Taking in the Sights of Medellin, Colombia

A city of 3 million filling a valley and sprawling up the encircling foothills of the Andes Mountains. During the day, the colors are warm orange, foliage .green and baby blue. On the eighth floor, our room is level with the distant mountains, offering a birds’ eye view of lush growth filling in any available space between and above the teeming array of terre cotta apartments, tenements and shacks. Thus far I have not seen 1 solitary home.

The metro system unites the villages above city-proper with cable cars like ski lifts dangling above the metal roofs which are often held in place (or not) by stacks of bricks, old tires and garbage bags full of what– I can only guess. It is surreal.

People, people, everywhere… Walking, bicycling, crazy wild on motorcycles, hanging out of impossibly crowded busses, standing room only on the metro, and disappearing into the swarm of yellow taxis all over the place! Even in jammed traffic, I am impressed with the lack of road rage– never a harsh word, have I heard.

Sounds of Colombia

The hum of the city that never completely stops becomes white noise after awhile. The brakes from the Metro just 2 streets away sound like jets taking off every 7 minutes — screaming late into the night then resuming at 4:00 AM. The metro is a big deal for people living up the mountain, enabling them to come down into the city where the jobs are– something that has changed lives for the better these last 20 years.

Music is constant, beckoning from clubs that are open until 4:00 am. Walking down the streets you will hear a mixture of Salsa, Colombian crooning and more modern hip hop-type rhythms which somehow create a harmony that makes you want to dance. And that Ellioto is a Salsa man!

There are construction sounds because Medellin is growing. In contrast, men pushing carts of sweet papaya, mounds of avocados and potatoes along with many fruits that are unidentifiable to me. They blare their bargains through old amplified megaphones, creating an eerie feeling, a throwback to old wartime movies when propaganda and decrees were announced throughout neighborhoods.

Horns beep, brakes screech and lives bump up against each other, shrinking personal space.
It’s interesting how easy it can be to tune conversations out, when you don’t speak the language; conversely, it can be a pain when you need to relate. I was embarrassed to be so limited in Spanish– it definitely is not a 2nd language here.

And now, we are on the coast in Cartegena where I add the hum of the air conditioning to my description– it is very hot here on the Carribean Coast.

But best of all, there will be the lapping waves– we’re off to explore that now!