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Colombia

Thirty days in colombia for 600 dollars

Budget Tips: Thirty Days in Colombia for 600 Dollars!

By | Blog, Colombia | 2 Comments

Situated in the northernmost part of South America, Colombia is a country blessed with natural beauty, wonderful people and lip smacking food. What’s better, its a country you can visit on a budget. It is infamous for drugs and guerrillas, but that description hardly fits the Colombia of today. It is one of the fastest developing economies in Latin America and also one of the richest in terms of biodiversity.

Recently, the government signed a peace deal with the FARC guerrillas and there is hope of ever lasting peace. If there ever was a great time to visit Colombia, then it is now. If you are from Europe, Asia or Australia, the country is a long way away.

But here is the good news. With a little bit of planning, it is possible to take a great trip in Colombia without spending much. You can travel for a month in Colombia by precisely spending 500 US Dollars. Want to know how? Here are our tried and tested budget tips!

Stay on a budget

Airbnbs like these are available at 20000 pesos per night in Colombia

Hostels are great value for money in Colombia. They are generally cheap and available in big cities across the country. Hostels costs up to 20000 pesos (570 INR/8 USD) for a night. This mostly includes a bunk bed and a fan. You will have to shell out more for an air conditioned room i.e about 40000 pesos (916 INR/13.5 USD).

But for an even better experience you can stay with Couchsurfers. Most Colombians are very friendly and love making new friends. So send couch requests or attend CS events. Strike a conversation, make new friends on the go and live with them.

Another way to stay cheap with locals is to use this website named Airbnb. It allows you to stay with locals at a very affordable price. We stayed in a spacious and beautiful apartment in Cali with a lovely couple as our hosts. For the two weeks we spent in their apartment, we paid 180 USD(12000 INR/ 520000 pesos). Can you believe that we were spending 6.5 USD per night per person???

And the house had a well-equipped kitchen, good natural light and a great view of the mountains. Freaking impossible right? But the impossible happens in Colombia.

If you travel to the remote areas, you will have to stay in lodges or guest houses which more or less cost the same.

What about the tummy?

Bandeja Paisa from Medellin is drool inducing but you can budget 20000 pesos for this

Restaurants and food stalls serve everything from ‘hamburguesas‘ to lunchboxes across the country. A typical Colombian ‘desayuno’ (breakfast) can cost you around 5000 pesos (115 INR/1.8USD) while an ‘almuerzo‘ (lunch) costs around 7000 pesos (165 INR/2.5USD). Of course, we are referring to places where most locals eat and not fancy places.

A handy tip would be to buy things from the supermarket and make a quick breakfast every morning. That would save both money and time.

But for lunch, don’t forget to try the ‘bandeja’, the set meal of Colombia.

You can buy fruits and vegetables from the supermarkets. They are really good and don’t cost much. Most hostels and Airbnbs have kitchens where you can cook. Cooking can make a sizable difference to your daily budget. I remember one of my American friends saying, “let’s buy some fruits and vegetables. They sell it for free here in Colombia”. He was referring to the fact that you can buy quite a few veggies for less than a dollar!

Getting around?

No, you wont have to take one of these everyday in Colombia

No, you won't have to take one of these every day in Colombia

Colombia is well connected by buses. Taxis are pretty cheap for traveling within the city. A taxi ride from one part of the city to another costs around 8000 pesos (180 INR/2.75 USD). Some Colombian cities like Cali and Bogota are well connected with local buses. You can buy a prepaid card and use it to travel in buses or cable cars . If you ever go to Medellin, then the Subway is a must do. Tickets range from 5000 to 8000 pesos (110 – 180 INR/ 1.75 – 2.75 USD).

Domestic airfare is pretty cheap as well compared to other countries. Tickets start at 80000 pesos (approx 2000INR/ 30USD) if you book well in advance.

A friend of mine also bought a second-hand bicycle for 100,000 pesos (35 USD/ 2500 INR) and used it to commute within the city. Of course, it is feasible only if you plan to stay for a long duration in a particular city.

And other things to do?

Salsa clubs are fun in Colombia and won't rock your budget

You can dance your heart out in the Salsatecas of Colombia for under 20000 pesos (450 INR/7 USD). There are also a variety of activities like trekking, hiking or adventure sports on offer. The prices are cheap compared to other countries in South America(except for the lost city trek which is quite expensive).

If you are in Bogota don’t miss out the walking/cycling graffiti tour and the free walking tour in Medellin.

