Chica's Gap Year Part II 2005/06 travel blog

Salento, the coffee region

Views of the hills outside Salento

Heliconia, are everywhere

Fruit stall, mango in the bags, sourest I've ever had!

Or just plain Calí. It's much warmer here, a bit like Spain where some shops shut for a couple of hours in the middle of the day. The city is not pretty but is allegedly the salsa capital of the world. I had a few lessons, a lot different to the "muddled style" that I was taught in London. Salsa here is a bit like samba, it's extremely fast. Sadly I could only manage about 30 seconds of the basic steps, it's really, relly fast, I thought I was going to have a heart attack!

At the moment Calí is celebrating its 470th birthday. There are parties on, mysteriously called a beer festival which is free to get in and listen to the music and dance in the streets. Beer is cheaper than water! Went to one of the sreet parties on Saturday. Saw a band called Los Niches who did a few covers plus a lot of their own work which the crowd loved. Plenty of dancing in the streets. Lots of people were partaking of the local fire water, aguardiente. It's unmatured alcohol made from sugar cane so it may be like cachaça. I haven't tried it. Somebody took the lid off a bottle, smelt like pernod and nearly took my head off, no way I'm touching that stuff :o)

Not much to report, not a pretty city but again the surrounding countryside is stunning. I keep forgetting that I am in the Andes as the mountains are covered in trees, grass, plants and the place is very green. House plants that we pay a fortune for grow wild here, it's a gardening lovers paradise. Lots of bouganvillea and hibiscus mixed in with casaurina, eucalyptus and bamboo trees.

I was making breakfast this morning and one of the ladies of the hostel showed by a Calí breakfast speciality........ white cheese dunked in sweet coffee. It nearly put m off my cornflakes! (Quick note I had cornflakes as bread, jam and cheese for breakfast is getting a bit stale... not that I should be eating any of these things anyway!)

Off to the Puma shop for a look-see then off to Popayán to visit possibly my last colonial city before going to San Agustin (further south) to have a look at some ruins....

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