Monday, May 14, 2012

Going going back to back to Calí Calí

Hello dear friends and loyal Shapiro Adventure readers!   Since we last wrote, we enjoyed one final day in Bogotá and we wanted to make it a good one, so we had a food tour of the central district.  Since our couchsurfing host, Edwin, works afternoons, we spent the morning with him then said goodbye at the bus station.  He headed to work and we went to the long distance bus station to buy our tickets before heading downtown.  We started by stopping at a cafe hoping to try the famed Chocolate Santafereño - unfortunately, this cafe didn't serve it and we got plain hot chocolate.  After consulting our Lonely Planet, we found a much smaller, more intimate location thay did serve Chocolate Santafereño and we got more than we bargained for.  It comes with the hot chocolate and a piece of cheese akin to mozarella that you drop into the hot chocolate as well as a cheese bread called almojabana and some buttered bread.

 While we enjoyed our melty cheesy drink, we filled up quite quickly and were not able to finish it all!  We met another traveller, a Californian currently living in New York, who was also enjoying Bogotá's food scene and had a pleasant conversation.  While digesting, we went to check out the Colombian Military Museum, home to several weapons, uniforms, and maps from the time of Colombia's independence from Spain to modern day.  Afterwards, we went to find a local restaurant famed for its Ajiaco, a local stew we had to try.  Two unfortunate things happened: the store was not open AND we lost our guide book!  Forunately, we were familar enough with the area to find another restaurant that served Ajiaco and later find our way back to the TransMilenio.  The ajiaco was amazing.  It's a potato stew with chicken, artichoke, capers, and corn with avocado and rice on the side.  It was so hearty, we decided to share a bowl and it was delicios amd filling.  We wandered a little more downtown, then headed back to the apartment to say goodbye to Abuelita and catch our bus.  We took a 9:30 pm bus and arrived the next morning in Calí.

Calí is famous for two things: their zoo and salsa dancing, and we had the chance to do both.  The zoo really is quite nice:  there are many types of animals from all over south and central America, including a video about ants, an aquarium, an aviary, a serpentarium and amphibean house, and a special primate house.  A white faced monkey tried to attack me, but luckily there was some strong glass or plastic between us.

 There were also some very small monkeys called Titis that remind me of the little flying creature from Captain Eo at Disneyland (withiut wings, obviously).  There were some local iguanas, wild, who were making a lovely home in the flamingo pond and the flamingos didn't seem to mind.  While the enclosures were sometimes a little small, they were set up very nicely so that patrons had an unobstructed view of the animals.

Saturday, we decided we wanted to take a salsa lesson before hitting up the salsatecas that night.  At first, our hostel recommended a teacher who would come to the hostal for our lesson, but he wanted 50,00 pesos which he lowered to 40,000 (28$ to 22$), but we decided we'd rather look for a group class that might be more affordable - remember, we're on a budget!  A girl who works at our hostal called around and found a studio that offered classes for just 3,000 pesos a person (less than $2).  We took a taxi ride to the studio, which is basically the living room of Bryan, a salsa dancer who won first place in last years' "Calí Salsa Festival".  There were no other students, so we got a private lesson anyway and in total, our cab rides and classes cost us less than half what the other teacher had wanted.  Bryan is definitely young and slightly inexperienced as a teacher, but he knows his salsa and we had a great time.  So much fun we decided to do a second class on Monday.  Calí salsa is faster and more complicated than the salsa we learned in Guatemala and we worked up quite a sweat.  At the end of our second lesson, we also learned a little bolero, a slower more stately dance similar to the tango.  Saturday evening we headed to a salsa club, but we were a little too intimidated to take a spin, so we enjyed a round of drinks while we watched the locals have a go.  Perhaps we'll try again tonight. While at the club, i was inspired to ask myself, quite frequently, that age old question, "Is he gay or Colombia?". I kid, but man, can those guys shake their hips!  Tomorrow we plan to see some historic sights in town and then the day after we'll head to Popayan - UNESCO's first city of gastronomy!

No comments:

Post a Comment