Living in Cali

January 14, 2015

I stayed in Cali for about 6 weeks before having to head home for a friends wedding. While in Cali, I met some amazing people, learned some Spanish and salsa, and saw what Cali/Colombia had to offer. I went to the pacific coast of Juanchaco, to the zoo, horse back riding, sugarcane museum and experienced a Colombian Halloween.

Living arrangements

Mauricio and Caroline After staying at the Violette Maison, I spent a week at the Colombian Hostel on an initial recommendation by Irena, whom I met in Ann Arbor out dancing. A pair of brother and sister, Mauricio and Caroline, runs the hostel. They are amazing people and they helped make my second week in Colombia a memorable one. The hostel is very clean, and is located in a very safe part of the city. However, the location is a bit far from the sites around town, expect to walk 20-30 minutes to get to most things (or ride the buses) Shortly after, I found cheaper living arrangements with my Spanish instructor, Dyron. It was located in the same neighborhood as Colombian Hostel, so I didn’t have to readjust to my surroundings. Additionally, I would find myself hanging out at Sun Flower Hostel a lot because of the people I’ve met in Cali.

The People

Unfortunately with my very limited Spanish, I was only able to meet other expats easily, or other Colombians that could easily communicate in English. Through the Spanish school in particular, I was able to meet many people with varying age ranges. There was an older gentleman, who was also attending the beginning courses in Spanish, which bought me some clothes because of my luggage situation.

Asena Christoph Christoph was one of the first friends/classmates I had in Cali. He’s a German here in Cali teaching English for a year. He’s young at the age of 20 and he’s able to pick up Spanish much quicker than I can. He introduced me to his other coworkers Asena and Sophie. We all went to Juanchaco together on the pacific coast of Colombia. To get there we went through Buenaventura, a port town, and road a boat across the bay. The boat ride was really rough, there were fairly high waves and we were sitting up in the front. This meant for every wave, we fell into our seats, and this lasted for about an hour.

Dyron Caroline Then there were the Spanish teachers Dyron and Caroline. These two made going to the Spanish school enjoyable by creating a community for the foreigners to get to know each and became our psuedo tour guides. As part of school fieldtrips, we went to the sugarcane museum and to the local markets.

LtoR Bruna Me Ben Anthony Then there were the many regular dancers I meet. But specifically a small group of them I became good friends with Sasha, Anthony, Guaya, Ben, David, Bruna, Alejandro and countless others. This group was the reason why I hung out at sunflower. In fact most of them have never stayed there and just hung out there because the volunteers were cool, or for Bruna being a longer term resident there.

The Place

Gringa at the Zoo I really love to dance, and have been learning LA style Salsa for the past 3 years. Cali is a place where you can go dance salsa any night of the week and pretty much any time of the day. So Cali will always be a special place for me. In addition to being able to dance salsa every night, Cali offers a few other things to culture oneself. Art Exhibit The zoo in Cali is something you should try to visit, the zoo contains many different animals. But if you are a gringo, be prepared to be much more of an attraction than the animals themselves. Additionally, there is a modern art museum, which I enjoyed. Mostly because of the fact that I’m still a juvenile at heart and simple fart jokes still make me laugh. However, after 6 weeks of pretty much constant dancing, I needed a break and went traveling the rest of Colombia before returning for feria.

Christmas, Feria de Cali, New Years

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