Cali! Until Now

We’ve been in Cali since early December, enjoying the less hot weather and the amenities a big city has to offer (mostly restaurants and some shopping).

Adriana’s brother Dinar and his family – Jennifer, Samuel, and Daniel – paid a ‘surprise’ visit. They had been in Medellin and then came to Cali for a few days. As they always do, Wilmer and Islena put on a really great party that included a three-piece group, and that got everyone dancing. The aguadiente may have helped, too…

Many years ago, when I (Brian) came to Cali on an early visit, we visited the Alumbrado, a Christmas display of lights along the Rio Cali. (Link is to a Spanish newspaper article with photos.) We went again this year, and how the event has grown. It was packed, and we went on a Wednesday evening. I can’t imagine what the weekend was like.

This is a traffic light in downtown:

In addition, there were dozens, maybe hundreds of food vendors that I do not remember from the first time. All sell one of a few different offerings, none are remotely healthy, but it is an outdoor fair. As in Canada, you don’t expect healthy food at a fair: you’ll get hotdogs, popcorn and pop. In Cali, you’ll get lechona (stuffed pig) and pretty much any kind of fried meat.

There were also lots more lights, and music. We took few photos because there were so many people in the way.

This past Sunday, we drove up to Kilometre 18, meaning (I think) 18 km outside the city. It’s up in the mountains and several degrees cooler: 29C in the city, 22C at Km 18. There are great views of some very steep valleys on the way there.

We ate at Neblinas (the fog), so named because of the near-constant fog at that altitude. We ate in a chivas bus they had inside:

And because we ordered a ‘drink with experience,’ we got a presentation involving fire with the explanation that the pre-Columbian peoples created to mourn their own destruction by the conquistadors.

Some folks are curious why we’d consider leaving a ‘first world country’ like Canada for a developing country like Colombia. This is one reason: Victoria woman chooses Medical Assistance in Dying after waiting 10 weeks to see oncologist. Adriana did not have a family doctor and never will, at the rate things are going. The current provincial government has made every single major issue worse: cost of housing, availability of doctors, the opioid crisis, climate change….and they are the ‘progressive’ option! By contrast Colombia’s and Costa Rica’s health care is affordable and accessible.

Cartagena

We were fortunate to spend roughly two weeks in Cartagena at the start of the new year. Always a great stay, Cartagena has a huge beach (with no rip currents!) and lots of great restaurants in the old city. Here we all are at Niku, where the wine was ridiculously expensive. Sanji is under the table.

Natalia also completed her two-year Functional Nutritionist course, so if you have any questions about diet and lifestyle….. Here’s Adriana created a message of congratulations for her.

Miami – Royal Palm Beach

The sale of our house is supposed to close tomorrow, and we needed an English-speaking notary for some papers. The government of BC, in its very finite wisdom, eliminated the system where people could virtually sign in September. Bureaucrats gonna bureaucrat, I guess. We could not find an English-speaking notary in Colombia and we looked and asked many people. The least costly alternative in terms of money and Adriana taking time off work was to fly to Miami. Even so, it cost us over $1,000 for flights, trains, etc., never mind the climate impact.

On the plus side, Dinar, Jennifer, and their two boys live in Royal Palm Beach. Dinar picked us up at the airport and took us to the notary, then we spent the weekend with them. It turned what was going to be a chore into a really great trip. We really enjoyed seeing them, including Samuel and Daniel!

We went to the fair with everyone, and I ended up holding everyone’s drink at one point. 🙂

For those who didn’t hear, our house suffered a burst pipe in the recent cold snap that Victoria endured. The entire back room ended up flooded and all the flooring will need to be replaced, along with some drywall in the ceiling and walls. We really did not need that, and neither did the new owners who move in on January 30th. Not the house they expected to get. On the plus side, they get to choose new flooring. On the downside, it sure caused (and is still causing) everyone lots of stress, and it will cost us thousands of dollars to fix.

We are now back in Cali, the forms are notarized, and tomorrow is closing day, barring further disasters!

Manizales

We missed our trip to Manizales because we had to get the papers notarized, but Navide went. Natalia found it too small for her taste, but Gordanza like small cities so we hope to check it out next week. Manizales is where we’re considering as a base to retire to and spend ~6-9 months per year. The rest of the time would be Canada, Puerto Viejo, Cali, etc.

Manizales has a population of about 400,000, but looks like a really big city here:

That’s it for now! Not as much to post because Cali is not really part of the journey, and Manizales is a potential base to retire to, but not for the retreat!

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