and opposing opinions.
The girl who led the walking tour in Bogota asked me how many nights I would have here and when I said three she looked at me and said most people only have one.
So I went there with low expectations.
Cali far exceeded my expectations.
There seems to be more money here, gyms, clubs, bars, the river regeneration.
They have planted or left over 300 000 trees in and around the city, and they are protected!.
Their understanding of the land far outweighs ours.
People on mountain bikes, nice motor bikes, cars, clean streets and the usual Starbucks, Dunkin donuts and Subway.
Subway is everywhere.
And phones. Hell yeah, is that not how we measure wealth now, by the phones everyone has.
There is wifi, no worse than Canada and Argyll, everywhere here.
Walking along the river yesterday I noticed, as in the UK everyone is on their phone.
In Bogota there are police, army and security, muzzled dogs and a guards literally on every corner.
You are constantly reminded that you are being protected by these very brave individuals.
Its not like that in Cali. The security firm on the river is private, they wear blue t shirts and blend in with the crowd. There are police here everywhere but it is not nearly as in your face as it is in Bogota. Either way you know they are desparate to keep you safe, to stop crime, and you feel really grateful for that.
And the people here just get on with their lives, hopeful, happy, dancing, singing with a focus only on a prosperous and safe future.
We could do with more of that.
There is also hardly any smell here, unlike some Countries. You see heaps of rubbish on the street, but maybe its the temperature or that fact it is not there for long that it does not matter.
I have to be totally honest here, I am a foody along with being a nutrition twat, and the food scares me..
Tons of carbs, plantain, tatties, fried god knows what, rice, sugar in everything and for a post menopausal granny, this is not good. I have tapped it through and meditated on my blood sugar, as this is actually a real consideration for me.
But I like eating out.
If I buy food and cook in the hostel, it is much more social and healthy, to date only had 4 meals home made.
I much prefet to eat out.
Loads of pop, coke, diluted juice, I think fruit then a ton of granulated sugar.
You get a juice with any meal you order, and you have no idea whats in it.
Maybe a good thing.
Cali is a huge sugar cane providers, but it was the same in Bogota. I think they maybe copy the US with the sugar and everything mentalness.
Street food have bbq's, hot stands and fryers, I had the worst corn on the cob I have ever tasted, actually inedible, I had to throw it away.
Often there is only salt on the table, if that. You get lots of soups and fried chicken, but they usually need salt.
For someone who loves Indian, Mexican and thai food it can be a bit bland.
I know some people say they love SA food, but to date that is defo not my experience.
I have gone to nice places and had salmon or a steak, but you pay what you would at home for it, so not really possible to sustain that if you are away for 9 months.
But there are amazing fruits and veggies to be had at the markets so I have no excuse.
Its the same at home, even although we grow amazing food, we don't always eat it.
I need to cook and chop more.
And I want to speak fluent Spanish.
And dance like these dudes.