There's one aspect of air travel that I've always found a bit jarring, and it is this: how is it possible to get on a plane, sleep for a couple of hours (I fall asleep almost instantly in moving vehicles), and wake up in a different time zone, climate, country, language, with no apparent trauma to your brain or body? Isn't is just a little bit off? Shouldn't something happen? I guess I feel like you should have to earn it, and perhaps that our bodies should need time to adjust gradually, not just in the sense of jet-lag, but in the same way that your body has to adjust to higher altitudes. I feel like it's kind of like skipping chapters in history books; you end up confused as to how you got there, and a bit at a loss.
Going to Popayán was the opposite of this. It's only a 2-hours drive from Cali, but it feels worlds away, or more accurately, countries away. If I didn't know where I was I could have sworn I was in Peru. The all-white architecture is preserved from Spanish colonial times, and the people are generally shorter and darker with indigenous features. There was a llama just chilling in the center square. And I haven't seen skies like that since Cuzco.
Popayán has its own version of the tamal, called tamales de pipian, which are much smaller than valluno or bogotano tamales, and are made without meat (I'd like to say they are vegetarian but I'm not sure they don't use some kind of meat stock in the preparation). Along with the corn masa, they are filled with a peanut and potato mixture, and served with a peanut ají (sauce). We had them with cafe con leche as an afternoon snack, along with a peanut cookie, a weird donut-powdered sugar thing that I liked more than Felipe did, and, um, a small piece of head cheese, which definitely tastes a lot more like some kind of animal's head than it does like cheese.
We left before sunset, as the road in between Cali and Popayán-- closer to Popayán than Cali-- has a history of guerrilla activity. Yep, still in Colombia-- as much as I wish that association-- and reality-- didn't exist.