My plan was to write a blog post every day while I’m on this trip but I’ve missed a couple of days recently. There have been a variety of reasons for that but the main one is that it’s a lot easier to write when some disaster happens… But since leaving Cuba and Lisi’s truck loads of lard fried goodies, things have gone spookily smoothly.
Landing at El Dorado was a joy. All the airport staff are really helpful and friendly and even the immigration officers are nice. I had stood in the wrong line… Apparently I was in the line for Colombians and not for foreigners… When I went to the counter the immigration officer says to me, “You know you’re in the wrong line”… I apologized, started to go away and stand in another line and he says, “No problem, stay here… Just so you know for next time”. Can you imagine the same scene in Sydney?
The flight to Medellin went smoothly as well. Avianca is a really nice airline. The cab driver drove like a racing car driver from the airport into Medellin. This time I didn’t make the mistake of staying too close to downtown. I realised two things last time by staying close to downtown: 1. Downtown Medellin particularly at night is not for the feint of heart and 2. I am feint of heart. So this time I headed straight for El Poblado. I have a beautiful duplex in a tree lined cul-de-sac 5 minutes walk from Parque Lleras with it’s ever-so-helpful chewing gum sellers and you can walk the streets at night safely. Parque Lleras is basically like an alcoholic Disneyland… It’s a one-stop shop! As soon as the taxi pulled up to the apartment, the security guy called out, “Are you Martin?”… He opened the gate, handed me the key and I was in! And there were no overly dramatic women crying over broken washing machines!
It’s a really beautiful two level duplex apartment. I did a quick tour of the apartment when I got in and there was for a second that “You know you’re in Medellin when…” moment when I opened the kitchen cupboards to see what there was and amongst the herbs and spices was a large glass jar of marijuana… And not even leaves, but buds! I would post the photo but I’m scared it will come back to haunt me one day.
El Poblado is really nice. It’s a vastly different scene to the other side of town. There’s no reason to leave… and I haven’t for the past three days. The people here are extremely nice. I went to the shopping mall the other day and the security guy personally escorted me to the shop I was looking for when I couldn’t find it! People gave up their seats for me in cafe the other day because there weren’t any left… Maybe I just look old and they felt sorry for me!
I had a bit of “You know you’re NOT in Sydney when…” moment when I invited some people around on Saturday who I had met last time. We were on the balcony at 4 a.m. drinking aguardiente, blasting music at Mardi Gras volume, calling out to passers by on the street… And no-one complained, called the police or threatened to sue. Life went on.
The food here is really good. It’s a bit more “American style” than anything else but really nice. I’m enjoying things that I don’t usually eat like this wickedly delicious Peruvian “Sanguche de lomo saltado con papas”…
And just a couple of snaps from Parque Lleras …