Here is a budget table for your easy reference:

Colombian Pesos Indian Rupees US Dollars
Accomodation 20000 x 30 = 600,000 pesos 13700 205
Food (3 meals a day, provided you make your own breakfast) 15000 x 30 = 450,000 pesos 10200 154
Transport (8 long bus rides a month) 50000 x 8 = 400,000 Pesos 9095 137
Activities (will vary depending on what you want to do. But here’s a conservative estimate) 10000 x 30 = 300000 pesos 7000 100
Total 1,750,000 39607 596

But what about the beer, bro?

Poker is a popular beer, and costs around 5000 pesos for a big bottle

Beer is the second most popular beverage in the world. Colombians love their cerveja too. Be it a party or dinner with friends, there are Poker or Club Colombia beers always for company.

A pint of beer would generally cost you 2500 pesos which is less than a dollar.

Colombia offers great value for money and coupled with its treasure trove of eccentric experiences, it is time you plan a trip there. Shouldn’t you? And if you have questions, leave them in the comments and we will get back to soonest!

Eccentric things to do in Colombia

Five Eccentric Things To Do In Colombia

By | Blog, Colombia | One Comment

Colombia is a country that continues to stay with you long after you have left its golden beaches and green mountains. That is exactly what happened to us. We told you a little while ago why it is probably the best country to live. There isn’t a single day that passes by without thinking of great friends I made there or of its wonderful sights.

But like everywhere else, it was the eccentric that we chased in Colombia. And, the country lives up to its reputation of being unique. From Cali’s love motels to the mad carnaval of Barranquilla; Colombia is a treasure trove of idiosyncratic experiences. And the good part is that the country does not shy away from showcasing its quirky side.

Here are five eccentric things we experienced in Colombia and you can too.

Meet a witch in Colombia:

Witch

When you think of the word ‘witch’, the image of a wicked woman with a broom is what comes to mind. Thankfully, witches in Colombia are not that scary(or at least the one I met was not). I wrote about my experience of meeting a witch on the website earlier. You could experience something similar if you wished to as well. Most witches are fortune tellers or astrologers, some smoke cigars to do so, others read cards. In any case, it is sure to end as an interesting experience.

It will however take some effort on your part. The best way is to ask local friends, look for advertisements or search the internet. Though meeting witches in Colombia is not yet a touristic thing to do, so scams should not be a concern. But you are better off asking a local friend about safety and how much money you should actually shell out for getting to know your fortune. Best is if you are accompanied by a local, like I was.

Try the ‘Lulo’ in Cali

Trying the sour fruit Lulo, is one of the craziest things you could do in Colombia

Lulo is a fruit commonly found close to the Pacific coast of Colombia. Wikipedia states that in Panama and Ecuador it is known as Naranjilla. The fruit is really sour(I mean really really sour), and if you taste it on its own, you’d probably never taste it again.

But fortunately, Calenos(people from the city of Cali) make Lulado from this fruit. They transform the sour fruit into a sweet and subtly flavoured milky drink. In my two months in Cali, I could not have enough of it. So much so that I would make Lulado on my own in the Airbnb apartments I stayed in.

Ride the little witches of San Cipriano

Take a ride on the little witches of San Cipriano

Seems like this post is filled with witches, right? But that’s really what this next thing is called. Close to the pacific coast of Colombia is the national park of San Cirpiano. It is isolated and not connected to the rest of the country by road. However, there is a defunct railroad that connects it to the nearest town. With their ingenuity, the locals have turned the rail tracks into an interesting commute.

Meet the brujitas or the little witches of San Cipriano. Motor bikes are used to propel open air carts along the railway tracks. This ride of a few kilometers is not for the faint hearted. However, it does give the passenger an immersive feel of the forests, bridges and the river. It certainly will be one of the quirkiest rides you will ever take.

Dance with fifty partners in a single evening

Learning Salsa

If you come from a place that isn’t big on dancing as a social activity, then Colombia is going to pleasantly shock you.

They dance their heart out in all cities in Colombia, but Cali is the place if you want to experience some classic dance floor socialising. The city is called the ‘Salsa capital of the world’ for a good reason. But don’t let that reputation deter you, even with a few basic steps you can hit the dance floor. In Salsatecas in Cali like Tin Tin Deo, La Topa and others, it is possible to dance with 50 beautiful women on a single evening(if you have the motivation, energy and if you start early…haha). And in the same way, if you are a girl you can dance with same number of Colombian men on a single evening. Who knows, may be even more…

Sounds like an interesting way to spend the evening, right?

