So one of my first trips was down to the beautiful city of Cali!!
I decided to go on a city break to Cali in October as I had some days off work and wanted to dedicate time to the ‘Salsa’ capital of Colombia and maaaaan they weren’t lying!!
From it’s Afro Colombian roots on the pacific coast to it’s controversial medical tourism industry the city definitely has a lot of ‘salsa’, in all sense of the word. The Colombian department of Valle de Cauca has a diverse landscape and various cultural realms to uncover so if you can, explore explore explore!
With my travel homie Mr L, I arrived in Cali mid afternoon and we got a very reliable and quite safe bus from the airport to the Central bus station where taxis would be more reasonable.
After a beautiful trip through some of Valle de Cauca’s countryside singing along to some classic salsa *cue Edgar Joel – Hasta El Sol De Hoy*, we arrived at the terminal, got a taxi to our hostel.
A 4 days break at ‘El Viajero Hostel’ was just what the doctor ordered. Following the advice of my travel bud we didn’t book in advance as sometimes the charge a booking fee and to my relief they had space so we were escorted to our bunks and made ourselves at home. (P.S. I always book in advance, I had a mad moment and let him take control…… not for the faint hearted, better to be safe than sleeping in a park!)
Will now speed up the review and give you my highlights of this beautiful city:
- SALSAAAAAAAAAA!! – I fell in love with Salsa during my year abroad in Havana, Cuba so this was right up my street. El Viajero hostel supported this love and exceeded my expectations. Free Salsa classes everyday (kinda sweaty room but you know Latino steam and all that hahaha) and nightly outings to various Salsa spots around the city. GO GO GO!!
- La Menga – An area in North Cali, full of mainstream clubs where people end up stumbling to after the salsa slows down and the can spin no more. I went there twice for a reggaeton and dance refresh, it should be around 8 mill COP in a taxi at night from El Viajero.
- Cali Walking Tours – A small business set up by a young woman who had spent some time in London and wanted to take the concept back to Cali for tourists. A very nice 2 hour tour (By the way i’m not a great tourist and I managed it. For the freeness it was informative and interesting). At the time it there were 3 people voluntarily doing the tour at different times but I expect as the company grows so will the amount of tours and guides. Ask in your hotels for more information but think they meet on Tuesday and Thursday outside La Iglesia de La Merced if that helps…… (See slideshow for pics of the tour). Tip well and support the cause!!
- Down-town Cali – I didn’t get my camera as I am no damn papaya but it was pretty much the same as any other down-town area. A lot of shops and markets selling everything and more. An experience to say the least but some hidden lunch/almuerzo gems are to be discovered there too.
- El Viajero Hostel – Reasonably priced considering they have a private pool and bar. Some sites say they have hot showers, now these ‘hot’ showers are solar powered so best believe you better be in your towel, shower puff in hand when that water heats up cz I tell ya a cold shower in a cool climate is no fun!! Otherwise good fun with breakfast included!
- Climate – Cali is a generally hot city but beware of the random cold spells that can pass by. I went in early October and it was only hot in the day. Come night time if you weren’t a bit drunk, you were layered up in most of your clothes to get some sleep.
I know there is so much more to see in Valle de Cauca and this is only a snippet of it’s beauty. I have made a promise to myself to see more the places I go to and not just be a sexy sloth!!
Here are the momentos of my time in Cali, Colombia 😀
p.s. Shout out to my homies Monika and David!! Can’t believe we all didn’t take photos together!!
So i thought as i’m about to embark on another big adventure i better prepare my best friend and soul mate….. MY AFRO!!
Here’s how it played out:
ME: *spritz with water and rub in some almond oil and shea butter* So fro are you ready for this??
FRO: Well…… tbh i don’t know what to expect, the last few years I have spent so much time in the sun I don’t know how to prepare!
ME: It’s going to be amazing! We are going back to Latin America to teach english again, remmeber how much fun we had last time…
FRO: Are they going to judge me??
Me: Why would you say that?
FRO: In Cuba it was ok because i was a hot mess trying to grow out the perm but i felt comfortable because there were so many others like us. In Mexico, i LOVED the attention but sometimes i think people loved you because of me…. I don’t want that this time.
ME: I mean, yeh we have been through a lot but where we are going is practically a mixture of the places we have been to. Colombia has a vibrant culturally diverse mix of people so we will be just fine.
FRO: Do they have Sally’s? Will Pak’s send us braid hair like in Mexico?
ME: You know I won’t let anything happen to you, i love you and don’t forget that. The first week i’m there i will make sure you will be ok, even if we do have to get onto Pak’s and express our stuff over.
FRO: Is there going to be sand?
ME: We are moving to Barranquilla, it’s not on the beach itself but i predict we will be spending a LOT of time at the beach if I can help it!
