Day 129 – Medellin, CO

Day 129 – Medellin, CO      12/28/10      Mileage: 0

Business opportunity in Medellin…laundromat! I asked a dozen people if they knew of one and the closest I got was a dry cleaner…and they said it would take 3 days! I walked probably 20 square blocks figuring surely there must be one in the heart of a bustling city…but…nope, I didn’t see one! I finally gave up and knocked on the door of a hostel and the owner was kind enough to do my laundry for $5…and would have it back to me the next day. Anyway, next up was lunch at 12:30 with Santiago who is the cousin of a friend of my parents and gracious enough to meet me and show me around! He picked me up at the Shamrock and took me to the heart of the downtown for lunch where his family owns a restaurant. It turns out he has a passion for travel also and took a year off for an around the world backpacking trip. He lived abroad in France and Venezuela for a while as well and speaks very good english.

After lunch…which I was treated to…he showed me some of the sights downtown.

 

We also took the elevated metro which was a great way to see the city.

Santiago is very proud of his city and it shows in the way he talks about it. I told him when I first hatched the plan for this trip, I was debating whether to skip Colombia because of the prevailing perception in the US, but the more I read the more I looked forward to visiting. He said that Medellin and Colombia in general has made an amazing turnaround from the legacy of the drug wars and violence. I know he is right because I’ve seen it for myself. I feel safer and more at ease here…in the small towns and cities…than I did in Mexico or other countries in Central America, maybe even Costa Rica. He also told me of a project that the Medellin government undertook to build a library in the roughest part of the city, high on a hill. They had to go in with swarms of armed police at first, and now it is a popular place to come, even for tourist like me. We took a “public transit gondola” to get there, which itself helped to turn the area around.

The black building is the library built in what used to be the roughest part of town.

These projects are a testament to the good that government can do to improve people’s lives when they have the people’s best interest in mind, and not their own or that of the special interests. So I said adios to Santiago and took the metro back to the Shamrock. I spent some time getting some posts up on the blog, and then parked myself in a nearby cafe in the Zona Rosa to write more and take in the scene before calling it a night.

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One Response to Day 129 – Medellin, CO

  1. carla friedman says:

    Magnificent pictures. It is such fun to see these places through your eyes.

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