By Teresa Thuy

Colombia 2014: Day 2 – Salsa Capital of the World

Colombia 2014: Day 2 – Salsa Capital of the World

Cali, Colombia is deemed “Salsa Capital of the World”, due to all of the salsa dancers that come out of this city. They win world salsa championships and even have their own salsa style, Cali salsa, where their feet move a little (well, a lot) faster than the traditional salsa. Salsa music plays everywhere on the streets, blaring from car stereos, homes, and businesses. I was moved with the presence of music in their everyday lives.

We got tickets to two big cultural salsa themed events: La Feria de Cali and Delirio. La Feria de Cali is a carnival type celebration with live music and salsa dancers that is held once a year at the end of December. Delirio is a show with the best salsa dancers and held the last weekend of the month. Lucky us, we got to attend both!

Read on, if you want to see all of the fun we had on Day 2!

12.28. colombia16Villa Milena – our home for the week. Thank you so much for opening your beautiful home to us!

This is the bottom of the mountain. We trekked up and down every day to the house.

12.28. colombia3Every morning, I would greet his parents and family in the kitchen with a “buenos días!”, or good morning. I would grab a few slices of bread filled with goat cheese and walk out the front door to take in this view.

12.28. colombia2All of us were ready for our 7:45 a.m. hike. If I lived out there (and I really do want to move there), I would walk this every day too. The air is so fresh and feels clean going into the lungs.  12.28. colombia11My sister, Diana, and her boyfriend, Mauricio

I love them and really hope that they get married there, so I can visit again soon! *crossing fingers*12.28. colombia100Meet Soo and Mauricio’s mom.

Look at us! Feeling on top of the world! 12.28. colombia8The home of the Rodríguez Orejuela brothers, Gilberto and Miguel, who were head of the Cali Cartel back from 1977-1998. It is now a rehabilitation center.

12.28. colombia15We hiked up the mountains for an hour and 15 minutes. It was a great cardio session to get our oxygen and blood flowing!

12.28. colombia12The most satisfying post-workout snack – Empanada

A street cart posts at the bottom of their house, so we could eat these little pockets of deep fried goodness, whenever we pleased. These were my favorite empanadas, during my stay in Cali. These pastries had a cornmeal exterior and were filled with chicken and potatoes. I made sure to have a spoonful of ají sauce with every bite. Ají sauce is a spicy sauce that contains tomatoes, cilantro, ají pepper, onions, and water.

Four empanadas were 2,000 pesos, or about $.25 each.

12.28. colombia130Little town of El Saladito 12.28. colombia140With just a few days left until the New Year, año viejos start filling the streets. The effigies are made with old clothes and then burned to rid of regrets, failures, and mistakes of the previous year and bring in new resolutions and improvements. Tune in to post of Day 5, where we construct our very first one! It is quite entertaining.12.28. colombia170Time to get the party started with a Poker, a Colombian beer, before Feria de Cali 2014!12.28. colombia181Terrón Coloreado, a neighborhood painted in vivid shades of pink, orange, yellow, and blue was so pretty to look at.

12.28. colombia30The locals say this area was not safe to travel to alone.

12.28. colombia19I got my dancing shoes on!! Snagged this hat for 15,000 pesos, or about $7.50 at a cart, before entering the celebration grounds.

12.28. colombia60We went to Bufalo for lunch and ordered two picadas, which are towers of steak, pork, chicken, and potatoes topped with fries and surrounded by arepas. There was seven of us, and we devoured this meal. I have a big appetite. Two picadas would probably suffice for 10 people. And, that lettuce garnish? Yeah, those green delights wrapped the meats. 🙂

I enjoyed this with a cup of jugo de mora, or blackberry juice! It was so sweet and delicious!12.28. colombia20 Cali – the Capital of Alegría, or capital of happiness! You can see it in the smiles and energy beaming from the people parading the street and filling the stands. This is the biggest festival in the city that has been celebrated from Christmas to the 30th, since 1957.

12.28. colombia320Everyone danced to salsa music.

12.28. colombia21 (2)The ornate costumes

12.28. colombia 22We went to sweet Daniella’s First Communion party. The house was filled with family and was not short of dancing and hugs. Loved seeing their smiling faces!

12.28. colombia29Lechona is served on special occasions, and this was a special one. It is a whole pig stuffed with yellow rice and peas. Crispy goodness!

12.28. colombia310We walked a few blocks for a haircut. Salsa and hip hop music were blasting from a small establishment that fit one barber chair and one booth. The barber and his friend danced. They even gave us shots of brandy, while we waited!

12.28. colombia24We had to quickly get ready for Delirio. This show combines musicians, the best salsa dancers, and acrobats all under one enormous tent. We sat at a table and enjoyed empanadas with our rum, while watching the amazing show.12.28. colombia23The Nguyen sisters love a good time and dance opportunity!

12.28. colombia33The show was 5 hours long that lasted from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. There were four intermissions, where everyone would get up and dance salsa. So much fun!12.28. colombia25Diana with Mauricio and his family

Music is everywhere in Cali. I love the effect it has on people. It brings everyone together and lifts spirits.

Next week, I will post Day 3 at Playa del Carmen!

Te extraño, Cali y Caleños.


Teresa Thuy


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