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Old 04-23-2013, 06:00 PM   #201
porkandcorn OP
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Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Portland, Oregon
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cali to salento to medellín, colombia

tuesday, april 23, 2013

sorry for the radio silence. a combination of bad wifi, no time, and generalized blogging laziness have conspired to create this lull in my reporting.

cali, colombia

i was planning on only one night in cali, but found a hostel in town that did in-house salsa lessons. the viajero hostel was good. it's a well-designed colonial home that has been converted into a hostel. they were just finishing up the pool as i was leaving.


cali, avenue 5 by porkandcorn, on Flickr


Untitled by porkandcorn, on Flickr


Untitled by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i met some good people at the hostel, and we went out as a group to a salsa club last friday night. i was a bit nervous to start out, but soon realized that my salsa lessons had been retained in a corner of my brain somewhere. after 30 minutes of dancing, i felt like i was back on top of my game, fearless, and commanding the dance floor with my limited, but well-honed repertoire.

saturday, i spent nursing yet another dancing injury, perhaps from being stiletto'd on the dance floor the previous night. i was concerned about another bone break because of some heavy bruising near my left pinky toe. but after a day of taking it easy, it's almost back to normal. i'm not sure what the deal is with the bones in my feet, but they don't like dancing as much as i do.

i spent a total of three nights in cali (two at the viajero hostel) and was off to coffee paradise sunday morning.


Untitled by porkandcorn, on Flickr


cali to salento by porkandcorn, on Flickr

salento, colombia

salento is in the heart of the coffee growing mountainous region of central colombia. it's a small, charming little pueblo kept pretty busy by a steady influx of mostly colombian tourist. after being drenched by the predictable afternoon thunderstorm as i arrived, i finally found a small hotel that had a place for the tiger.

i walked around for a bit and then just sat down at a coffee shop to enjoy some of the local spoils. i made a small, furry friend at the coffee shop - she just jumped up on my lap and went to sleep while i got extremely buzzed on powerful café.


Untitled by porkandcorn, on Flickr


Untitled by porkandcorn, on Flickr


Untitled by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i checked my email and had receive a note from some fellow oregoneon ADV riders who i met in baños, ecuador. they were heading south, and we shared info from our travels and passed along riding tips. they ended up doing the cañon del pato in peru a week later, and loved it. here's their ride report on ADVrider.com: Venturing South.


dudes by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i was sitting on a bench near the main square later, taking in the flavor of locals walking about. being sunday afternoon, most of the tourist had fled back to their respective cities, and it was just me and the salenteros. and who walked up to the bench? juan valdez? no - tamara, julian, and tom, whom i had met at the hostel in cali. so off we were for dinner and and early night.


salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

the next morning, i went to the central square at 7:30am to catch one of the many jeeps ferrying tourists out to the valley de cocora - a beautiful mountainous area about a 20 minute ride out of town. tom, julian, and tamara showed up and we shared a jeep. we also dragged along luke, a lawyer from san francisco. at the foot of the valley, a 7 mile hike begins that loops through the jungle, over rivers, up a steep mountain face, and then into one of colombias most beautiful valleys, cocora. the ride on the back of the jeep up to the trailhead was fantastic if you are strong enough to hold on.


Untitled by porkandcorn, on Flickr


back of the jeep ride, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


the jeep, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

we plundered through the jungle for about two hours and climbed some serious elevation. there were epic river crossings, rickety bridges, and masses of deep, lush jungle terrain. we stopped at a hummingbird eco-reserve on the way up to the top.


jungle, valle de cocora, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


gringo crossing, valle de cocora, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


bridge crossing, valle de cocora, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


hummingbird, valle de cocora, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


cloud forest, valle de cocora, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

the valley is populated with 100 foot-tall wax palms that grow among the natural grasses, feeding milk cows, and fertile slopes. we took the long way through the jungle, and it was a good trek. the wax palms are actually accessible in only a 10-minute hike from the trailhead, but we took the long way around. it was good to get some hearty exercise, and we were lucky enough to see the valley before the afternoon storms rolled in.


wax palms, valle de cocora, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


mystery man, valle de cocora, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


valley of wax palms, valle de cocora, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


me and wax palms, valle de cocora, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

after a shower and a nap, we all met back up, with some new viajeros, and spent the afternoon and evening playing pool and drinking local rum. the pool hall was a fascinating little hang out, full of local old men playing snooker, billiards, and cards. i don't know what they did to be able to just sit around and play games all day long, but they've got something figured out that the rest of the developed world hasn't yet.


pool halls, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


matan, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


pool shark, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


huh?, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


adan and leah, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

much later, and after much rum, we all headed to another house of gaming, where the preferred sport is exploding things. this club specialized in a game were you tossed a pure lead puck (dangerous, poisonous) into a clay pit full of dynamite chips (dangerous, lethal). in a fashion similar to horse shoes, the winner hit the target. but this is much better because the targets explode - a delight to boys and girls of all ages. after 30 minutes of no explosions, we just smashed some glycerine chips between the pucks to get our fix, and left content.


clay target, cancha de tejo, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


lead puck, cancha de tejo, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


glycerine chips, cancha de tejo, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


tossing, cancha de tejo, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


tossed, cancha de tejo, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


the proprietor, cancha de tejo, salento, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

salento, colombia to medellín, colombia

the next morning after a good breakfast i started the five-hour ride to medellín, colombia's second largest city. the mountain road was beautiful and twisty and carried me past endless coffee farms, misty valleys, and scenic overlooks. i arrived in the outskirts of medellín just in time for the obligatory afternoon downpour, and spent the last hour of my ride getting completely soaked and fighting through some chaotic medellín traffic. i arrived safely at my medellín hostel, the black sheep. it is located in one of the better neighborhood for dining, dancing and people-watching - el poblado. i have to go get cleaned up, as a group of people from the hostel are going out to a salsa club in a couple hours. wish my foot bones well...


salento to medellin by porkandcorn, on Flickr


autopista del cafe, manizales, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


coffee plants, manizales, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr


valley, manizales, colombia by porkandcorn, on Flickr

porkandcorn screwed with this post 08-22-2013 at 02:39 PM
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