the paris of colombia

el poblado. fancy schmancy.

i knew a girl in high school whose mother was kidnapped by las farc and killed. her father refused to pay the ransom, or so the gossip goes, and her body was found on the side of a road with a sign that read something like, “medellin que no paga, muere.” medellin who doesn’t pay, dies. i always imagined, correctly i think, medellin to be a terribly bloody, coke filled area where you will get snatched off the street. an ex-pat told me how just 8 or so years ago most conversations inevitably led to someone saying, “did you hear fulanito got kidnapped?” being taken hostage was like a right of passage, or a tax. you spent a few weeks in the jungle or forest, hiking all day, carrying shit, and hanging with the commies. you came back thinner, buffer, and traumatized; like an extreme urban boot camp. in thinking of medellin, i didn’t even picture a city, just a dirt road near a jungle.

now i’m here and, mind if i say, “wow.” in context, this wow is coming from two plus months of small town costeño living. i feel like a country mouse in this chic city.

view from the metro cable car gondola lift system vaina.

my review:

– my mochila makes me look quaint and provincial

– there is no incessant honking

– the streets are clean and there are garbage cans

– i now know where to send my recyclables

– they sell my face lotion for a million dollars

– still no sign of rolling tobacco

– you can drink the water

– the streets do not smell like poo

– the women are not as beautiful as i’ve been told; costeñas are far more attractive

barrio santo domingo.

– there are places of yoga

– i can wear pants

– the endless array of sidewalk seating seems to say, “sit down, relax. no one will kidnap you.”

– i saw tofu written on a menu at a vegetarian restaurant with vegan options; then i fainted

– i’ve only been sexually harassed twice in 24 hours

– parts of it remind me of small new england towns

– i’ve seen four! bookstores

– the sun is not trying to destroy me

– the humidity is not trying to choke me


– they should reconsider this whole 70s public housing brick building motif

– pedestrians are still at the bottom of the food chain

– stop signs and turn signals just confuse me

– the poor barrios in the mountains have paved sidewalks, streets, and electricity

– downtown is unimpressive and blah

– i miss santa marta


About trying not to touch anything

living in a space where i am half packed, or half unpacked, depending on how you look at it; going somewhere else; wanting to write about my misadventures on a planet i don't feel like i should be on

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