Go into the deep, dark mangroves in Ladrilleros

Through the deep and dark mangroves of Ladrilleros

Have movies like ‘Into the wild’ or ‘Apocalypse now’ captured your fascination? Have you ever wanted to go through similar landscapes of deep and dark jungles? If yes, then a small village on the pacific coast of Colombia is your chance.

It is in Ladrilleros that we took a canoe ride into the mangroves and were transported into a world we knew little about. Into a place where the breeze moved cautiously and where the river acted like it hid many secrets. These mangroves are home to many unique species of animals and plants. And the intriguing boat ride ends in a trek to a fresh water pond which is perfect for a dip.

You can also have a look at the video we created to help you plan your trip to Ladrilleros here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anSPFqqUfa0

Do you have any other eccentric experiences to share from Colombia or anywhere else? Let us know. May be you can help us increase our list of eccentric experiences!

People at Tin Tin Deo doing the Salsa Choke dance

The New Colombian Music That Will Get Us All Grooving

By | Blog, Colombia, music | No Comments

Some of you will know that I traveled to a few countries to take challenges for ‘The 12 Project’. One of them was to learn salsa in Colombia. This meant that in Cali(Colombia’s third largest city), I was at one salsateca or another every evening making a fool of myself. It was at Tin Tin Deo, one of the oldest salsa clubs in Cali, that I got introduced to a new kind of music. At first I was shocked. Shocked, at how much and how fast Calenos(people from Cali) could shake their hips. And then I was in love. In love with this new kind of sound, which I later found out was called Salsa Choke.

Along with the information, I have also shared some of the most popular Salsa Choke songs for you to listen to. Enjoy!

What is Salsa Choke music and dance?

Do not worry, this music has nothing to do with any sauce(salsa also means sauce in Spanish). Neither does it involve choking your partner on the dance floor. Even in the class where I was learning Salsa, choke(pronounced cho-que) made its appearance once a week. Gustavo, my salsa teacher, would make us shake our hips twice each side. It felt a lot like Bachata, but it was a lot faster and was made up of more dynamic movements. Unlike Salsa, Choke is not classical and can seem weird for the uninitiated. It is a partner dance but in most clubs people dance without one. Generally, one or two people lead the steps and the rest follow.

'Ras tas tas' is probably the most popular Salsa Choke song by artists 'Cali Flow Latino'

How and where did it begin?

Though most people across Colombia know about this form of music, it remains a phenomenon of the Pacific coast. Cities in the region of Valle Del Cauca is where Salsa Choke is the most popular. In my travels I found that young people from rest of Colombia were still picking up the moves, though they loved the beat. Salsa Choke is also special for Cali because many Calenos believe it was invented there, and hence it belongs to them. Unlike Salsa, that made its way to Cali in the 70’s and spread like wildfire, so much so that today Cali is known as the Salsa capital of the world. Wikipedia claims that cities like Cali made this dance form famous, but that it was invented in a coastal town called Tumaco.

'Swagga', also by 'Cali Flow Latino' is wildly popular

How did it become popular?

Salsa Choke is much younger, more urban, aggressive and sensuous. Most people claim that the dance originated in the barrios populares of Cali, which means that it came from the poorer parts of Cali.

“Though it had been around for a while, it became wildly popular when the Colombian football team started dancing Salsa Choke. They would do that after scoring goals or gaining victory in the matches in Brazil World Cup 2014. Till then Salsa Choke was limited to Cali and other areas close to the Pacific coast”, informed Gustavo, my dance teacher.

'Semaforo' is another song without which the Salsa Choke playlist is incomplete

What does it look like?

Despite being named after Salsa Choke, the side way movements seem closer to Bachata. But look or listen carefully and you will realise that the rhythm, though faster, is the same. Like Salsa, it goes 1-2-3 …. 5-6-7 which is common among many Latin dances. After gaining popularity, Salsa Choke had made a place for itself in the crossover dance clubs of Colombia. These are places where they play Salsa, Bachata, Merengue and Reggaeton. But in Cali even some Salsa-only places, such as Tin-Tin Deo, play Salsa Choke to take a break from the routine.

'Taca tucuta' is a song you will hear all the time in the clubs of Cali.

What does the future hold?

But will this hip gyrating, joyful and sensuous dance ever take over Salsa in Cali? ‘Nooooooo, impossible!’, exclaimed Gustavo. He feels that the history and the classical touch that Salsa has will always ensure that it is more popular. I have my doubts though, Salsa Choke just needs good artists and it could at least replace the ridiculous Reggaeton that most younger Colombians are into.

