Saturday, January 27, 2018

Cali es Cali, lo demás es loma

If you missed it you might enjoy reading my first post about my visit to Cali, Colombia, No des papaya.  I talked about all of the cool new Spanish I picked up while I was there.  In today's post I'm going to share my experiences with the city itself.

Let's jump right into it.

One thing I should mention is that Cali is short for Santiago de Cali, which is in the Valle de Cauca.

You may not know this, but Cali has been proclaimed itself the Salsa capital of the world.  And by Salsa I mean the dance, not the condiment.   I would say the city has good reason to make that claim.

You hear Salsa music playing everywhere in Cali.  In the streets, in the bars and night clubs, in stores, in restaurants, in taxis, in cars driving by, on the radio, you can't avoid it.  I mean you literally hear Salsa being played everywhere.  

But they don't just dance Salsa, they dance Salsa Caleña.  Often referred to as Colombian Salsa.  

If you dance Salsa or have seen people dancing Salsa, it was most likely Cuban, Puerto Rican or New York style Salsa.  But Salsa Caleña is a different animal.  It's famous for it's fancy foot work.  Here are 47 seconds of the amazing foot work Salsa Caleña is known for:

If you can't see the video, here's the direct link:

I actually took a Salsa lesson when I was there.  When in Rome, right?  

There is no shortage of Salsa schools in Cali.  They're practically on every corner.  I read an article that said there are around 200 Salsa schools in Cali.

But let's move on, there's a lot more to do in Cali than dance Salsa.

One of the must see attractions in Cali is the Cristo Rey.  It's a smaller, but equally impressive copy  of the Brazilian version.

It's absolutely amazing to see it up close and personal.  Here's one more picture for you:

Up next is the parque de gatos.  I really enjoyed visiting this park, which is ironic because I'm not a cat person.

The cats are known as Los Gatos de Tejada.  Or more affectionately as los gatos.   The park contains numerous sculptures of cats that represent various things, each gato has a sign that tells the story of what it represents.  Here a few of my favorites.  Google "parque de gatos cali" and you'll find pictures of nearly all of the cats.

Here's an interesting cultural note about Cali that won't go unnoticed while you're there.  I found it to be rather surprising and I suspect you will too.  

You see, Cali is not just the capital of Salsa, it's also known for being home of some of the most beautiful women in Colombia.  Not to mention the capital of plastic surgery.  

And when I say plastic surgery, yes, I'm referring aumentos de gluteos y senos.  And of course lipo, or liposución.

Aumentos de gluteos y senos
Butt and breast augmentations

Many women choose to get plastic surgery, it's commonplace.  Rumor has it that even girls as young as 15 will get surgery as a quiseñera present if they come from families that can afford it.   And compared to the US, plastic surgery is cheap there.  In fact, it's cheap all throughout Colombia.

But wait, I'm not done yet.  That isn't the part I found surprising.  

Like anywhere else in the world, Colombia uses mannequins to sell clothes.

Did you notice anything unusual about those mannequins?  If you didn't let me help you out.

And you'll see it on the "flip" side as well.

Yep, the culture of cirugía plastica extends to mannequins as well.  Apparently "bigger is better" in Cali. 

Let's move on.

Cali is also known for it's night life.  I mean, how could a city that claims to be the Salsa capital of the world not be famous for it's night life?  Tin Tin Deo is a well known place to go Salsa dancing.

I'd be irresponsible if I didn't teach you the proper lingo to talk about going partying in Colombia.

You might think that in Colombia you ir de fiesta (to go partying) but instead you ir de rumba.  It means the same thing, but you want to sound like a real Colombian, so use ir de rumba.

If you like to party, you're a rumbero or rumbera.   Rumbear is another way to say you're going to go partying.

Remember I said that Cali is the (self-proclaimed) Salsa capital of the world?   Well, if you're the type who loves Salsa music and likes to dance Salsa, then you're a salsero

Now, what's a night out on the town without a few drinks?

If you're a rum drinker, you may want to try one of Colombia's very own rums.

I've never been the one to "pop bottles" in the club, but you can order a bottle of Ron de Caldas for about $30 in the discos and have a good time.  For that price my friends and I hicimos una vaca and  didn't hesitate to pop a few bottles. 

Interestingly enough, your bottle of rum is served with a pitcher of water that has fresh limes squeezed in it that serves as your chaser as opposed to mixing it with Coke.   

Let me explain what hicimos una vaca means.

The expression is hacer una vaca and it means you and your friends pool money together to pay for something.  In this case it was a bottle of Ron de Caldas, but it could be for anything.

Ok, enough about partying.  It's time to explain the title of this post.

Cali es Cali, lo demás es loma 

First of all, loma means hill.  Geographically Cali sits in a Valley and is therefore pretty much flat.  So if we translate this literally it's something like

Cali es Cali, lo demás es loma 
Cali is Cali, the rest is hills

Not impressive right?  Let's translate this again with the real spirit of the expression.

Cali es Cali, lo demás es loma 
Cali is the best city in the world

I don't know about that, but I do know it's time for me to wrap this post up. 

I spent 8 days in Cali and really enjoyed it.  This post really doesn't do the town justice, but it should be enough to give you a glimpse of the city and a tiny slice of the culture in Cali. 

Have you been to Cali? What did you think of the city?  Leave a comment down below and share your opinions and experiences. 

¡Hasta la próxima!

1 comment:

  1. I loved Cali - It's definitely the best city in the world for Salsa, and the people are great!