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South America » Colombia » Medellin
December 27th 2011
Published: September 30th 2017
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Geo: 6.23593, -75.5751

Colombia is DANGEROUS - since that's what everybody says about the country, it must be true, right? Robberies, muggings, drug cartels, armed conflicts with FARC and paramilitary groups - there's no shortage of horrible fates that could befall a traveler while in this country. You could get killed! You could get kidnapped and held for ransom! Never mind that only political figures or rich businessmen are at risk for being kidnapped, it could happen to YOU!!!

I don't want to downplay anything - there are definitely risks associated with traveling in a country such as Colombia. There are regions and neighbourhoods that should be avoided, and it's wise to not carry too much cash with you, or wear any flashy jewelry, or hang a fancy camera around your neck. There's always a chance of something bad happening, true of any country you are in - I wouldn't say that Colombia is completely safe, but if you take a few precautions, the chances are that there won't be any issues.

The problem is that it takes only one moment to burn a terrible reputation into the World's memory, but years to erase that. Sure, there have been all kinds of violent
Why Was B Afraid to Go With The Man I Sent? ...Why Was B Afraid to Go With The Man I Sent? ...Why Was B Afraid to Go With The Man I Sent? ...

... He looks trustworthy, right???
incidents in Colombia's history, but in recent years, the government has done a great job of making its country safer for its residents and by extension, for its visitors. The cartels, FARC, and paramilitaries - they are still a huge problem, but at least the battle lines have been moved far away from places any traveler would visit.

Unfortunately, bad news sells - so you'll never hear anything good about Colombia in the news. Nothing about how it's a beautiful and diverse country with terrain ranging from lush green mountains, to beaches with sand as soft as baby powder. Nor anything about its incredibly friendly people, and how there's a certain love of life prevalent everywhere that makes it an unbelievably welcoming country to any traveler. It's a shame for Colombia but at the same time, a boon for any travelers that make their way here - as long as Colombia is perceived as being a dangerous country, it remains a country that has yet to be overrun with foreign tourists. making for the most pleasant of travel experiences. So please, continue to stay away, so that the rest of us can continue to enjoy this amazing country, free of
Early-Morning Pick-Me-Up at the Airport ...Early-Morning Pick-Me-Up at the Airport ...Early-Morning Pick-Me-Up at the Airport ...

... needing some caffeine and sustenance, I was surprised how yummy this simple little breakfast was - beyond the great cafe con leche, this almojabana was off the charts. A spongy cheese dough made from yucca flour and deep fried, it had a delightful soft and spongy feel to it. Though it did make me laugh, as it reminded me of all the plastic surgery in Medellin - the almojabana was a bit squishy like a certain type of implant ...
big tour groups and cruise ships!

Still, most are hesitant to come to this country and as such, B didn't want to arrive in Colombia unaccompanied. So, being the dutiful boyfriend that I am, I sent someone to pick her up from the Medellin airport, somebody trustworthy, somebody that would immediately convey a sense of safety to her - but for some strange reason, she refused to go with this man, so I was stuck waking up before 7 AM to make the long trek out to the airport.

Having seen most of Medellin already, there wasn't much scheduled for today - lunch in El Poblado, followed by a visit up Medellin's newer cable car system, essentially an extension of the Metro up into the slums perched high atop the city's hills. It was very interesting to see the effect of something as simple as accessible transit for residents of the slums - for a long time, people residents were largely isolated from the rest of the city, with commutes of up to 2.5 hours to their jobs in the wealthier parts of the city below.

The Metro Cable provides them a far more efficient means to descend from the slums and access basic services, and also affords more opportunities to earn a better living. Accessible public transportation is something we take for granted in North America, and it was quite surprising to see the positive impacts, as a new stream of money entering the slums results in improved living conditions, and reduced levels of poverty.

It was interesting to hear the story of a fellow traveler who was staying at the same hostel - him and a few others had gone up the cable car on Christmas Eve, to find vibrant neighbourhoods with people partying in the streets. Some locals were so excited to see outsiders enjoying Christmas Eve in Santo Domingo, that they invited them in for drinks. After a night of revelry, they even extended an invitation for them to return for Christmas dinner! It's hard to imagine something like this taking place before the installation of the Metro Cable in 2006 - I mean, who would want to go up into that area any way? Colombia is supposed to be so dangerous, after all ...


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Breakfast #2 at the Hostel ...Breakfast #2 at the Hostel ...
Breakfast #2 at the Hostel ...

... a change up today - slice of pineapple with a good turnover, and what appeared to be a cinnamon roll but without any cinnamon or raisins, tasting like no more than dense bread twisted in a fancy fashion.
Colombian Set Lunch...Colombian Set Lunch...
Colombian Set Lunch...

... delicious plantain soup. Colombians of this region have a knack for producing simple, hearty, and tasty soups. The included drinks - blackberry juice, which tastes nothing like the kinds we get back home (that's meant as a compliment), and an avena drink. Made of oats, it's a bit like soy milk - surprisingly delicious and refreshing.
The Main Dish ...The Main Dish ...
The Main Dish ...

... simple salad and rice, along with beef in some type of gravy. The beef has been pretty tough here so far in Colombia, but it always seems to have great flavour. The star of the dish was actually the mashed potatoes, very tasty.
Heading Up the Metro Cable ...Heading Up the Metro Cable ...
Heading Up the Metro Cable ...

... to the sleek and modern library at Santo Domingo.
Super Deal at Thaico ...Super Deal at Thaico ...
Super Deal at Thaico ...

... happy hour goes from 12 until 7 PM, cocktails are 3 for 1! The catch is that all three drinks need to be delivered at the same time, and must be the exact same drink. Too bad these were disgusting - though they had a wonderful passion fruit scent, there must have been about three shots of tequila in each one of these margaritas. It burns!!!
Beef Medallions, Thaico Style ...Beef Medallions, Thaico Style ...
Beef Medallions, Thaico Style ...

... tasty steak and a nice assortment of veggies, but the faux Thai sauce wasn't the best. Of course, we didn't expect much for Thai food in Colombia, especially when entrees are 50% off during happy hour.
Curry Chicken ...Curry Chicken ...
Curry Chicken ...

... the review is more or less the same as that of the beef medallions, but I'd say this was slightly better. Though there was no hint of the coconut milk described in the menu, it did have a decent curry flavour and also a good kick to the dish.
Dessert ...Dessert ...
Dessert ...

... making a mistake with the menu, I ordered what I thought was s giant piece of chocolate cake, only to be served a giant cookie. Good stuff, crispy exterior but soft and chewy interior, it was served warm. Mochaccino was pretty good, but the almond cappuccino was a bit off - the almond flavour was too strong, and we suspected that almond liqueur was used instead of almond extract.
Alumbrado Navideno ...Alumbrado Navideno ...
Alumbrado Navideno ...

... famous around Colombia, it's a competition where cities deck out their rivers in festive light displays. Medellin's display typically wins, not surprising since their display seemingly runs forever along the river. We were surprised at what a big deal it is - it was a lot like the Calgary Stampede, with food and beverage vendors stretched all along the banks of the river, and was completely packed with people. Great carnival atmosphere, but sans the rides.


Tot: 2.458s; Tpl: 0.102s; cc: 12; qc: 28; dbt: 0.0338s; 2; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 1; ; mem: 1.3mb