Monday, January 17, 2022

[CALI] Jesus with a Little Bit of Salsa


Travel Fatigue. Laziness. With your powers combined, we’re not going to San Andrés and Barranquilla anymore! Haha. Hahaha. Hahahaha. Nah, the feedback for internet connectivity in San Andrés is pretty bad. I can’t sacrifice work in favor of another Caribbean Island getaway. As for Barranquilla, Shakira says she won’t be at home until next year, so what’s the point. And so the Cali > San Andrés > Barranquilla > Bogotá itinerary was reduced to Cali > Bogotá. Chill we will then. Chill, we will.


If you are looking for cities to visit in Colombia, you will always get the same suspects as suggestions from most people. Bogotá. Medellín. Cartagena. Cali always comes in fourth place most of the time. Bogotá is the capital so it’s the prohibitive favorite. Medellín is popular in the tourist circuit. Cartagena is a common stop for Caribbean cruises and is also loved by many because of its colonial architecture. Cali does not have much to offer in competition with those three. So, I thought, hey, this is the perfect chill out spot.


I believe Cali is the third largest city in the country after Bogotá and Medellín. It’s also probably the only major city that has access to the Pacific coastline. The weather here is hot but not as hellish as Cartagena’s. The temperature drops to comfortably cool levels at night. As for attractions, the main draw of Cali is Salsa. Wait, salsa as in the taco sauce? No, I mean Salsa as in the dance. You know, that sensual dance that looks like you are making love with each other without taking your clothes off. Yes, that dance.


I took Salsa classes back when I was doing Spanish refresher courses in CDMX, and I liked it. But that was half a decade ago. There is no shortage of Salsa classes and dance halls here in Cali, but I am only staying for three nights. A part of me wants to reignite that particular hobby but I feel like I’d make the most out of it if I actually moved here for a month or two, just dancing every night. Three nights is too short to accomplish anything, to be honest. And so, we just shuffle between tourist and chillax mode. No dancing!


Cali has some interesting spots such as parks and a few smatterings of colonial structures here and there, but if you only have the time or motivation to see one, then I guess just go see Jesus Christ up on the hill. It’s called Cristo Rey and quite similar to those that you find in Rio de Janeiro and Dili. You know, Brazil and East Timor don’t have a monopoly of the Jesus Christ fandom. For Cali, you can take an Uber going up and down, which would cost you around COP20,000 (~PHP255) roundtrip.


Mobile data signal is hard to come by up the hill, and taxis are few if you’re not going on a weekend. Because of this, I just asked my driver to wait for me. 20 minutes max is enough to spend doing the five-minute hike and taking photos while admiring Cali’s panoramic cityscape from such a high vantage point. Otherwise, you can stay and chill up there for as long as you want if you have your own car and transportation going down is not an issue. If not, it’s going to be a long walk down for you back to civilization.


And that was Cali for me. I was able to recuperate here and that was the plan all along so I can say I am satisfied. If you want to stay longer, you can check out downtown. They have some churches and monuments there said to be unique of the city. And yeah, as mentioned, you can dance the night away with Salsa if that is your thing. Salsa music is so ubiquitous here. You just hear it everywhere, you’d probably notice yourself involuntarily vibing to its beat from time to time.

[CALI] Jesus with a Little Bit of Salsa

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