Urban Sprawlsaland

November 9, 2007
Day 772

I checked out the downtown area of Cali today. There was smelly garbage everywhere, and the constant rain only served to spread the smell faster rather than wash it away. Traffic was so bad I couldn't walk across any street without risking my life. Roundabouts are a nice concept for cars because they keep traffic flowing smoothly, but when you're a pedestrian and have to cross three lanes of heavy traffic five times just to get to the other side, they can be hell. And sure, the people in the city were nice, but they were everywhere, with vendors spilling into the streets and people struggling to squeeze by them without getting hit by cars. Just walking around Cali was a constant battle, one of the worst examples of urban sprawl I had seen in South America.

Luckily, early in the evening Urzuz, Rambo, and Claudia rode on their motorcycles to meet me in the city center. They brought with them an Israeli girl named Aiana, who just arrived in Cali today to stay at Urzuz's "hostel." We walked around an area with lots of salsa clubs and eventually settled on one. Seeing people dancing salsa everywhere, including in the middle of the street, made this a memorable evening. Cali may be an ugly and dirty place, but the Caleños sure know how to have fun.

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