The first of many Christmas's in Colombia...
22.12.2012 - 26.12.2012
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 :-)
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!
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
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)
Some typical Colombian Christmas sweets
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! :-)
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”.
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!!!! ;-)