02.04.2011 - 09.04.2011 25 °C
Within my first hour on the streets of Cali I’d seen a homeless woman unceremoniously scrubbing herself down with water from the fountain in the main square, a stunning young woman in a sparkly mini skirt shimmying her way in to the Sunday service, three bright yellow birds aggresively trying to kill each other in the park, and I’d made friends with an old chap in a coffee shop who’d been to Brighton for a conference on Esperanto.
15-20 years ago Cali was one of the most dangerous places in the World – largely run by organised crime it was more famous for its homicide rate than for anything that would interest a tourist. These days the main areas are safe enough for tourists providing you’re careful, although the first thing that hit me was evidence of poverty. The only other tourists I saw all week were in my hostel, and central Cali had an ‘atmosphere’ – it took me a while to get up the courage to discretely take out my camera.
I wanted to continue Spanish classes so most of the week was spent safely in the hostel garden sipping coffee and talking left wing politics in Spanish with a Colombian social science student (my teacher).
I love the combination here of old and new
The old theatre
Government building. Complete with paint splashes from the popular protest the day before - there was a demonstration against new government proposals to bring elements of a capitalist market system in to Higher Education due to funding crisis (sounds strangely familiar..)
Fresh from the protest
Old boys in the park (not the best quality - I've zoomed in on a picture of the main square)