'Limon con sal' is my favourite, let's end the list with this.

Or let me put it this way, at least I hope so. And if Salsa Choke is destined to fade out someday, let’s shake our hips while we can. Shall we?

San Cipriano, the national park close to the pacific coast of Colombia

6 Reasons Why Colombia Might Be The Best Place To Live

By | Blog, Colombia, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

I arrived in Colombia at the beginning of this year and was taken aback. No, there was no war or crime to shake me up. The natural beauty and friendly people actually charmed me over. The Colombian city of Cali where I was learning salsa turned out to be one of my best stays on the ten month long Latin American trip.

It is not like the darker side of the country is lost on me. I have heard of guerrilla groups FARC and ELN. The country also has been perpetually at war with itself thanks to the druglords and their influence. Economic inequality continues to be a problem, and corruption has not gone away. However, Colombia is also one of the positive stories of this decade. Peace is finally making a comeback and every body is understandably celebrating. This, and some other reasons also make Colombia one of the best countries to live. Though you may find them subjective, here are seven of them which you will agree with if you go to Colombia.

Want to watch a video instead? Here it is.

Great nature and weather

The mangroves of Ladrilleros, Colombia

Colombia possesses 10% of the world’s bio-diversity. It has everything from tropical forests to mountains and even deserts. For nature seekers there is enough to explore. San Cipriano which is a natural park with a river, streams, waterfalls and forests is close to the city Cali. And that is the biggest advantage for people who love nature, many nature trails are not very far from cities making for an ideal weekend trip.

Because of its topography, the weather in Colombia is really great. Of course, it gets a tad hot and humid as you get closer to the coast. But give me that over biting cold any day and I’ll take it! Medellin, Colombia’s second largest city, is known as the ‘city of eternal spring’ and you can enjoy good weather there all year round.

The beautiful Colombian smile

Our friend Ximena in Armenia in Colombia

Colombians are famous for their friendliness. Through out my stay I was always amazed at how easy going they were. Making friends is easy and they pass that famous smile as soon their eyes meet yours. And it is much easier to speak to a smiling person, ask me for I was learning Spanish on the go.

You must have heard that Colombian women are beautiful. Well, that is not….untrue at all. But what makes them even more special is their smile, friendship and warmth. One such person is our friend pictured above, like most Colombians, she believes in having a good laugh and in making friends wherever she goes.

Festa – you can dance your life away in Colombia

 

Salsa choke in Tin Tin Deo, Cali, Colombia

If moving your feet makes you happy, then you would find it difficult to be sad in Colombia. Dance is a very important part of their culture, and socialising happens on the dance floor. Cali, known as the salsa capital of the world, is probably the best city in Colombia to dance. But other cities aren’t far behind either. Dancing is a great way to meet people of the opposite sex, and many couples in Colombia first met in a salsateca or discoteca.

Beyond that Colombians are great at celebrating. Their numerous festivals, the year-end, the carnaval or even a win at a football match will display that. It is true that if you stay long enough in a place with music, people will start dancing at some point.

Lip smacking food!

Cholado in Cali, Colombia

Another advantage that makes Colombia more interesting is the food. Though to be honest, Asian cuisine is better and Indian food is the best in my opinion(I am from India, what did you expect?). But anyway, getting back to Colombia, food for most parts is fattening but extremely tasty. Bandejas is an assorted lunch with different items to go with rice. Bandeja paisa is the one that is served in Medellin and is a meat eater’s delight. This heavy lunch consists of fried bacon, eggs, sausage and roasted meat with rice, lentils and salad. It is a meal which asks to be followed with a long siesta.

Despite not being a great fan of aerated drinks, I was drinking them quite regularly in Colombia. Because their local drinks are just so good! Colombiana, the cola champagne and Postobon manzana, the apple flavoured soda, rank right up there for me along with Brazil’s Guarana antartica.

My favourite dish though is the Cholado from Valle del Cauca region. This cold sweet dish is made of crushed ice, condensed milk, fruits, coconut and other delightful little things. The best time to have them is on a Sunday evening with family and friends. Best way to get prepare for the week’s grind; right?

Better value for your money

The currency from Colombia - Colombian Pesos

One US dollar equals 2926 Colombian pesos(as of August 2016) which means that your money runs longer in Colombia. Things aren’t yet expensive in the country. It is possible to dance the night away at a salsateca and have a couple of pints for less than 10 USD. Same goes for food and other things such as transport. Domestic flights aren’t expensive by international standards, which makes it easy to plan weekend trips.

