A night in Cali
Cali Travel Blog› entry 10 of 21 › view all entries
So we have arrived to probably the most anticipated part of my trip through latin america... Colombia. Before stepping foot in Colombia, like most people, I had doubts about the safety in the country that produces 80% of the worlds cocaine and is still the setting of a constant war between the military and the rebel groups. Though rebel activity is somewhat at a low, just a few months ago some a dozen political hostages were executed by the largest militant group, the FARC rebels, which has an army of some 20,000 strong. The night before I headed crossed into Colombia, i couldnt stop thinking about the potential dangers awaiting me in Colombia.
With my food poisoning completely gone, i woke up at 5 AM in Quito and was ready for Colombia.
Not 10 minutes had passed on the bus when we recieved the first sign that we were in Colombia. We came to a military checkpoint where about 20 soldiers with machine guns made us get off the bus for weapons inspections. None of this bothered me however, because at least i knew that no one else on the bus was carrying a gun. We would come accross a similar checkpoint before we would arrived to Cali.
Trey and I have traveled over 130 hours in bus already, crossing beck and forth through the Andes over and over with fantastic scenery the entire way. Not one strech however has been as amazing as travling though colombia. We passed through green river valleys, rockey mountains, and think jungles in just a 10 hour period. i have the admith though that I was scared for my life the entire time... not of the rebels that might kidnap me, but of our bus flying off of the road and to a 500 meter cliff. Our driver must have sampled something from those strange packages he picked up, because he was driving down curvy one-lane roads like he was on crack, flying arround curves at about 50 mph. i came pretty close to throwing up some empanadas at a couple moments.
About 2 hours from Cali, night fell and Trey and i started to get scared because everyone has told us never to travel at night on this route. i peered out my window the entire time into the darkness thinking what a leftist rebel might do to me. in the end, we made it to Cali unscathed. just before we pulled in the bus station, the drivers jumped out, unloaded those strange packages, and ran down an alley and left them somewhere... very strange, i thought.
Cali is Colombias third largest city with a population of 2 million. unforturnately we arrived on monday, so there was pretty much nothing to do in the city. Trey and I tried to venture out somewhere around our hostel, but found out quickly that everyhing was closed. on our way back, prostitutes and pimps approached us from all sides.. some of the prostitutes had really deep voices making me think that they might be men. a dutch man that was staying in our hostel told us that one of the prostitutes punched him in the balls as he was walking by-- not exactly the best approach for attracting customers id say.
we woke up in the morning early to go to Medellìn where we hope to stay for a few days. since we have already passed the rebel territory, it should be easy traveling the rest of the way.