I am now in Medellin and loving it. It is one of those places which came me an immediate and overwhelming feeling of I AM HERE. There are a few places in the world which have had that effect on me. I get it everytime I go to Melbourne and sometimes on rainy days in Adelaide. I felt it when I was in Trinidad, Cuba; Cuenca, Ecuador; Laos in general; Cusco, Peru; Cafayate, Argentina and now here in Medellin. It is so different from Bogota. Much more of a chilled out costal town with much less snobbery and more people hanging out and enjoying each others company in the streets. Salsa music sounds from every car, shop and restaurant. The people are a mix of everything but there a lot more dark skinned people than in Bogota. And the weather!! Oh finally I have found some sun! Today I even put on sun block!!
Medellin is of course famous for the rein of drug lord Pablo Escobar but since his death in 1993 his drug cartel empire has been slowly broken down and today Medellin is one of the safest cities in South America increasingly shaking off its reputation for drug trading. Although it is now a relatively safe place there is still a feeling from the people that safety is never taken for granted. More than one person has told me how they feel tired of the constant conflict in Colombia which is something I never heard in Bogota. But I suppose people my age in Medellin grew up under the rule of a drug cartel where blood baths in city streets were not uncommon events. Growing up in that it is understandable and perhaps crucial that safety is not just seen as a part of life as it is in places which have been lucky enough not to be exposed to it.
I am staying with the mother and sister and gorgeous dog of a friend of mine from Buenos Aires. They are both very chilled out and it is nice not to be treated as a princess for a while. I have found that less attention means more freedom. Although I was showered with attention in Bogota I also found it impossible to go out alone or without a lot of bother in explaining where I was going and when I would be back. Here I feel more like I can come and go as I please. Plus I love Greta the dog! She squeezes herself under my bed when I am on top and hangs out there. When she finds something better to do she squeezes out. Seems like a lot of effort for such a big dog but she seems happy with life!
One of my very favourite artists is Colombian Fernando Botero he is famous for painting out of proportionally fat portraits of humans and animals. I dont know what it is about his work but I feel like a really get his sense of humour and find his stuff incredibly funny!! Anyway, as well as painting, he has completed a series of statues in the centre of Medellin. I LOVE them!! I think everyone thought I was crazy when I was visiting them but I just find them hilarious! Anyway I took lots of photos so you can have a look and see if you find them as funny as me!
In my last days in Bogota I went on a rock climbing trip with my rock climbing teacher and her boyfriend to Suesca. We stayed in a cottage with no bed and a cement floor. It would have been fine if it had not rained all night and right over my sleeping bag!! It was freezing!! And then it rained all the next day so in the end we couldnt even climb! I was almost in tears on the way back to Bogota!! But maybe it will work out better when I get back to Bogota.
Me in Suesca pretending it is not raining!
The next few days I am going to stay in Medellin. Take some salsa classes and get to know the city a little. Then I am planning on heading up to Cartagena on the Carribean coast! Yay sea!! It has been way too long! Although they tell me that the sea is a little dirty in Cartagena! Bugger. Will have to see!
Ok have to run! I am cooking dinner tonight and I think it is burning! xoxo
posted Sunday November 2008