But more than the price, what Colombia offers is value. I have been countries which are as cheap as Colombia(and that includes my country India), but they do not offer the same quality as the ‘land of magical realism’ does. And that is where Colombia scores! That is why many Americans are steadily choosing Colombian cities as their retirement location. It may be just a matter of time before things become expensive, but let’s enjoy as long as it lasts.

Country of the future

Two boys enjoying the evening in Medellin, Colombia

Many economists call it one of the rising stars of Latin America. Though problems remain and a lot needs to be done, we can all be optimistic about the country. Teaching English is already a viable option for expats and running a business isn’t a bad option either. I have heard that it is easy to get PR(permanent residency) in the country. The government is encouraging foreigners to come in to invest their money or skill in the country, as they need to play catch up with other economies.

You could always argue for or against these points and I guess contradictions to these may be true as well. But it is difficult to debate that with its nature, people, culture and relative safety the country is fast turning into one of the better places to live in the world.

I am definitely going back there one day. What about you? Are you coming?

Put your, put your hands up, in the church

When I Went Inside an Evangelical Church in Colombia

By | Blog, Brazil, Colombia | No Comments

It was during my travels in Brazil, that I took notice of the Evangelicos(Protestant Christians are known so in South America) and their church. A friend mentioned that there was a rise of Evangelicals, that challenged Brazil’s relatively liberal attitude towards an individual’s sexual preferences. Homosexuality is a no-no with most Evangelicals. A Brazilian gay friend’s Evangelical family hadn’t accepted him for years, precisely for this reason.

As if that wasn’t enough, there was an Evangelical church at every corner of the favela where I was learning to play drums. Their prayers were intense and the pastors were no less than motivational speakers. Only that they are a lot more animated and commanded greater control over their audience. People would raise and sway their hands up in the air, many with tears in their eyes during these services. It seemed bizzare, even to someone who was born into Hinduism, a religion with 30 million gods and roughly the same number of rituals.

The Church opportunity in Colombia

Some good advice on the walls of the church

Good advise that I have never followed, on the walls of Church of God.

But it wasn’t until I reached Colombia that I had the opportunity to understand Evangelicalism a little better. A friend of mine had invited me to an Evangelical church which his mother was a part of. Equipped with some difficult questions, I rode my cycle to interestingly named ‘Church of God’ in Southern part of Cali, Colombia’s third largest city. The service started with a smartly dressed pastor talking people about the power of being good; etc. Regular stuff, isn’t it? I was almost thinking the afternoon was going to be a mighty boring one.

Plus, a shot too many of aguardiente the previous night meant my eyes had the propensity to shut at the hint of anything boring. But things did get interesting after a while, the famous hands in the air sequence soon came into play. Most people at the service went into deep introspection mode while doing this. Then, live music followed and a girl with a soulful voice sang songs of Jesus(though that is purely a guess, she was singing in Spanish).

The church prayer circle

A prayer circle at the church I visited

When the service dispersed it was time for the prayer circle. These circles can be quite intense too, it is common to spot people crying. It was then, that I was put into a spot. One of the pastors invited me to join the circle and wanted to pray for me. And since I accept all invitations except the ones that involve hara-kiri, I obliged. There I was in the circle with the pastor and others asking the Lord to bless me and keep me safe in my travels. Though I wasn’t sensitive enough to cry or even feel the ‘high’ that believers do, I did not mind the prayer and the positive energy. I also wanted them to pray that thousands of cute Colombian girls should fall for me, but good sense prevailed and I kept that to myself.

The experience was near complete, except one thing – a chat with the pastor. My friend led the way and helped me translate since my Spanish was pretty poor back then(and continues to stay the same). The pastor seemed quite forthcoming, probably he hadn’t anticipated my unpleasant questions. As expected, the pastor told me that the only real god was the one they believed in and the real knowledge was in the Bible(old testament). ‘You may believe in some other god, that does not make you bad. I can only pray to our god so that you start believing in him. And may be that is the reason why you are here. But whether you believe in him or not, you will always be welcome here’, I was told when I asked if it was true that Evangelicals do not accept other faiths.

On homosexuality, he said, ‘We do not hate homosexuals, even they are welcome here. But yes, we will make the effort to cure them of the disease. Because the Bible says, not I, that there are some rules in life.’

