Cali and San Agustin
03.04.2008 - 11.04.2008
Being flexible and rolling with changes to your plans whilst travelling is the best feeling!
The freedom is great... and the unexpected experiences are the best!
The guidebooks and the reputation of this place leaves you thinking... 'I am going to stay well away from that place!'
In actual fact... I even said before I left that I would not go to Colombia... Check it out!
What a mistake that would have been!
The beauty of the country is equal to any of the other places I have seen on this continent...
View from the window of the bus 10 minutes from the border:
....but the real beauty is captured in the people. The friendliest anywhere... and they are so proud of their country... and I can see why! It doesn't matter where you go... but the Colombians just want to chat!
A special thank you to my incredible Colombian friend Tatiana who introduced me to the idea of Colombia when we met in Peru. She told me how great her country and people were... and she was so right!
I seriously love this country. I will be back for sure!
Although... be careful!
So... when I say the people are beautiful... in places like Cali (my first stop), there is a reason why!
Apparently, it is the plastic surgery capital of the world. The results are jaw dropping!
In fact, Arran and I had our jaws dropped so low at the hottest lady we had seen anywhere... and the taxi driver started lauging at us... since this hot lady was in fact not a lady... but a hot lad, eh! You never would have known... well, until it was too late anyway!!! YUK!
That was not the only 'YUK' we experienced in Cali! One meal in particular stands out in my mind...
Yes... that is a chicken foot in Arran's soup!
The only 1GBP feast we had a problem with in the whole of South America!
Beyond that... Cali was good for Salsatec's... i.e. a disco for Salsa dancing!
The people there have some moves... and of course, I blended right in...
... I even had a local girl tell me I was a natural at Salsa...
I have no idea why she thought that, since I stood on her guide dog every other step!?
In Cali, we met Norwegian Norunn and Swedish Louise... and squashed into a taxi for a trip to San Agustin...
They took great amusement in the fact that my name Kev sounded like the word KEF which is apparently a slang word meaning that I am 'rubbish'. So glad I did not grow up in Sweden... imagine how much stick there would have 'bin'.
The long bus ride to San Agustin was as per normal...
... the longest, bumpiest and curvacious road you could imagine... and then some. Average speed 13 KPH.
Thankfully I was sat next to the one legged eccentric Venezuelan mute for the 8 hour ride... who besides freaking me out, made the journey amuzing! I had no idea what he was attempting to communicate to me... except on the numerous occassions he made impressions of him beating up the bus driver... eek! No idea what his vendetta was!
On the upside, he didn't seem to let his disabilities hold him back... he could do impressions of at least 3 animals with his hands... the butterfly was the high point for me!!! Inspiring! Hee hee. Ooh... 4 impressions if you include the 'bird' he kept motioning in the drivers direction!
San Agustin Village
This place is off the beaten track. Very few 'gringo' tourists here... and infact, some locals were more amused by us than vice versa.
On arrival you get the impression that this is a small sleepy place... where everyone knows everyone... but, getting up for a 7am run quickly dispelled that idea. On route, local work men were already digging away, vendors in the town were already selling pre-prepared snacks to the hoards of people scurrying across the street to shops and busses!
Saddled up on my horse, Ray <Spanish for KING>... and on a two day trek across, (and up and down) the valleys... leaving behind the comforts of the awesome Eco-lodge we were staying at. Taking in historical tombs that were older than your nan (over 3,000 BC), viewing valleys that were more breath taking than an ice cold shower... and along the way passing by the workers of the sugar cane and coffee plantations.
One of the many amazing views from the trek...
And of course, those seriously historic Colombian artefacts I was telliing you about:
Then to the really awesome experience that you can not pay for... a night in the village of Obando
On arriving at the isolated village, I quickly got a game of football against a handful of skillful kids.
At the end of the game, I joked that their team (Chelsea of the UK?) was rubbish. Before I knew it, there were more kids around me wearing official Chelsea shirts than there would be in Stamford bridge on match day.
They had a point to prove for Chelsea... and had to take me on! In fact, the whole village of kids insisted we played...
Sadly Chelsea won... oh well, I guess they had to win something this season!
Confusing as hell having a French person shout Spanish instructions at you... to paddle, stop paddling... and DUCK!
But, I survived... and it was great fun... even if we did look rather peculiar in the wet suit!
The time in this wonderful place drew to a close... but not for Colombia... loving it so much... I have delayed my flights again... and I'm moving on to the capital... Bogota!
Horse riding, White water rafting, Colombia loving Bees-Out!