Although it’s just another big city in Colombia, Cali has been an absolute delight from the moment I arrived. It hasn’t been cheap, but once in a while on a trip like this it’s nice to treat yourself to a little glamor.
The money trail starts at Eurocasco with the owner named Ashley. Ashley rides a Tenere just like Andy and Charlie so he instantly took affection to them when they met at the hostel. Ashley owns a high-end motorcycle gear shop just a block from our hostel and he spends a lot of time marketing himself here at Casa Blanca. It’s a good idea; he carries brands that we haven’t seen since California such as Arai and Shoei. Charlie was interested in a real helmet (since his Hornet was stolen in Mexico) so we strolled over to see what Eurocasco had to offer. Long story short, Charlie walked out empty handed and I $300 lighter. As soon as I walked in I was drawn to a pair of touring boots displayed on the wall. They were my size of course. I tried on the TCX Infinity boot and finally understood the hype behind motorcycle specific footwear. They have reinforcement against all major rubbing points (gear shift, brake, engine case) as well as very strong protection around the ankle and up to the calve. All black, mostly leather, with a ratcheting strap system that locks my foot comfortably in the heelbox. I wasn’t excited to spend the money, but after watching Alex hobble around for two weeks in Barranquilla it was a simple decision. I’m worried about my work boots, though. I don’t have much room, but I’ll find a way to hold onto them for another few hundred miles and see how it goes. They are $160 boots themselves and have never let me down. Shipping them home is out of the question; it would probably cost their worth. We’ll see, they could come in handy in the upcoming mountainous sections.
Thursday I also had my valves checked by Casa Blanca’s mechanic. It was a cheap $25 job and he says I’m good to go for another 16,000 miles. While that was going on I went to the Suzuki dealership just four blocks away and ordered some more spark plugs and a clutch cable. They don’t have a throttle cable, but at this point it seems that I’m just not meant to carry one so I’ll stop worrying. I decided to gear up here because the next three countries are known to be very poor. Neither Ecuador, Peru, nor Bolivia will have much in the way of real motorcycle parts even in their biggest cities. Better to spend it now than have it shipped in later (I’ve learned that by now).
By evening Alex and Kristi had arrived in Cali and were in our hostel ready to have some fun. We all got a little dressed up (deodorant actually came out) and hopped in a cab for a local English pub. Walking in the first thing I spotted was the tap. I’ve been drinking out of cans and bottles four months straight now without one draft beer in between. I felt like pulling a Homer Simpson and leaning my face right under the tap and letting it flow. Instead I held back and ordered a pint of their dark ale. That went down real smooth. So did the blonde right after it. And then the dark again. There was a burger in there somewhere. By 9:30pm I was starting to look like a liability so I toned it down a bit and started nursing a Budweiser. That’s when I started chatting with Jeniffer.
Ever since we left the coast these Colombian women have gotten a lot more breathtaking. The rumors are true: they are hot. Maybe it’s that these are the first girls in the last 5,000 miles that seem to give a shit how they look. Maybe it’s that Colombia is the world capital for plastic surgeries per capita. In truth I think it’s that they are built like real women and proud to show it off. Very curvy, lots of long black hair, and they even smell nice. All of us are developing a severe case of swivelneck.
Jeniffer is Colombian and she fits the build. I was enchanted listening to her experiences for a couple hours as I sipped my Bud. At the same time Charlie was smiling at another Colombian named Liliana two bar stools down. The prospect of going to Ecuador was looking a lot dimmer. By the end of the night we asked the girls what their plans were for the weekend… work. Reality set in and it turns out that the women around here actually have responsibilities such as supporting their sisters’ children and studying ethics homework for flight attendant classes. It was crushing, but what is there to do? You can’t have it all. We’re on permanent vacation interrupting the busy lives of young up and coming Colombians. We’ll be gone in 36 hours anyway; I guess this one will remain a mystery. I got Jeniffer’s number and might get a late lunch with her today if she has time. I’ll take what I can get. Next time, Colombia might be a trip of its own.