That was that, their position on homosexuality and other religions. My questions meant that an invitation to a long chat was unceremoniously withdrawn. It is true that Evangelicalism is not as inclusive as other faiths in Latin America. But it definitely is a force to be reckoned with. So much so that the Catholics are worried. The National Catholic Reporter reported a decade ago about the threat from Evangelicalism in Latin America. Since then, the evangelical movement has only strengthened. So clearly, a fringe religion it is not.

The best part

Food about to be served to the faithfuls at the church

Food, glorious food.

Just when I thought that the day at the church was over, something I love more than my faith was on offer. That was some lip-smacking food. And let me put it this way, I came for the faith but stayed for the food. At least in that sense I was a convert.

Siloe Cali Colombia

Would You Step Into This Dangerous Neighbourhood In Colombia?

By | Blog, Colombia, Eccentrip | 6 Comments

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Cali is Colombia’s third largest city:

Colombia is no stranger to violence. But that is just one facet of this wildly diverse country. It has a history of armed guerrilla groups and mafia. Even lower middle class neighborhoods are sometimes considered dangerous. One such locality is Siloe in Cali, Colombia’s third largest city.

Siloe covers a hill in south-western Cali. The neighborhood or barrio is notorious for drugs and trigger happy criminals. However, majority of its residents are law abiding citizens. Like elsewhere, it is poverty and lack of opportunities that drives young people towards crime in Colombia.

Siloe Cali Colombia

Even the cops are scared to enter:

Cali adventurer, a popular expat blogger based in Cali states this about Siloe. ‘The police are scared to enter and when they do, the local newspaper usually reports of several dead officers. My only advice: Don’t go.’

But we did what almost none of the travelers do. We went to see what Siloe actually looked and felt like. Before we left, I called all my near and dear ones. Who knew whether they would get to hear me again?

We were fortunate and did not get killed on this trip. Though, that may sound like a bit of an overstatement.

Watch this video to see what we saw in this dangerous area in Colombia.

 

A slowly changing neighbourhood:

In fact, we did not even see armed men or drugs. What we did see, was a neighborhood where change was arriving, slowly. In that way it mirrored changing Colombia.

The metro cable car had changed the face of the hill. Even the residents were happy about the cable car. It was now easier for them to commute to different parts of the city. It was possible to get to work in a dignified way. They could avoid hanging on to their dear lives on jeeps. Earlier, the jeeps were the only vehicles to ferry people in and out of the barrio.

It was a Sunday, and we met some young people creating street art. Some of them were foreigners.  The people we met were kind and welcoming. If there is crime, we did not encounter it. But, that does not mean that crime does not exist.

But even the most dangerous of places, have stories that inspire hope.

Siloe Cali Colombia

A note of caution:

DO NOT attempt to go to such areas without a local friend. Also, he/she should be very confident that no harm will come your way. It can still be a risk, but we were ready to take it. You may or may not want to do that. This blog post is not meant to convince anyone to visit areas notorious for being dangerous.

Witch

When I Met A Witch In Colombia…

By | Blog, Colombia, Eccentrip | No Comments

‘You are going to meet a witch tomorrow??? I so wanna go too!’ yelled the girl I had just met at a discoteca in Cali in Colombia.

Till then I hadn’t given my witch visiting decision too much thought. I was to travel to Buga, a sleepy town 74 kms away from Cali.

It was only a few days ago that I had arrived in the city to learn salsa. Ruben & July, a young Colombian couple had taken me in their house as a guest. Ruben and I would spend evenings chatting about the craziness that is Colombia. One of those days the topic of witches came up and I was hooked. Read More

Learning Salsa

How I Learnt Salsa In Thirty Days (And You Can Too)

By | Blog, Colombia, Eccen-Tips | 2 Comments
It seems like yesterday that I had arrived in Cali, a city in south-west Colombia and also the Salsa capital of the world. The same evening I was at a salsateca or a salsa club. I watched beautiful women and smart blokes create poetry on the dance floor. But all I could feel was anxiety.
‘Will I be able to do this?’ I asked myself. I had challenged myself to get good at salsa. That in itself was a huge challenge for a non-dancing hombre like me. Read More

Cali And The Corner Of Unfulfilled Dreams

By | Blog, Colombia | No Comments
(That’s Gustavo, my salsa teacher, trying to teach me some steps, since no girl would dance with me)

Of all the challenges from The 12 Project, the one that I am about to take is probably the only one that deals with a negative emotion that I felt growing as a teenager. Like most of us, I loved parties and music as an adolescent. I still remember the  party in college, the first time that I danced with girls. Despite the foot tapping music, the best dance move I could come up with was tapping my feet really hard. Read More

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