just got back from my vacation to Cali, Colombia. I was only there for a week during their Semana Santa holiday (Easter break). My friend had to work a few days while I was there, so she hooked me up and called a reputable tourist company and told them I wanted a tour of the city. It was a good deal: US$25 for a three-hour tour. The tour guide's name was Gerardo. He spoke English very well because he lived in Toronto, New York, and Montreal for a bunch of years of his life. He's a big baseball fan and we talked about sports and life. He brought me to San Antonio where he took me to some museums where I met an artist named Luis Botero. He has some pretty cool artwork and has been working professionally for seven years now.
We drove and walked around San Antonio, saw their municipality building, visited some nifty pottery/gift shops, went to a restaurant called El Zaguan de San Antonio and had a yummy jugo lugo (natural fruit) drink. It started raining pretty hard and traffic up there was starting to get crazy so we left and made our way back to the hotel. Gerardo is an extremely nice guy with a lot of info on Cali's history. I'd recommend him to anyone:
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I went to this salsa bar called Parque del Perro and was drinking beer and screwdrivers. We ordered a huge plate of food which the menu said was enough for four people but I'm guessing it was more like eight, it was massive. It's not a big place but it was lively, with lots of people dancing and drinking.
The next day we went to Taku, a petting zoo, with cows, horses, and chickens. We fed and petted a lot of animals and even milked a cow. I had trouble milking the cow.
While there, we watched a Colombian coffee dance, ate some chicken and fried banana, hopped on some horses and did a little ride. My horse looked a little startled and worried when he first saw me and I could have sworn he groaned when I first hopped on. My friend just kept laughing at me when I was trying to get on, maybe because it looked like I was bigger than my horse. It had been a while since I rode and I couldn't remember how to stop. I could turn left, fine; turn right, fine, speed up and slow down OK, I just couldn't stop. If it wasn't for my horse having back problems, I'd still be on that horse right now.
I was warned to wear some pants the day before but, of course, i I forgot and wore shorts. I think I count around 15 mosquito bites on my legs. They itch like hell but is the best feeling whenever I scratch.
We went to Calima Lake the next day and made a few stops to San Antonio church, to a statue of the founder of Cali, Sebastian de Belacazar, then to Parque del Gato to check out the cat statues. we stopped off at a place called, Quilometro 18, to try some soup and arepa, sort of like corn bread with cheese. Apparently, with my accent when trying to say "arepa" makes it sound like I'm saying aomething much different in spanish, no wonder the staff kept smiling at me.
We made it to Calima Lake, and it was just a huge party. There were so many people, a lot of concession stands and activities, banana boats, jet skiing, speed boats etc. We chowed down on some grilled corn on the cob and bought some tickets for a banana boat. I can't swim but figured I'd be OK with the life jacket. I threw all my stuff into the car and we waited for our turn. When it comes up, my friend was joking about the banana boat and it's a ride in the speed boat. I think she got a kick out of seeing the horror in my eyes when thinking about swimming. Evil! Well, the joke was on her because she wanted me to take pics while we were skimming the water and I told her my camera was in the car.
We decided to head back and the traffic out of there was crazy. We stopped by a place and had some Colombian-style samosas which were so were good. Then, we went to Pizza al Paso for dinner. I created my own pizza and randomly picked items because I had no idea what they were. In the end, I had cranberries in there and it was good. I swear, cranberries will be the new pineapple for pizza.
The other days were spent meeting my friend's friends and pretty much just eating. It was a great time and I look forward to going back again soon, possibly this December during their Feria de Cali fesitval.