Colombia 2014: Day 2 - Salsa Capital of the World



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!


Villa 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.


Every 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.


My 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*


Meet Soo and Mauricio's mom.

Look at us! Feeling on top of the world!

All 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.


The 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.


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


The 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.


Little town of El Saladito


With 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.


Time to get the party started with a Poker, a Colombian beer, before Feria de Cali 2014!


Terrón Coloreado, a neighborhood painted in vivid shades of pink, orange, yellow, and blue was so pretty to look at.


The locals say this area was not safe to travel to alone.


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


We 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!

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.


Everyone danced to salsa music.


The ornate costumes


We 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!


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


We 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!


We 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. The Nguyen sisters love a good time and dance opportunity!


Diana with Mauricio and his family

The show was 5 hours long and lasted from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. There were four intermissions, where everyone would get up and dance salsa. So much fun!

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