3 hours outside of Cali, this weekend I got dropped off on the side of a highway to find a village called San Cipriano. I heard stories from a couple smoothie ladies and my close friend in Cali, and so that was enough for me. There were no signs for the village, but I eventually found this little gem with some help from the locals on the side of the highway. lol.
Fact: Colombia has a high degree of diversity as a result of the European colonization, and the diversity of slaves that decided to stay and live in Colombia after it gained its independence. In the case of San Cipriano, its community is comprised 100% of about 500 people of African decent. “One of these things is not like the others….” lol #grovertimes. In any case, when I reached the bottom of a valley off of the highway, I got to a train track filled with carts that are pushed along by motorcycles. This was half the fun! ;P The only way to reach San Cipriano is by a hybrid trainbike called a “brujita” which apparently is Spanish for “little witch”. The cart has a track wheelset, while the front tire of the bike is affixed on top of one side of the cart. The back tire rests on the track and that’s how the magic happens. This baby reaches 40km/hour at least, and there are no guardrails or seatbelts. It was easily the most unique way that I’ve travelled so far in my life. The only downside on the trip was when we had to lift the carts off the track in order to let people go through from the opposite direction. Unfortunately, there is still only one train track. 🙂
Once in the village, some people I met on the brujita showed me to the river and told me where I could find some vegetarian food. For two days I ate rice, eggs, and tostada (this kind of fried banana), and that was totally fine with me. The community itself is not flourishing by any means. The only business it seems comes from visitors from nearby cities looking for a getaway. Once it got dark, most people headed back to the river to drink and swim and so that’s what I and my two new friends did. There was a dance hall set up, but it was quite abandoned as a result of the river party.
For the night, I stayed in a hostel with no private roof above its rooms. With the cooler weather though, I slept like a log despite many babies and kids yelling and running around. The next day I went to this sort of watering hole up the river, and then to a private little waterfall down a path from the main road. After some reflections on life’s decisions, I went back to the hostel to eat and catch the next brujita to head back to Cali. As I was leaving, one of the little kids held on to two of my fingers with both of his hands to try and get me to stay. It filled my heart for a moment, and with all the changes and new experiences happening in my life, I remembered then how important it is to remember who I am as a person.
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