Monday, August 11, 2014

Free Walking Tours In Cali, Colombia

I have no clue why I never took advantage of the free walking tour in Cali when I first lived here but I am glad today I got to check it out and learn new information about this city. In a bid to keep busy I looked up free walking tours of the city and came across Colombia Walking Tours which was offering several different tours, some require payment but they have one that is free and is offered twice a week, Mondays and Fridays at 4:00pm.

The free tour lasted about 2 hours and we got to walk around the downtown area of Cali learning some history and facts about the city. I always say these free walking tours are the best introduction to a city because they give you an idea of what is out there and what you might want to explore more off.

We met at the pre determined meeting place which was at Iglesia La Merced in downtown and proceeded to walk to various sites of interest, everything was within close range. The guide was bilingual and spoke both Spanish and English but he stuck with English since most of the crowd was foreign.

Of course being in Cali the salsa capital of the world, we had to stop by a museum to learn some history about salsa and how it developed in the city.

That is Jairo Valera with the glasses, the mastermind behind Grupo Niche. Any salsa lovers out there would know of this group or have probably danced to their music. One of my favorite groups!

The cultural centre of Cali. If you want to know what cultural events are taking place in the city, this is the place to go to.

The Municipal Theater where you can watch shows.

The ceiling inside the theater, the picture didn't come out as clearly as I would have liked but hey! there it is.

The Poet's Park - Many years ago people used to come here to have important documents typed up for them. Now of course times have changed but incase you want to be old school and have a poem written out for you, you can pay for this service. It was a bit late in the evening so a lot of the writers had left for the day.

Cali is a big producer of sugarcane so on one of those hot days which is like everyday, you can buy a refreshing drink from these vendors made of lemon and sugarcane. Very tasty!

Caicedo Square in downtown Cali

Since the tour started at 4 pm it stared getting dark so I tucked my camera away because I am not about to buy a 4th camera due to another robbery. I am not taking chances. I liked the tour and I am glad I got to see a different part of Cali and learn new things. I would definitely recommend this walking tour to anyone visiting this city.

That's it folks, I have one more day left before I say goodbye to this city forever, for ever ever? yes, for ever ever. I will not get into details about my personal life but let's just say a lot of things have happened in Cali and I will be leaving earlier than planned, this has nothing to do with my safety so no worries. Unfortunately I will miss the Petronio Festival but hey! shit happens and frankly speaking I want to be out of here ASAP. See you in Quito or wherever else my adventures will take me.

Random Thoughts of The Day:

I never curse, only in extreme cases will I use foul language.

Shout out to my travel insurance WorldNomads for processing my insurance claim for the first robbery so quickly and painlessly. I should be getting a refund soon. Unfortunately for the second robbery I never did get a police report so I didn't file a claim.

According to our guide today at the tour, afro Colombians make 60% of the population in this city. So far during my travels in Latin America I would say I have blended in the best in Panama city and Cali because I could pass for a local until of course I open my mouth. It sure feels good to walk around without attracting any attention.

Today I went to this neighborhood restaurant for lunch and this girl sat at my table because there was no other space. This is pretty common here, strangers sharing a table. We got to chatting and she was so sweet! there was an item in the menu that I did not understand and she let me taste her food before deciding whether I should order the item or not. Of course we ended up talking about relationships and she was saying that finding a good faithful man in Cali is like a miracle and that is why she has been single for three years.

There is Russian guy at my hostel who has been traveling for the past year and is now based in Colombia temporarily, he works at the front desk and dude has been taking these Colombian girls for a ride, it's like a playground to him. I pity the girls when I hear his stories about his escapades. The hostel has been pretty empty so I have developed a rapport with everyone who works there because I am the only guest for now. It actually feels like I am staying in a home and I like it that way.

Last week the Russian guy and I went to a language exchange event and there were these Colombian girls going all crazy for him. I went out to the dance floor and upon coming back they had swarmed the dude, when they saw me seating at the same table and noticed that I knew the guy they gave me this look that for the rest of the night made me be very cautious. I never left my drink near them, call me paranoid but you just never know. I wanted to tell them it's okay the dude is like a new friend I just met at the hostel but these girls were like vultures and eventually I realized that I shouldn't have to explain anything to them because they had no right to size me up so blatantly and assume things in the first place.

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