Yesterday, I had a full last day in Cali. I woke up at 6:30 and started the hike up the hill of 3 crosses. Its highly recommend to start early when all the locals are going before work and when its cooler. Otherwise there could be thieves. Jorge, the man I'd met my first day in Cali, insisted on meeting me in the park near his house to walk me to the start of the trail so I wouldn't get lost. He has really made my time in Cali feel safer. Then he asked a local woman hiker to show me the rest of the way up. She went too fast for me, or rather, I hadn't drunk any water and was feeling dehdrated so had to rest and drink a bunch before continuing slower up on my own, but making sure to stay close behind another pack of people. It was a steep 1 hour climb up. How they got the towering 3 crosses up there a century ago is pretty amazing. When I reached the top, I saw the woman from the start of the trip and, even though she spoke no english, we were able to carry on a basic converstation about travel, family, life in colombia, etc all the way down. The way down only took 35 minutes.
After the hike, I went to the modern art museum. It was very well maintained and a nice community outlet for culture, offering cinema and live music on weekends. Then I was starving, but it was in between breakfast and lunch, so I walked back to my hostel (all in all 3 hours of walking). Awesome you can walk right up the mountain from town, rested then went out again for a delicious vegetarian meal near my hostel. I did a few hours of design work and relaxed the rest of the day.
Today, I again woke up at 6:30 and made my way from Cali to Salento with taxis and autobuses in about 4.5 hours. Sadly, I left my back pillow in the last autobus leg of the trip. Why do I always do that? Its the 3rd time I've left it behind on a trip and I really needed it this time! Oh well, if thats the worst that happens, thats not too bad - I can roll up a towel or a jacket to put behind my lower back the rest of the time and I'll just have to buy another one and clip it to my pants so I won't forget it form now on!. I think the hiking helped my back as it does feel better today.
There is a 5 hour hike I could opt to go on some day in Salento that's fairly moderate. We'll see. It rains a lot here, so the hostel conveniently rents rubber boots, but if its pouring, I don't think I'll want to go, since half the fun is getting to see something.
The hostel I'm staying at is immaculate, minnimilist and right around the corner from the Plaza. Its dutch run. I have my own room for $22/night. Its worth it for my work since I have my own desk, quiet and space. Its slightly quieter here than the other two places I've stayed in Colombia so far, but since its still on the streets, I do have to continue wearing earplugs like all the other places. Latin america is quiet. Even here in a town of only 7000 people, you can hear babies crying, kids on skateboards, icecream truck tunes, marching bands, people calling out selling things, horns beeping etc. The rain is very peaceful though and the hostal itself is quiet and I can feel myself relaxing here, out of the city.