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I spent the summer of 2010 backpacking South America,
starting in Medellín, Colombia on 6 June 2010. The following pages
contain a few photos and notes from the trip.
Colombia from the plane into Medellín; below are fincas — small, usually non-operating farms. Many Colombians dream of retiring to a finca in the country.
The lovely Bonilla family picked me up from the airport and, for my first meal in Colombia, whisked me away to Crepes and Waffles — a restaurant employing only single mothers. The pesto veggie crepe was excellent.
Homecooked Colombian desayuno (breakfast). With more things to drink (water, hot chocolate, fresh juice, coffee) than eat, I feel like this meal was designed for me.
Orlando and Ana Maria Bonilla gave me a tour of their beautiful city, Medellín.
People in Medellín really like brick.
We hiked up El Cerro Nutibara, a mountainous park in the center of the city.
From the top of El Cerro Nutibara, you can see nearly all of Medellín. The city is stretched out in a north-south valley in a northern chain of the Andes.
Reading Walden on my Nook in the Bonillas' living room.
A little stone building near the Bonillas' house. When I mentioned it would be a cool place to live (nothing to do with reading Walden, I'm sure), I was informed that it's a actually a tool shed for one of the nearby homes. I'm a little jealous of those tools.
The Bonillas' neighborhood, a mountain community 20 minutes outside the city filled with modern, minimalist houses.
A sunset during one of my walks.
The metro in Medellín runs along the bottom of the valley, with two Metrocable lines branching off into the hills.
View from the Metrocable of a hillside neighborhood that burned down.
The two Metrocable lines were built to connect the poor neighborhoods in the hills around Medellín to the center of the city. I'm told that the transformation of these neighborhoods since 2006 has been remarkable.
The Plaza Botero in front of the Museo de Antioquia. Fernando Botero Angulo, a painter and sculptor from Medellín, is famous for depicting fat people and things, in this case, a.... dog?
No resemblance whatsoever.
Definitely no resemblance.
Instead of having to go to a cell phone store to buy more minutes (or, heaven forbid, having some contract with a company that makes you hate life), in Colombia, you can just buy minutes from any of the ubiquitous minuto street vendors. $200 COP = $.10 USD.
A fat Botero guitar in Museo de Antioquia.
Botero's fat Pablo Escobar, the most successful narcotics trafficker in history, being gunned down on a Medellín rooftop in 1993. The movie Blow portrayed parts of Escobar's early career.
Very realistic graphite drawing of flies.
The Museo de Antioquia has a large exhibit on the music and dance of Colombia and the surrounding areas, including easy to follow footprints for many dances. These seem a far more effective method for learning different dances than the muddled instructions I'm used to.
A ride on the second Metrocable line. Camilo and I took this one all the way to Parque Arví via a recent extension.
In Parque Arví we had some delicious chicken and chorizo.
Chorizo in a little hut.
If I was Mario, I would totally have eaten this.
If I was a bus driver, I would totally be a bus driver in Medellín. Some of the roads are ridiculously fun to drive.
The colorful neighborhood near one Metrocable stop.
A pretty cool and accurate sundial. The sun is reflects off a disk on the podium, casting light on the underside of the curved concrete. Colombia doesn't muck about with daylight savings time, so the sundial is accurate year round.
Parque Explora, an awesome hands-on science museum.
An incarnation of Archimedes' Screw at Parque Explora. And yes, I did stand there turning it and watching the water come out the top until the complaints from the line of 10 year old kids behind me became impossible to ignore, even in Spanish.
Perspective illusion. Wait for it...
Camilo and I went to many clubs, bars, and discotecs with friends. This was a Pandora, with Johana and one of several Sebastians (not pictured).
There was often fog in the mountains, sometimes appearing and disappearing in the course of several minutes.
El Peñon, a huge 600 foot tall rock in the middle of a valley.
View from the top of El Peñon of part of the surrounding valley, which has been turned into a reservoir.
Camilo and I on top of El Peñon.
A church in nearby Guatape.
Living room, entryway, and dining room of the Bonillas' house. The minimalism, right angles, and sliding doors were reminiscent of Japanese houses.
The Bonillas — Orlando, Ana Maria, and Camilo — and I.
Next: Santa Marta and Taganga, Colombia »