Friday, October 13, 2017

Medellin, Colombia, October 13, 2017

October 10 we had a barbecue:  avocado/tomato salad, grilled fish, chicken, chorizo and beef.  It was all right but as usual the beef was tough - it looked so good too!  The piece of chicken I had wasn't cooked and there were a lot of bones in the fish.  That's a lot of complaining from me but I'm also sick.  I've got the chills, a bad cough, a sore chest.... I feel awful.

On the 11th, I spent the day in bed until we left the hostal at 4 pm via taxi to go to the bus terminal in Santa Marta where we caught a 16 hour, yes sixteen hour! bus to Medellin-

The truck was to arrive in Cartagena on the 12th and be released today the 13th.  So rather than just sit, we have to get on with the trip.

The bus was like an airplane, complete with wifi and a screen where I think you could watch something but I just slept... just about all the way!  The seats recline but it was still hell.  There was a bathroom with only a urinal and you weren't allowed to do number 2.  Not sure what one would do if they really had to go.  And, believe this:  we only stopped twice!

We arrived in Medellin around noon and went straight to our hostel where I went straight to bed until today October 13th.

A bunch of us went on a Pablo Escobar tour.  I have only watched 2 episodes of Narcos but Glynn recognized everything we saw from the tv series.  Our guide was a police officer from 1990 to 2000 and said if Escobar came after you, it was bribe or bullet.  About 50.000 people died during his reign.  He worked at airport security and was asked to 'look away' for 5 minutes while they slipped Coke onto a plane.  For that he made 3 million pesos.  There was always a price tag on your head as a police officer.  

Escobar was like a Robin Hood in his barrio-

  He built 250 houses for families and gave them money to live.  They loved him-

They still love him-

And pray to Santo Nino Jesus de Atoch to protect their benefactor-

He was shot and killed in this house.  A 9 mm bullet went through his head-

According to Forbes magazine, Escobar was the 7th richest man in the world and he controlled 80% of cocaine trafficking.  His income was 60 million US dollars/day!!!  He also controlled 20% of the world's black market of guns.

Our next stop was the cemetery.  He's buried in a family plot-

It's a pretty strange cemetery-

Some people bring in their own grass and I think would have to be responsible to water it-

Others decorate with flowers but most are just plain-

After the cemetary we went to the La Catedral which was a prison.  Escobar couldn't be extradited to the US so he stayed in this luxurious "prison'.  There was a football field, a giant doll house for his daughter-

A helicopter landing pad-

And jacuzzi and waterfall.  It's rather run down today-

Furniture from his bedroom-

The government eventually caught on that he was still drug dealing but before they could catch him, he escaped and 'ran' for the rest of his life.

It took 45 minutes for the photographer to take this photo 'behind' bars.  Escobar wanted to show the world he was truly in prison, which he wasn't really.  He couldn't stop laughing because of how he had duped the world-

Another one of his homes-

The 3 hour tour ended up being almost 5.  It is unfortunate that I could only understand about 70% of what our guide said.  It was weird how he said Escobar's full name, like about 4 names just about all the time.  He also told us he was a cop during this time yet he would only have been 17 or 18 years old.  Well, whether what he told us was the truth or just a made up story was interesting and I guess I'll have to stomach through watching Narcos.

On our way home, we drove by-

And it was a 15 minute walk from the hostel.  What a cult of a store!  Locals were dressed in their HD gear, smoking pot and drinking beer out on the street.  People inside were buying hundreds of dollars worth of goods.  A woman wore a vest that was covered in HD pins and she was buying another pin as well as shirts and a bag.  

I then forced myself to go to Plaza Botero because even though I was feeling horrible, today was my only chance.

Plaza Botero contains 23 sculptures donated by Botero and it was opened in 2002.  They are huge and so lovely-



Adam and Eve-

Next I went into the museum.  Wow!

Rodin's Iris-

Raymond Mason's 'Roma'.  It's made of resin and is 3 dimensional-

This is all paint brushes-


Botero's Mano-

Botero's Rosita-





The Kitchen-

The paintings are huge - 5 feet by 6 feet at least and the detail!  They all look like photographs.

The square is a very busy place for the locals to hang out-

The Rafael Uribe Culture Palace was built in 1925.  The architecture is influenced by the modern flamenco dance, Baroque and Gothic styles.  Today it's used as a concert hall and houses a few libraries and  contains documents.  It was closed by the time I got there so I didn't get to go in-

Medellin is a beautiful, bustling city-

People are friendly and helpful.  It's not expensive either and the weather is nice.  We hear so little about South America in Canada.  It's almost like coming to a different planet - who would have thought there was the same kind of life way down here as there is at home?  That all people have the same needs and wants although our skin may be a different color and we speak different languages, we are all the same, just living in different parts of the world.

Looking forward to Guatape tomorrow!

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