Nato and I arrived in Cali early on Friday morning and checked into a hostel. Cali is a medium sized city in the south of Columbia that is supposedly famed for being the plastic surgery capital of South America.
We checked out the zoo, which was quite good, as it had condors close up. We had seen these huge birds on our treks but you dont quite appreceiate you huge they are until you see them up close. It was a bit sad that they were in a 9 by 9 metre cage, because they have a wingspan of about 3m and are probably over a metre tall. We also walked around town and checked it all out, but the main appeal of Cali was the nightlife.
On Friday and Saturday we went out with people from our hostel to various clubs and pubs. On Saturday we ended up in an amazing discotech on the top of a hill which was pretty massive. We also went to a large 3 story club which was good fun.
On the sunday night I headed out with a few people from the hostel to a salsa club. It was a different experience, but the girl we were with knew salsa so gave me some lessons. It was a lot easier than the tango and I might even try and lock in some lessons. Something a bit different I suppose!
From there, we headed to a town called Manizales where we met up with James and Emma. The next day we did a trip where you supposedly climb a 5000m mountain. The last 200 metres were definitely the hardest as it was only here that we got out the bus! It was tourism at its worst with a group of people getting driven up a mountain to 4800m and walking the last little bit. To be fair, it was at altitude and snowing quite hard (although Nato still wore shorts) but was still pretty cringeworthy. We at least had a good snowball fight on the way down.
The next day Nato and I went out to a coffee plantation which Emma and James had come through on their way to Manizales. We got a guided tour on how beans are grown, roasted to get certain aeromas etc and got a tour of the coffee plants and the machinery where they harvest etc. Of course, we drank lots of expressos as well.
We decided to stay the night out there, as it was a nice big house with a pool in teh middle of nowhere. We were the only people there, and the staff lived off site, so that night we had a huge house to ourselves which was a bit surreal after months sleeping in 10 person dorms, but nice none the less.
The next morning we got a lift back to Manizales and boarded the bus to Medellin.
It was during this time that we decided to flag central america and the boat to Panama as it was going to be a lot of money for a short time in central. We decided we would head up to the beach for a bit and then hang around in Bogota for a while also.