« Cali, Colombia | Main | Bogota, Colombia »

February 13, 2005

Pereira, Colombia (no ligres..)

so i´m sitting in an internet cafe, about to catch a bus back to the bus station. kristy forgot her passport under the bed in the house we stayed at last night in marsalles, so aaron went back for it and kristy stayed at the airport, feeling sick. since i had about 2 hours to kill, and because the guidebook mentioned something totally weird, i caught a bus and then a taxi to the zoo. now, normally, i would never patronize a zoo, especially not in a third world country, because the cages would be small and there would be concrete everywhere instead of grass and trees. however, rumor had it that the zoo here, which was located right next to the airport, and an actual living breathing liger, that´s right, half lion, half tiger (they spell it ligre in spanish) so i wandered around the zoo, looking at all the depressed animals in their small and dirty cages, being harrassed by colombians who ignored all the signs and both fed the animals junk food and also took the time to throw rocks at them. finally i found the liger cage, and guess what? no fucking liger. i was bummed, and some security guard told me that the liger was at the vet or something, because in it´s old age it has developed problems with it´s foot and claws, and most likely won´t be returning to the zoo to be gawked at by colombians anymore. i felt dirty for giving money to the zoo, and quickly left.
last night we had a really good time, having left Cali for the small town i mentioned earlier, marsalles. when we hopped off the bus at the main plaza, there were people everywhere in the street, because it was saturday night and everyone was in town for market day. it took us three tries to find a hotel that was open, finally ending up at this excellent old colombian lady who showed us the barren rooms. quickly we dumped out packs and headed out on the town. aaron managed to track down an excellent beans and rice dinner for a dollar and fifty cents, and we sat eating and drinking beer, watching all the life in the plaza. the waiter advised us to go first to estadero la bomba for drinks, and then to the biggest discoteca in town. we went and sat drinking beer, marvelling at how much better the ambiente was in this little town of 9,00 then it had been in all of Cali. then we went to a second story discoteque, and watched in awe as even the young teenagers danced the salsa, the merengue, and many other dances like professionals, while aaron and i refused to go out on the dance floor, for fear of showing how white we are and how stiff our poor hips move, like wooden boards. finally we made our way to the big discoteca, which was about half full of teenagers and 20 somethings when we arrived. immediately some guy grabbed us and started feeding us shots of aguardiente and anis, an potent mix. he had lived in canada, and was excited to speak english and tell us about this little town. people kept giving us startled looks, i think it was the first time they had seen foreigners in their town. soon we were on the dance floor, and the dj, who sang along to every song he played, doing a pretty good falsetto for the female vocalists, was giving us shout outs, yelling ¨bienvenidos a Marsalles, welcome welcome welcome to Marsalles!¨ it was pretty excellent. when the bar finally closed down i went with the dj and some of his friends and sat on a porch somewhere, and we hung out talking and continuing to drink the cane liquor and anis mix until at least 4 am. the kids were very excited to teach me every possible curse word you could think of in colombian spanish, and i filled them in on some mexican as well as english slang. i fell asleep on the floor of the dj´s house, and woke up at 7 am, very dehydrated. i made my way back to the hotel, and feel back asleep on the bed, which featured possibly the most lumpy and uncomfortable pillow known to man. this morning we checked out the jardin ecologico, which had some really cool examples of simple machines, and well as a collection of slingshots that the local boys had traded in for free tickets, a strategy that helped lessen the killing of local birds.
we all seem to agree that the small towns are where it´s at, the people are very friendly and not jaded by tourism. tonight we go to a town called salerno i think, it has a valley near it filled with the tallest palm trees in the world. after that it´s an overnight bus to bogota, which promised to have tons of vegetarian restaurants, good museums, and other travelers to meet. i´m excited.

Posted by bendan at February 13, 2005 02:43 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Post a comment

Remember Me?