Published: September 16th 2008August 8th 2008
Apparently as a Black Man visiting Colombia, I could not have come possibly hailed from the United States of These Americas...I´d been told that I had to either be Costeño or Caleño. Or my parents were. Or My Grandpappies. Or something. When I told Colombians that my Mom and Dad were from Virginia and South Carolina respectively, they´d ask where in Colombia that was.
Seriously when I relayed my truthful origins to various folk I WAS called ¨Mentiroso! (Liar!)¨ with venomous vitriol, and a couple of very sad looks that implored me to embrace my heritage.
And so I decided to go to Cali to see what the heck they were talking about.
Cali! - There's Black Folk Here!
I´d been told Cali wasn't the prettiest city in Colombia. I can now attest that this is a very true statement. I can also attest that Cali is possibly the most party-est place ever.
To start, I met Dave (an Australian teaching Math in Bogota) outside of a over-ful hostel sans clue or place to stay. In what has come to be a typical traveller connection, we founds a hotel and shared a room to save a
few pesos. Seems that this was to be my new rolling buddy. We didn't find out until well later that the ¨ho¨in HOtel was quite literal.
Our first night out found us on Avenida Sexta (to my monolingual horndog friends, that just means 6th Avenue) surrounded by blaring salsa clubs and raucous crowds sharing what ended up being two small bottles of Ron Medellin. Shoulda just bought the big one. In what had to be a fortuitous moment of good times ahead, we also found the HOLY GRAIL of South American bathrooms. It was CLEAN with Soap, water, a toilet seat, toilet paper AND paper towels! BooYEAH
If you don´t get excited by that, you ain´t never been to South America.
Bolstered by rum and clean bums, Dave and I hit the strip wandering about an loving the 'No Cover' attitude everyplace seemed to take. We finally ended up sitting next to two sisters who promised to take us to the salsatecas in Juanchito, buuuut unfotunately Dave had ordered another bottle of rum, and while I might not be the most responsible nomad, I know when to cut myself off. Dave unfortunately celebrated his last bottle by
asking the girl(s!) if they were going to take him to bed.
Only not quite in so polite terms.
So. I am now heading to the salsateca solo with the two ladies. I´d asked them before if they were going to rob me (they said no) and we ended up at some club with a live band where I proceeded to learn three new salsa steps. Word.
My night ended uneventfully (read = no one tried to rob me), but unfortunately Dave had somehow forgotten the name, address and location to the hotel and had either given away or was robbed of $100 and a cellphone. We don´t know as the victim was a bit ¨tomado¨ as the Colombians said. (We Americans just say he wuz drunk.)
The rest of the time in Cali was as uneventful as a week full of partying could be except:
1. I learned that shopping is almost fun when you can really bargain. I got a pair of spiffy jeans with lines on the bum for half price!
2. Gay clubs are under cover, but you can figure it out if you pay attention. The chicks kissing chicks
kinda made me start noticin' stuff...
3. Looking Colombian really keeps the touts away. I really DID blend in here.
In all. All my party people need to go to Cali and Salsa Spin their troubles away...