1/24. Leaving Medellin
Packed into another bus. Saying goodbye(for now) to another great experience here in Colombia. Medellin is my new home here. Of all my previous “favorite” places this trip, this is the one I wished I lived in. Medellin has all the sophistication and allure of Buenos Aires, the history and culture of Philly and has a certain quaintness. It’s cozy and cosmopolitan at the same time. No offense to Bogota, but I can’t fathom why Medellin isn’t the capitol. In my opinion it is the crown jewel city of Colombia.
Ok, maybe I’m a little biased, thanks to my familia nueva here. Fabiola is a saint and tour guide extraordinare. Everyone we met was incredibly kind and willing to drop everything to show us their city. We met three days ago, but as I leave I feel the same heavy feeling as when I pull away from San Diego or Philly, places dear to me because of friends, family, memories.
To continue where I left off(*previous journal entry), yesterday the day trip to El Piñol was quite pleasant. During curvy drive packed in Vicki’s Twingo, the city quickly fell away and we were bobbing and weaving through hilly, finca covered country side. The 200 meter monolith called El Piñol couldn’t be more out of place. Seemingly dropped out of the sky, the rock juts out of the lake covered land like a massive, natural lighthouse. The view from the top is well worth the steep climb up 600+ stairs. 360 degree view, high above lakes, fincas and lush hills below.
Wiggy and I were planning on going to the bullfight that night so our hostesses were kind enough to take us to Plaza Macarena to buy tickets on the way home. Turns out the corrida ended at 7:30(we thought it began then…) and the last bout was about to happen. While I was accepting the fact that it wasn’t meant to be, Fabiola and Nanna were working every angle, begging at every door to let us in. Next thing I knew we were ushered through back doors and corridors until there we were, ground level, arms length to the ring. It took a minute to settle in, but after the initial rush of our entrance subsided, details became more clear. The pomp and ceremony, the machismo of the matador as he danced with and taunted the bull to the choruses of “olé!”, and of course the agony of the animal himself. I wasn’t expecting to this close. I figured we’d be way up high, eating popcorn and hotdogs, drinking beer while a colorful and cultural show went on far below. From our vantage point, while you could see the beauty of the costume, the matador’s every pose and posture, you could also see the blood, the expression on the bulls face; tongue hanging, panting, dazed empty eyes. When the matador slammed the 3 foot saber in the bulls neck to the hilt my stomach turned. The bull died before our eyes. It’s dumb to say but I wasn’t expecting that, don’t know what I was expecting but the reality was sobering. A beautiful sport that isn’t pretty up close.
That night we went salsa dancing. I was all about it but scared shitless. Love salsa, but always takes a while(and a few drinks) to get the cajones to actually do it. Had a great time of course. Hopefully didn’t scuff any of the girls’ shoes too bad with my clumsy steps….
Bottles of rum came and went and we danced, talked laughed into the later hours of the night.
That night Brian and I decided to stay one more day. It was 4am and we figured there wasn’t much point in trying to get up early and get a jump on the day. I’m glad we stayed. Wiggy isn’t much of an art fan, but luckily now we had time to visit Museo de Antioquia. The plaza out front is home to at least 10 Botero statues and the museum itself is perfectly sized. Not to big, but chock full of art from all over Colombia and around the world.
After the museum, Fabiola and Vicki scooped us up yet again for more sight seeing. Cerro Nutibara for sweeping views, my first oblea(two big communion wafers with a thin layer of arequipa in the middle-really good and I hate sweets), around every turn a striking monument, classic architecture, historic church. Our last stop was meant to be the football stadium and new sports grounds. It was Sunday and a series of regional soccer matches were going on. The streets around the stadium understandably pretty rowdy. Vicki showed her impressive get-away-car skills as the police started swarming a few of the worst offenders, beating the shit out of them with batons. Ending the tour with a little action.
This is getting long and don’t feel like writing of this bumpy ass road anymore, but should mention the dinner I had outside the stadium. Haven’t it here in Colombia before, but will definitely be on the lookout for it again. It was awesome and defiantly going to make an appearance on a Debajo de las Estrellas menu soon.
Big patacon, topped with shrimp, lettuce, onion. Refreshing sauce- lime, light mayo. Also offered arepa version.
(*picture is terrible, but I swear it was delish)