Saturday 31 March
I’ve got chipwood in my mouth as I wake to the dulcet tones of Mancunian accents, as the hostel buddies from last night are preparing to leave. For a few minutes I contemplate staying in Cali to simply recover from my nocturnal escapades, then it dawns on me that I would be staying in Cali. I need little persuading from Paddy McShamus to get up, and we parade around the hostel still half cut until we muster the strength to bolt for the Popayan bus. The need to leave Cali behind out ways the need to cure the hangover.
The five hours to Popyan pass without significant incident, perhaps because I’m asleep for most of it, and we’re pleased to have left the disappointment of the city behind. The tedium is broken by locals forcing foodstuff into our hands, then attempting a sales pitch at the front of the bus. If you don’t want to buy the goods, you simply hand them back. A packet of crisps is fired through the window. Just what I needed. Very soon we have swapped dusty humidity for the cool, calm, colonial splendour of Popayan. The beautiful white washed walls of the town seek to rid the mind of the hustle and bustle of Cali, Manizales and Medellin. It feels like I’m going on holiday from traveling, and whatever the weight was on my shoulders has lifted.
Arriving at the Hostel-trail we discover our smart clean dorm room has been taken over by what appears to be a couple of girls. This bodes well for the evening. We indulge in a little dodgy detective work, acknowledging the female toiletries, clothes and literature in English. Colombian author Gabriel Marquez’s seminal work 100 years of Solitude adorns a bed. One of the few classics I’ve managed to read, an astounding novel, and one that hopefully will give me some common ground with the surely smoking hot girl to whom it belongs. The need to eat prevents us from checking bra sizes and trying on underwear.
Popayanis a city of culinary (that was a joke) excellence, with plenty of eateries and restaurants to choose from, serving delicious fare from around the world. We opt for a French café that serves wonderful food, much needed in light of all the rice and beans.Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the place, which makes me a pretty crap travel writer. If you plan to visit, it’s up by the church at the top of the hill where the beautiful Colombian wedding was happening. Perfect directions.
Upon returning to our digs, we congratulate ourselves on the fine investigation we undertook earlier. Two very attractive girls, one from Philadelphia and the other from some totally unknown and unusual Caribbean island, have graced us with their presence. We hit it off with Dani and Tess right from the off, and it in spite of them just out the shower and wearing pajamas, it doesn’t take much persuading for them to come out for a few drinks. They arrived last night and armed with some local knowledge they lead us to a classy salsa bar called Iguana’s.
I’m already having an infinitely better night than Friday, partly due to the salsa establishment being more vintage and less sleaze, with an incredible music selection on vinyl. Partly also due to Popayan not being shit. Predominately however it is due to the beautiful and intoxicating Dani who has caught my attention. She’s fun, bubbly and an interesting conversationalist, where there is never an awkward silence or rolling of eyes. Somehow a couple of drinks turns into three bottles of rum and some serious salsa, while Paddy has a game of tick-tack-toe on a local girls arm with a ball point pen. Eventually taking a break outside with Danni I make my move, and get a mouthful of fresh air. Apparently she ‘never kisses.’ I then get my usual head on and shuffle off back to the hostel alone.
Never log in to facebook at 5am in the morning after a night on the lash following a rejection. You’ll only end up making a total plank of yourself.Read More