FRO: TRY not to get sand in us all the time though, when we went to Playa Del Carmen i loved being in twists with you as we didn’t get the main impact
(Me in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico 2012)
ME: *covers eyes* OK OK, I know i can gt lazy once i find a style but i promise i will spend more time with you and make sure you’re having as much fun as me!
FRO: Do i have to ask if people are going to squeeze, stroke or pat me……
ME: Ah fro…. If anyone touches you without my permission, they will have me to answer to, NO EXCEPTIONS!!
FRO: OK…… I guess it doesn’t sound all that bad, will get to experience some new air, have natural steams, go into the ocean, meet new hair folicles and bask in some lovely breeze. Maybe I could get one of the cool thread braids….. Would look nice!
ME: *brushing up the side and admiring my curl pattern* Maybe fro, Maybe……….
WE WILL BE JUST FINE FRO……. WE ALWAYS ARE!!!
P.S. If all else fails, we always have Valderrama to look up to! ❤
Event review: The Afro Hair and Beauty Show
Date: Sunday 26th May 2013
Location: Business Design Centre, London
As a natural hair transitioner i decided to go and check out this event with a dear homie Amu.Dat and see what this famous exhibition was all about.
Brought to us by Black Hair and Beauty Magazine this event boasted everything and anything to do with Black Hair and Beauty all under one roof…
Over 2 days there would be a chance to see new products available, try out new styles and socialize in general.
In my opinion this was a great event but it lacked some vital features that could have made it a lot better.
If you are new to my blog, you can see my natural hair journey in previous posts from my days in Mexico up until now and as many other transitioners one of the main topics between us is that we lack general advice and versatile style tips that don’t take more than an hour to do!
One of the things that blew me away just from walking around the exhibition was the amount of people actually going natural and the variety of styles i saw. Amongst other looks, the attendees made sure they were on point!
The Business Design Centre was a good location for the event however i do feel the layout was a bit overwhelming. Upon entrance you were introduced to the fashion side of Black Hair and Beauty with stalls selling from ethic inspired clothing and jewelry to general clothing stalls including one that had the aptly named ‘Natural Girls Rock’ T-Shirt.
Once through this section you then had to go up to the main section which to me was a tsunami of products and demonstrations. There was nothing wrong with the amount of products on display but to get an equal amount of time with each stall was impossible as some aisles were so narrow it was impossible to pass. I saw many people stop and think about how they would tackle the route around. Maybe a suggested route or a simple stall map would have been useful, that way if you missed a certain stall you had the information with you to take away.
Once we had a gander, we saw a lot of the big brands in Black Hair care which was nice to see because we recognized the products and most of us have already had some contact with their products. However from a natural point of view, even though we are all about integration there was no real direction for people with natural hair. I personally approached a few stands and asked about their products and was mainly told that the products for natural hair were mainly the same and it was personal choice on which ones to buy. I felt that it could have had a bit more support in that sense as i’m sure some people came out of there with repeat purchases.
Shout out the these two fashionistas who approached us for an on the spot review!
During the day there were various fashion shows and stage events including a ‘Battle of the Barbers’ which kept people entertained. One of the highlights were fashion shows inspired by the British Heart Foundation and another by Sleek Hair and Cosmetics. Check out my slideshows below! (Do excuse my amateur photography skills!! Got some good shots though!)
British Heart Foundation
Sleek Hair and Cosmetics
Here are some of the Beautiful attendees i met today:
Overall it was a must do event even if it was just to see what was out there because in an age where people are rebelling against style and fashion conforms it was nice to see the amount of people supporting this event. In the mainstream we may be seen as a minority but today we definitely were not alone.
All images were taken by me.
If any bloggers would like to be linked to this post feel free to comment below.
As you know i’m an Afro Rebel and would like to share this amazing article with my followers that was published today in a major UK newspaper by Eva Simpson . The Sun newspaper did an article about the dangers of straightening Afro hair and this itself is a massive breakthrough in British media as many people don’t know the logistics of ‘Afro Hair’ and assume a perm is the simple answer rather than it stripping down a layer of your identity.
Feel free to comment on it here and be sure to check out the inspirational women mentioned in the articles in the links below.
The Article: Dangers Of Straightening Afro Hair
Journalist :Eva Simpson
Sky News Presenter with Advice Website for Black and Mixed Race Girls : Lukwesa Burak
Marianne Miles (tbc)
Also check out Amudat for fashion focused ethnic inspiration
So you have all been with my on my natural hair journey and i’m proud to say that i’m actually there n i’m lovin my fro and all it’s fierceness!! Even though i have to plait it up every night n watch where i lean to avoid yucky germs, this black cloud above my head is exactly what my heart desired….. Hope you like the pic!!