15 November 2009

Little witches in Colombia


While I was in Cali (Colombia) I went to San Cipriano for a couple of days. It's a sleepy village deep in the forest where the majority (if not all) of the inhabitants are of African descent.


[Below] It's a 2-3 hour bus journey from Cali. After getting off the bus you walk down the hill to the railways tracks where you can take a brujita (which literally translates to "little witch") to the town of San Cipriano. The ride should cost between 2,000-3,000 Colombian pesos (US$1-1.50) maximum. Be aware that there will be men waiting for naive foreigners to arrive on the bus from Cali so they can trick them to pay 8,000-10,000 COP.


[Below] A brujita is more or less a motorbike running on the railway track. Only the back wheel makes contact with the track while the rest of the bike and all the passengers - and their belongings - are placed on the wooden platform to which it is attached. That one wheel is securely attached to the rail with bearings but, as there is only one track, if there is another brujita coming the other way, one of the two needs to unload all passengers and most of the cargo to remove the motorbike-platform contraption off the rails permitting the other brujita to pass. Of course some arguments ensue over who should be the one to unload and give way.


[Below] Kids of San Cipriano






[Below] This was the first time I used my mosquito net in South America. I didn't really need to use it but I had it with me and I didn't want to have a restless night's sleep with the high-pitched frequency of the occasional mosquitoes buzzing immediately in my ear.


[Below] An intense stare, from across the table at breakfast.


[Below] The beautiful, crystalline waters of the lake. I was there with two friends and together we were the only foreigners in the town. Unfortunately this meant we didn't learn about a wonderful activity that is on offer in San Cipriano - visitors hire the enormous, rubber-tubing of truck tires, walk 30 minutes up-river and float down the river rapids on the tire, watching the beautiful, green forest pass by in a blur.


[Below] "Mummy, mummy... Look at the gringoes!"


[Below] Simple housing



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