Cali – Colombia Girl, it’s unforgettable!!! (Throwback post)

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!!

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1st Road Trip to Salgar/Puerto Colombia

What a semi-week here in Colombia!!

So since my last post i´m glad to announce (thanx to Couchsurfing.org and Sarah), we have found a new apartment!! (Applause) QUICK I KNO! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

So to celebrate our new digs (any reason to party lol) we were gratefully accepted an invite to expat mixer of foreign teachers in Barranquilla. Was a great night full of vodka, rum and dancing as it should be……. no aguardiente YET tho!!

I met some wonderful people that night and no doubt will be partying with them again soon. ❤ I was put in touch with a lady we will call S through a former assistant from the British Council so Sunday i paid her a visit in her town, Salgar.

The journey should have been straight-forward however in true sunday style, Sorry Lionel Richie, IT WAS NOT EASY!!! Instead of 1 hour journey on a bus, i had to hitch a ride in a colectivo (small mini-van that goes along the route) to the entrance of a nearby town, WALK HALF A KILOMETRE to the town centre where God heard my sun scorched cries and put me on a connecting bus to where i needed to be.

S lives in a lovely apartment RIGHT ON THE BEACH! It was a cloudy day so it wasn´t bikini time but i was sooooo happy to feel sand and sea water again!!

feet in water

 

S and I walked along the beach have good old gurlie chats about our lives and impressions of various societies (S has lived in A LOT of countries).

beach view

 

Before long we decided to meet up with 2 other teachers K and E who were nearby and go for dinner. I met these ladies at the same party, you will be hearing more about our future travels once we organise everything! They were coming from puerto Colombia which was further along the coast. AFter a few cold drinks we made our way to an amazing pizza place. Although the pizzas are DELICIOSOOOOOO, the service is well tempremental to say the least!

At around 8, i decided to head home as it was a long journey for me, managed to negociate a deal with a taxi driver who dropped me back to my door with no drama at all.

Had a really nice day and am soooo happy to meet people on the same wavelength as me.

Now bring on the week!!!! :D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1st Road Trip to Salgar/Puerto Colombia was originally published on The Many Words Of Aic3la

These cases WILL NOT DEFEAT ME!!!!

mountain of cases

 

Heathrow beware…… This could be a potential reality for you to check in for me!

I swear  I have been at these things all week and I don’t whether I have case anxiety or I just can’t be asked to get done…… My previous track record in terms of packing has been far from minimal to say the least but this time I want at least pack logically (i.e. 1 pair of heels and 1 pair of trainers MAYBE! instead of day heels, club/dinner heels and my infamous ‘show-off trainers’ and my neglected gym runners).

Not to mention the art of rolling your clothes around your toiletries and making sure you won’t need them BEFORE you leave!!

Also everyone always forgets extra bags! I mean weekend bags, little black bags, work bags and etc, I know I’m a bit of  flashpacker if that but jeez these things r important and bring comfort away from home.

When I say toiletries I’m putting my fro maintenance jewels in that category, I managed to braid back the beast so can deal with it at a later date….. (queue future Super Sayan Battle)

Either way, whatever happens……

IT’S OFFICIALLY THREE DAYS UNTIL TAKE OFF!!!!!!

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!

 

 

 

These cases WILL NOT DEFEAT ME!!!! was originally published on The Many Words Of Aic3la

Á mi Mexico…… con amor

Heart-Mexico

Tenía que decir ‘Hasta Luego’ en una manera romántica porque es lo menos que mereces como mi primer amor adulta. Ya sabes que yo tuve una aventura apasionada con Cuba antes y sí, yo todavía lo amo pero contigo era algo diferente….. algo madura. (No te pongas celoso…)

Desde el día bendito cuando llegúe a Torreón y fui directamente al Black Bull para un ‘whiskeeeeeey’ y pasarla bien con mi nuevos amigos, sentío que la fiesta de amor continuará.
El sabor de las gorditas de la calle, nadie puede robar desde mi estomago/corazón y hay momentos perdidos cuando se que la única respuesta es una gordita de carne asada con queso y salsa roja…… (Los sueños están hechos de este!!) De yo, mis nalgas y mis dieta diario….. GRACIAS POR TODO!!

Autobuses de México….. qué puedo decir de ustedes? gracias por el entrenamiento para ser mochilera! Desde Oaxaca, México D.F, Playa del Carmen, Guanajuato, Veracruz y los pueblitos entre ellos, ellos me han tratado como reina (aparte de un incidente con un pollero pero…. Jajaja), debido á tus servicios, puedo hablar de México como más que turista. De la morena que siempre va corriendo para un camión al Norte…. GRACIAS!!

México, la gente que tiene son joyas, joyas reales. Desde los jarochos hasta los norteños, ellos me cuidaban como amiga, hermana y mas… 😉 (No así, portarte bien!!). A todo mis amigos Mexicanos, desde mi alma, gracias por todo y espero que un día pronto voy a regresar pa tomar un brandy con ustedes de nuevo. Gracias al equipo ‘SANTOS LAGUNA’ para mi primer campeonato y desfile de ganadores en Calle Independencia, llevo un poco de blanco y verde para ustedes siempre.

Finalmente, a ti, México, la tierra que me ha convertido a una mujer parrandera que canta canciones de Mariachis en la madrugada, donde Tacostao era mi príncipe azul, donde mis trenzas eran famoso, donde oré con una niña huérfana en las calles que cuidar de ella como han cuidado de mí, donde tenía que ir downtown para ir de compras para El Día de Independencia’, cuando fui al club de salsa en Veracruz que era una locura preciosa, cuando compré Pan Guayaba como loca en Guanajuato pa ‘Día de los Muertos’ en Cervantino y miles más de dóndes y cuándos.
Próximo yo voy a Colombia para seguir mis viajes, solo quería que te entiendes la importancia que tienes en mi vida aunque nosotros estamos separados.

❤ NUNCA te olvides de mi, porque como mi carta de ID, has dejado tu huella en mi corazón pa siempre…..<3
De tu reggaetonera preciosa,

Aic3la

COLOMBIA, YA VO…

COLOMBIA, YA VOY!!!!!

Received my placement location today and I’m delighted to say I will be working in the beautiful country of Colombia from July 2014. Over the next few weeks I will get more information about the city and educational establishment I’m going to work in but that’s it for now!

EXCITED IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT!!!  

Life-changing month ahead!! Colombia or Mexico

colombia n mexico

Heeelllllloooooo people!!! Yes it’s me! Not the reviewing this time, signing in purely for chatter purposes!

Thought I’d get back to blogging as I’m potentially in for some show stopping news…… (love the showstoppers lol)
If you have followed me over the past 2 years you remember my life took a drastic turn for the worst due to illness and I had to turn down of a teaching job in Honduras. I’m pleased to say that I am fully recovered and eager to get back out into the world and dive into more cultures.

All I love to do is travel, meet people and teach…. it gives me an adrenaline rush just thinking about it.

Well the news is that I am in the process of waiting for a response from the British Council regarding a potential placement abroad in either Colombia or Mexico!! I have dreamt about my next adventure since I landed back in London in 2012 and I’m on tenterhooks at the thought of another take off!!

Depending on how my teaching profile is reviewed I could be placed in either country for a potential 11 months as an English Language Assistant. I have heard so much about the program and what it has to offer. Can’t wait to find out more, inc my new destination!

When I find out, I’ll be sure to fill y’all in!!!
xoxo