Sometimes I get lost, blinded through social media, lied to by money and greed, burnt by other people’s opinions n tripped up by society’s expectations. Well I declare that I, Aic3la, just want to be happy so if you’re not trying to encourage and support as i do to realness please leave the table….
I have been back in my glorious Barranquilla for almost 3 months now and I had planned to continue strong on my blogging wave but I ‘wiped out’ again!!
Here I am back on my board, ready to catch the next wave.
PLEASE ENJOY THE RIDE WITH ME DUDEEEEEEEE!!
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!!
Apologies for the pic but I felt Arnie would soften the blow of my return!!!
For those who have faithfully blogged over the past year I salute you with both hands. I thought I was strong and could hold on forever but no….. nope…. I wilted liked a defrosting rose. Foreign living got me way too excited!
But as I am I strong believer of ‘nunca te rindes’ = never give up, here I am ready to roll on the next film reel and press play!!
So I will give up a quick update on my life since August 2015 (Cringe! has it been almost a year!!) and will be doing random throwback Thursday posts to highlight the best bits.
- I spent August until June 2015 working at Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla.
- I travelled to Cali, Medellin/Guatape, Cartagena, and Santa Marta as well as 2 trips to Florida, USA to see my lovely family.
- Started teaching Undergradutes Level 2 English (University curriculum = A1 Level in my opinion).
- Made some AMAZING friends.
- Moved into my own ‘cute as a button’ studio flat!! (A la Carrie from Sex and the City).
- Found a beautiful love in a hopeless place (wouldn’t expect anything else for me!) and yes it’s still going strong!
And most exciting of all……. I’M ABOUT TO DO IT ALL AGAIN!!!!
As me and Barranquilla are absolutely mad about each other we have decided to continue our transatlantic romance and embark on a 2nd year.
Only change will be my place of work which will now be at Universidad del Atlantico, which is one of the best public universities in Barranquilla and the Caribbean coast.
So keep your eyes peeled for Throwback Thursday updates and saddle up for a new year with the loca with the fro a.k.a ME!!
😀 Thanx for having me back!!
ROAD TRIP NUMBER 2 YAAAAAAAAA!!!
This time to celebrate one of the numerous bank holidays (Gracias ‘Assumption Of Mary!!’) in Colombia I decided to join some friends on an impromtu trip to the coastal region on Santa Marta. After booking my tickets and accommodation online (I had cashpoint issues), I started what was going to be a tedious start to my vacation.
I arrived at the bus station at 9.35am ready to board my bus at 10am, only to be told MY BUS HAD ALREADY LEFT THE STATION. Apparently because the bus was coming from Medellin, if not passengers are present when they are close to Barranquilla, they are allowed to continue on with the journey…… all togther now…… BULLSHITTTTTTTT!!!
After brief discussion I was told I could board the next bus which would be in 2 hours…… So there I sat in an airconditioned waiting room, where I proceed to be bit to shit by mosquito´s. (Found out later on)
So I got onto the bus which was very spacious and comfortable, not packed either and it was a smooth journey which took just under 2 hours.
Got to Santa Marta bus station and managed to share a taxi with a guy who was headed to the same hostel. Pulling up outside it, The Dreamer hostel looked very nice, had loads of character and a present social scene. All the things a good hostel needs.
Once we were checked in and our rooms paid for, one of the reception workers gave us a quick outline of the area and things to do and see. After pointing our local party town Taganga and the famous UNESCO Parque Tayrona, he mentioned their sister hostel ´The Dreamer Palomino´………. LIGHTBULB MOMENT!!!
Silly me, didn´t realise there were 2 OF THEM!!! Following a quick panic pep talk with myself, I spoke to the manager and managed to get my booking moved over to the other Dreamer Hostel, No Problemo!! THANX AGAIN GUYS!!!
The bus to the hostel was an experience in itself, it was so full I had to sit on the stairs!! Here´s a snapshot of my view for 2hours….
THIS IS WHEN MY HOLIDAY TRULY BEGAN!!!
It was the perfect setting to wash away the MADNESS i just went through. The dreamer hostel is located right on the beach so it was just what I needed to enjoy the weekend. After meeting up with friend we enjoyed an amazing meal at the hostel next door (Shout out to Paula!) and spent Sunday fully indulged in beach life. I LOVED IT!!!! Rocked the heck outta my tankini and just generally enjoyed the blessing i was in.
The waves were to rough for me to play with but I must say overall Palomino beach is just the place to enjoy a couple bottles of rum with good food and great company.
Here are some snaps for ya!
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!
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!!
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).
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!!!!