Monday, September 13, 2010

Me Gusta Mucho, Medellin!

Roger and I flew to Medellin for a couple of days.  After the chaotic pace in Bogota, Medellin was much calmer despite having a population of 3 million people.  The drivers are less aggressive and it's less of a free for all.  In Bogota I'm always prepared for the sound of the car being hit -- sort of like waiting for the dentist's drill to hit a nerve.

We spent most of the first day looking at potential warehouse locations with a terrific realtor, Daniel, and then checked into our hotel.  Daniel recounted what it was like to live in Medellin during the height of the drug cartels' reign, including telling us that his uncle had been kidnapped and killed in the 80s.  We saw armed guards on certain sections of the highway from the airport into Medellin (about a 30 minute drive), and Daniel said the past president, Uribe, has a farm in the area which is heavily guarded.  When he spoke of Pablo Escobar, he did so in a lowered voice which is what I had expected from various articles I had read.
View from our hotel
Roger took me to a very trendy martini bar called "Dry" that he and some co-workers had been to on a previous trip and it turned out to be happy hour.  I ordered one with cranberry juice, but after our first sips, we knew they packed a punch.  Let's just say by the time I finished my two martinis, I vowed to stay away from martini happy hours forever.....

Saturday morning we headed to Botero Plaza for a walk around.  It was teeming with people, music, vendors and action.  We checked out several sculptures by Botero and then toured the Museo de Antioquia which displays works from various artists from the Antioquia district of Colombia.


Above:  For some reason, male genitalia is the only thing that Botero doesn't exaggerate....

Above:  A Family Portrait...not sure if you can see the detail but there are flies all around them, and a funny looking man peering through the window in the bottom right hand corner!

Below:  Botero's painting depicting Pablo Escobar's death during a shoot out with police in 1993.

And while Dunkin' Donuts shops are everywhere, I love going to Juan Valdez coffee shops. Roger still misses Tim Horton's though...

Advertising is pretty racy compared to North American standards.  The billboard below is actually one of the more conservative ones we saw as we traveled out of Medellin up a steep mountain.

The caption on top loosely translated says
" the pleasure you get from work makes you forget you are tired".

Medellin is in a valley and the views from the top of the mountain are breathtaking.   As we got higher, the temperatures got much cooler, but still are warm enough to sustain a flower growing region.

We loved the area and that in the towns by the airport you could easily see cowboys riding down the highway, but yet be in a vibrant, cosmopolitan city of Medellin.  As always, time will tell what happens next.
"Colombia:  The only risk is you won't want to leave."
Colombian Tourism slogan

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