Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 - My Year In Review

I can't believe this is the last day of 2018, doesn't it feel like the year just flew by? As I wait to close this year I can't help but think of all the highlights and the lows that were experienced during 2018. Despite one major low that involved a family tragedy, I can say there was and still is A LOT to be thankful for. I remember when 2017 was coming to an end one of my wishes for 2018 was to travel more and boy did I travel! more than I expected to actually which worked out great for me. Take a look.......

New Orleans - A city I had wanted to visit for the longest time but somehow never got round to it till 2018. I loved the food which was so good and the liveliness of the French Quarters.

Cuba - Glad that I made this trip as a birthday treat because I had been fascinated by Cuba for a long time so it was good to finally experience the country for myself.

Houston - This was a short visit and I know there was a lot more that remained to be seen but at least my husband and I got a taste of what it has to offer.

New York - 3rd time visiting the big apple, the last time was years ago so it was fun getting reacquainted and also experiencing it with my husband especially on his birthday.

Canada - One of my most serendipitous trips to date, I had so much fun and had good company to ensure I made the most of my trip. Good times indeed!

Boston - Yet another one of those cities that I had wanted to visit for the longest time. Boston was a pleasant surprise as I had so much fun during this trip, thanks in part also to the good company I had.

Seattle - Even though the city did not "wow" me as much as I expected, I wouldn't mind re-visiting just because I know there is a lot more my husband and I did not get to see due to our trip being so short. At least we got a taste of it and enjoyed ourselves.

Kenya - Ooh! how I love thee! visiting my homeland and family after 8 years was the biggest highlight of my travels. I loved every minute of it and what was even more special was spending time with my family. The planning that went into making this trip a success was insane but I pulled it off and things went according to plan, I have to give myself a pat on the back. 

Colombia - Re-visiting Colombia after 4 years was awesome, it brought back so many memories and it was good seeing familiar faces and places once again.

That's it folks! I had many other personal highlights but since this blog is about going places with J, I decided to focus on my travel highlights. What would I like for 2019? of course more travel and since it will be the last year of being in my 30s before I hit the big 4-0, I want to take bold risks and make sure I close out 2019 with a bang. I hope you all have a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

What I Have Been Up To

It's been a busy couple of days so I was not able to post any update because I was up and about a lot having fun. So what was I up to? well, let me see........I will try to keep this update short so I will summarize my activities. We checked out Ferida de Cali on the day that they were having the last parades. This was day 4, the Feria runs for 6 days and the first 4 days are mostly concentrated on parades then the last 2 days there is a free concert on each day where some of the greatest salsa musicians perform.

After checking out the festivities at the Feria, I linked up with my friend Angelica once again and we attended this salsa party that was taking place in downtown. I was happy to get my feet moving on the dance floor and I really enjoyed the music & the ambience of the place where this salsa party was taking place. I also got to check out some really good dancers that made me want to step up my game.

The following day I got to hang out with Angelica's family which was fun, her parents are really cool. We decided to check out the Feria together and listen to some of the salsa bands that were going to be playing. The music of course was top notch and the bands got people on their feet dancing and singing along.

That's it folks! we ended up leaving the Feria at midnight which trust me, was still early but everyone was tired. I know I rushed through this update but your girl needs to get some sleep so I will stop here. 

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Fiesta del Pacifico

Today being the 3rd day of Feria de Cali, I had heard that the festivities would be centered around displays of antique cars. I wasn't that enthused to check it out but I was still open to experiencing the event, that is until I got a message from my dear friend Angelica who is back in Cali for the holidays visiting her family. I can always count on her for suggestions on cool events in the city, this time she informed me of an event celebrating the culture of the pacific coast of Colombia which has a heavy African influence, basically a celebration of Afro Colombian culture. I thought it sounded exciting so I decided to meet up with her to check it out, I went with my ex-roommate Fernanda.

The event was being held at one of the plazas in downtown Cali and as soon as we arrived I knew I would enjoy myself. There was a band playing and the music sounded so good! plus the crowd had a cool laid back vibe which I liked.

We got to check out several bands and dance groups which were pretty good.

Beauties from different regions of Colombia came out to strut their stuff and represent.

There were several stands selling some very pretty accessories, clothes and traditional pacific coastal food & drinks.

Had to indulge in some local drinks to cool off, If ever in Cali be sure to try a drink called guarapo made from sugarcane, it's so good especially on a hot day. Thank me later!

Re-united and it feels so good! my dear friend Angelica......with her there is always a good time to be had.

Guess who ended up being on local TV? Angelica is actually the one who pushed me to it, the ladies you see below had approached her for an interview but she insisted they interview me instead because I was a visitor and would give a different perspective. I was so nervous and thought I would fumble my words but it actually wasn't so bad.

That's it folks! we hung out with Angelica and her family enjoying the music while conversing. The event was going to be taking place throughout the night but we all left in the late evening having felt like we had enjoyed ourselves. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Feria de Cali - Day 2

Today was a bit different than yesterday in that the day was more focused on salsa related merchandise as opposed to yesterday when the focus was on salsa dances from different groups. We arrived at the festivities in the evening after the sun had gone down and the crowd was large but not as unbearable as yesterday. The area where the festivities were taking place was enclosed so not just anyone could get in, entrance was limited to adults only and anyone underage was turned away. My ex-roommate's daughter and her friends could not get in but they were happy to hang around the area talking, listening to music and basically just being teenage kids as they waited for us to be done.

There was a stage where salsa music was playing and people were hanging around listening or dancing, I really liked the compilation of music.

Had to have fun with some props

That's it folks, I am enjoying the festivities so far and having fun re-visiting familiar areas and seeing familiar faces. Best of all, I am enjoying being surrounded by the salsa that I love in the capital city of salsa.

Random Thoughts of The Day:

Because of the heat, most people prefer going out in the evening after sundown. During the day the streets are quiet but come 5 pm everything comes alive.

I really like that in Cali I don't stand out, it's only when I speak that's when people realize I am not a local because of my Spanish accent.

I had forgotten how attractive people are in this city.

Apparently for any salsa musician to attain recognition and success they come to Cali to test their music, if they are well received then their career takes off world wide....or rather in areas where salsa is greatly appreciated. I have been told that Cali is where Mark Anthony and the famous La India launched their salsa careers. 

My ex-roommate has a neighbor who's daughter likes to come over. The kid is so cute and you should see the little cute outfits that the mum dresses her in, OMG! my ovaries can't take it. She randomly walks into the apartment with her toys and starts showing them to you or starts playing with them on the floor, she is too precious! 

It's so weird to see how much the kids I met here 4 years ago have changed. They are now teenagers with girlfriends and boyfriends and are all about one word answers and hanging out with their friends. Sheesh! is this what parents endure once their kids hit adolescence? I miss those little sweet kids, le sigh!