Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Medellin

Colombia has really exceeded my expectations. And that was after I read in the guidebook that Colombia would exceed expectations. Tourists are just starting to discover Colombia. You don't see many Tourists here. There is not much English spoken nor is there much signage in English. Colombia is becoming a new destination for tourists as it has been shedding it's violent image over the last 10 years. The government has made big strides to improve safety and beat back (or at least push into the background) the drug cartels and guerrilla groups. Kelvin, a New Zealander who opened a hostel in Medellin three years ago said that he's had over 10,000 guests and only two robberies.

Medellin is a long, narrow city sandwiched between two steep mountain ranges. Because of the altitude (about 4,900 feet), the weather is very spring-like. It gets down to about 60 degrees at night, which, being at sea level for several months, is really cold for me. The airport is about 30 kilometers from town. The scenery on the way in from the airport was gorgeous as well.

Medellin is the home of artist Fernando Botero. He is an internationally famous artist who does paintings and sculptures of obese people and objects. I saw several of his sculptures a few years ago in Venice. His work adorns the Plaza Botero in downtown Medellin. One of his sculptures in the Parque San Antonio was destroyed by a guerilla bomb in 1995. The damaged sculpture remains in the park as a reminder. A new sculpture was placed beside it. It'
s hard to imagine the level of violence that existed here just a decade ago.



I went to a party on the outskirts of Medellin with three Finns, an Aussie, a Brit, a German, and two Colombians. That's how my life is now. 48 hours ago I didn't know any them. In two days we we were crashing a local party. Yesterday, two of them left Medellin and on Tuesday, I left for Cartagena.

The metro has two cable lifts to take commuters to and from the houses that climb the mountain ranges. This is actually how people get back and forth to work.

4 comments:

Ozzy Nelson said...

I love the statues man. Thank God you finally got your camera issues worked out.

jenholt said...

I'm glad Columbia is safer these days. I still think of the drug cartels and crime. I'm really loving the pictures too! You're getting your moneys worth out of this one. Glad you're making so many international connections! Maybe you can be an ambassador one day! I'll vote for you.

toomuchcountry said...

Who woulda thought the Columbia down there would be safer than the "Columbia" you left here at home?

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!