Medellin Madness

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August 17th 2010
Published: August 17th 2010
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Hola amigos! So, I made it safely to Medellin on Friday afternoon after a loooong journey via bus from Otavalo. I barely made my night bus at the Colombian border because the crossing took entirely too long. It seemed that everyone in front of us didn´t have their papers in order and took ages. Thankfully, my bus was late to arrive to the station so I jumped on, sprung for the more comfy version and snoozed my way through southern Colombia. When I awoke on Friday morning, the bus came to a stop on the PanAm and for whatever reason the highway was shut down for 3 hours. Though annoying, I must admit it was nice to stretch my legs and sit in the sun midway through the 26 hr journey.

When I got to Medellin, my guide book map looked like the hostel was only about 2k away from the station, so I decided to hoof it over and stretch my legs again. Unfortunately, it would have been useful if the map was A) accurate or B) had street names. I wound up walking around for an hour with my heafty bag until I somehow stumbled upon it, about .2 km from where I was looking in the beginning. Ugh.

I met a nice girl from England at breakfast on Sat and we took the cable car up to the top of one of the mountains surrounding the city and explored a strange but nice park on the top. The terrain reminded me very much of a WI state park, but the hike was nice anyway. On the way back down we shared a car with some really nice Paisas (Medellinians) who gave us lots of tips on what to see and what to avoid. I decided to try out the infamous nightlife, at least according to all the guys in the hostel, and was painfully disappointed. It didn´t help that we met up with the English girl´s 5 friends and I was forced back into the large group of indecision. That is my biggest gripe about group travel and why I love being solo, but alas a solo nightlife experience would neither be wise no fun. Anyway, after an hr of waiting and searching, we finally found a decent bar, but had to leave to go to the local hookup club for the guys. Ugh. Felt like I was back in Ft. Myers in GCTC which is not my style. After dancing with a local guys I had met in the hostel, and him trying to make out with me on the dance floor (WHY Colombian boys, WHY??) I called it a quits and went home frustrated.

Sunday I had a pleasant day on my own, checking out a good art museum downtown with tons of Boltero statues and paintings. They also had this amazing display on Latin dance with steps on the floor to practice. It was very cool! Afterwards, I stumbled upon a fruit/veg market which was very exciting, then headed to Barefoot Park nearby. The park is a fantastic greenspace with bamboo trees and soft grass in the middle of the urban sprawl. Medellin has done a fantastic job re-vamping the city post-Escobar. There was a Capoiera club having a tournament at the park and I watched them for a while which was amazing! I have never seen it performed live before and it was a fabulous experience! Photos and video to be posted later. I got a card and the guy told me the studio is nearby so if I´m still in Med. Wednesday night I am going to check out a class.

I came back to the hostel that evening for a fabulous BBQ but the hostel owner...mmm BBQ steak, chicken and pork, potato salad, and tomato/basil salads were EXACTLY what I needed. Later that niht, I surprinsingly ran into Elena and Monica, 2 of the Arutam volunteers who are now staying here too. I was pretty excited to see them after my flop of a Saturday night and they brought along another Aussie they had met in Cali. We all went out to a different area, but sturck out again. It was raining that night so I think a lot of people stayed in. After trying a local bar and getting the Gringo special for 2 rum and cokes ($16 US, WHAT???) we found a pool bar and had te most pathetic game of pool ever, but it was fun. One of the guys spilled a tiny bit o beer on the table and they tried charging us to ´clean´the table. Um, you´re a bar, it happens, I don´t think so! From there on, we just came back and called it a night.

Today Monica and another guy from our hostel and I explored another area of the city for a bit. It was near one the the universities and I was a bit jealous of how nice it was! My hostel is in a good neghborhood, too, but far more tourists and rich Paisas around as opposed to this area which seemed very laid back. I think we are going to head down there tomorrow night, as today was a holiday so most places are closed. We then headed to Cerro Nutribara, a weird hill in he middle of town with a mock Antioquian city on the top. Essentially a tourist trap with a nice little park overlooking the city. We hung around a bit watching the locals fly kites- a surprisingly popular past time here. It was nice! Tonight I plan on having a mellow night as tomorrow I really want to head to a botanical garden with a good orchid exhibit and an interactive museum that has had rave reviews.

My flight is on Thursday, unfortunately, and I am not looking forward to coming back! I will fly to WI to visit the family and friends, then off to FL to start the cross-country roadtrip! I have been trying to sort my ´real world´stuff out this week, and not enjoying the thought of returning to it. I am already being denied short term insurance thanks to my shoulder surgery so I´m not sue what to do about that. I´ll be fine when school starts, but will have to figure it out in the mean time. Suggestions?? I will probably have to get checked again to make sure my amoeba friends are gone, and insurance is probably a good idea for that...

I suppose that´s enough for now, but I hope everyone is great and I will see most of you all too soon!! I´ll try not to go too crazy during my last days, and will hopefully get photos up soon, too.

Mucho amor! XOXOXO

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