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Feliz Navidad

The first of many Christmas's in Colombia...

So I am finally on holiday! The last term was really hectic and busy with Christmas things, preparing exams, marking, inserting grades etc. But last week I finally was able to run away from school and get some peace and quiet! On Saturday I flew to Cali to experience some more Colombian culture. Cali is in the south of Colombia near to the Pacific Ocean and is THE salsa capital of the world. I was met by my dear friend, Adriana (I know Adri from Santa Marta). Since I arrived I’ve experienced nothing but typical awesome Colombian hospitality and generosity!

Some geography for you :-)

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The first night we went out in an area called San Antonio; an old colonial section of the city, complete with small narrow streets, beautifully restored windows, balconies and old wooden doors. Adri and I stopped off at a quaint café called Macondo for their famous coffee with maracuya (passion fruit) or lulo (ummm…lulo). Hmmm, it was delicious! Thick and creamy like a milkshake with the sweet, tangy taste of the maracuya/lulo….Recommended! We slowly sipped the creamy heaven while watching a lively jazz band. Later we went out dancing at an eclectic bar called Mikasa. Really nice place with good music and awesome vibe!

Lulo

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Sunday I spent shopping at an outlet centre. I haven’t been around that many people since the underground in Seoul! And this time I wasn’t the tallest person around. After a few hours and with an impending low blood sugar attack, I gave up. Later Adri, her brother and I went to a rock festival. It was really cool to see Colombian rockers! I’m usually around colourful beach folk and hippies. The black, metal studs, long hair (beautiful! I wonder what shampoo they use?) and doc martens was a nice change from shorts and slops I’m used to. The night was complete with me peeing behind a car (the toilets were locked, what could I do?) and thinking to myself “oh yeah baby, this is what rock n’ roll is all
about” ;-)

On Monday we traveled to Buga (a small city north of Cali, where Adriana grew up) where I spent Christmas. I met Adriana’s entire family: uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents. They did their best to make me feel welcomed but I did miss my family incredibly! There were so hospitable and kind to me, but I think sometimes too much hospitality can be dangerous: your guests either spend their time in the toilet, or are so lazy from eating too much! ;-)

My first breakfast: I sat down and looked down at my plate. Oh no! Not eggs again! (I had already had 5 eggs in the last 28 hours). And now there were two staring up at me! And a thick piece of cheese and an arepa and a bread roll. What am I going to do? I tried looking for a place to stash the food. The dustbin was too far away and throwing a fried egg from 3m….well, I was never a good shooter in netball. Maybe I could stick it in my pocket? No wait: damn pocketless-skirt! Hide it under the table? No, maybe someone would see me and what if someone stepped in it? After a couple of minutes of internal debating and thinking of the starving children in Africa, I put my head down and wolfed it all down. Hoping that the faster I ate the less effect it would have on me. I had an after-breakfast siesta….

Arepas (Made from corn flour and can be found all over Colombia and are made differently in different regions: with or without cheese, small and thick, big and flat etc)

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Some typical Colombian Christmas sweets

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Lunch arrived (just 2 hours after this debacle) and I was getting a bit worried “what if it’s eggs again? I don’t think my body could take anymore”… But thank heavens and thank the absolute kindness of her grandmother; she had specially bought me some “soya fillets” :-), but then overfed me with two of them… Despite the bulge in my stomach, I was in high spirits at the thoughtfulness of the family and their effort to make me feel welcomed! :-)

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Before the Christmas dinner we said some prayers and sang some carols. Then at about 11pm we ate (rice, salad and meat/soya fillet). After this they opened their presents and the aguadiente started flowing ;-P. Adri’s grandfather was always there, with shot glass filled with the “firewater”. We danced and I went to bed at 3am. On Christmas day we chilled, more presents were opened and more food was eaten. Later in the afternoon we drove to Calima, which is a beautiful lake with mountains surrounding it. It’s a popular place for kite/wind surfing and jet skiing. We chilled (literally!) by the lake before going to drink hot “agua panela” (sweet sugar drink) and eat “arepa choclos”.

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Arepa choclos

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I am now back in Cali and tomorrow I will go to Popayan (a city 2 hours south from here), but I will back on Thursday to enjoy “La Feria de Cali”, which is a huge salsa festival! And I am ready to show off my salsa skills…Bring it on!!!! ;-)

Posted by piratejax 08:01 Archived in Colombia

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