October 18, 2009

Weekend Recap

LOVED this weekend!! :) I don't have many pictures to document it, so you will just have to see it through my words... (MORE pictures to follow when I get them from others!)

Friday I spent some time relaxing around the apartment, watched the newest Grey's Anatomy with Maggie, and went to bed early in preparation for kayaking on Saturday! Saturday morning I went with 6 other teachers from school on a kayaking day trip down the Rio Cauca. The river starts about 2 hours from Cali, from large lake that is even bigger than Lago Calima. After waking up at 5:30, we started our trip at 6. The guide on our trip does kayaking and biking trips around Cali in order to promote ecotourism. Ecotourism is a fairly new idea for Colombia, because travelers are just beginning to feel safe coming here, but it is a great way for people to see this gorgeous country!

So we start our day with Julian and breakfast of fruit kabobs and french toast (included in our $60 a person fee for the day). He drives us in the van to the lake where the river starts, where we are able to see the lake, the dam, and the waterfall at the beginning. I loved seeing the freshwater source and I thought it was really interesting to see the source of the river we were going to be on. We got out at the top to check out the waterfull and some people swam in the pools of water under the bridge.

Then Julian took us to our launch point, where he gave us a 20 minute lesson or so on kayaking. He showed us how to paddle and how to get back in the kayak if we tipped it over. The whole time I was thinking to myself, "I'm not going to tip over, this is silly." After the lesson we geared up with helmets and life vests (with handy pouches in the front for storing snacks!) and I made a last minute decision to leave my camera in the van. Julian offered us dry bags that were 100% impenetrable to water but I didn't want to risk it. Also, part of our fees include a CD with all the pictures that Julian took with his camera along the way.

Waterfall at the start of the river.
Lake where the river starts.
The van! And kayaks!
Dam at the lake...notive that the water isn't even close to getting up to the dam because Cali has had approximately NO RAIN for months and months.
Back of the t-shirt we got after the trip...shows all the outdoor, adventure type things in Colombia!

Kelsi and I decided to kayak together because then we would have someone to talk to the whole time. We get into the kayak and head down the river. Overall the river was fairly tame with only some minor rapids along the way. We navigated through the first two sets of small rapids when we found ourselves too close to the right bank of the river. A tree was sticking out from the side....and of course we hit it....and of course we flipped over. Ten minutes into a 3 and half hour trip and we're in the water. :) Good thing I spent the money on those waterproof Keens this summer. :) We did get right back in our kayak and continued on our way. We were quite proud of ourselves for being able to get in again. The last threes hour were fairly uneventful...even if we did beach ourselves in the middle of the river once. Whoops! Overall it was a great way to get out of the city for the day! I loved kayaking through the foothills and seeing all the plants and animals (lots of cows!) along the way. It totally reminded me of a family trip to Colorado when we went rafting down a river.

After a very lengthly afternoon power nap, I headed up to my friend Surella's house for a party. She is the 8th grade french teacher, and she lives in Cali with her husband and daughter. By about 11 pm (that's how it goes in Colombia) the party was totally full of people-some neighbors, some teachers from school, and a lot of her husband's rugby team. :) Main conclusions from the party:
  1. Kelsi & I need to learn to salsa. Immediately.
  2. I could not have a bigger crush on the guy in charge of transportation at school. He is adorable and hilarious. (And newly married. It's a harsh world out there.)
  3. Colombians dancing to YMCA = hilarious.
After dragging myself home at 4:30 am today has been slightly less than absolutely productive. Probably because I woke up at 11:30 am. However, I am done with this week's lesson plans! :) Hooray!


Chum said...

I can't wait to do this trip when I come to visit.

Bethany said...

I love kayaking- and what a gorgeous place to go!

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