All we hear about Colombia, you can’t really experience as a tourist unless you find a local who will take you inside the city. I finally activated my CouchSurfing profile and started looking for some locals who are willing to show me around.
I found a local friend. To be on a save side, let’s call him Senor N. He is a 25 y.o. veterinary who was born and raised in Medellin and who was willing to take me on a motorcycle ride around the city.
The whole idea of going by bike was scary and unknown. I put the helmet on, my bag across my body, wrapped my arms tightly around Senor N and there we were – rushing through the barrios of Medellin.
He took me to his neighborhood where he was born and we met his grandma, aunt, grandpa, nieces, friends, cousins, great grandma, aunt-grandma and more people. All of them were very nice and welcoming, full of life and energy. His house was located almost next door to the “lider” of the barrio, who as he told me from week to week collects money to “protect” the people who live there from other groups.
While we were standing on the balcony talking, a police motorcycle passed by a few time. The police station was just next door to the main drug selling place.
– Doesn’t police know about what is going on here? – I asked.
– Of course, but they are a part of it, very corrupt – he said.
We left a motorcycle by the house and went for a walk. Young and old were outside, kids were playing, and police was chilling. You could feel the union between the people, everyone knew each other, and my friend was confident and proud to show me around. I learned a lot about the inside life of the city. It was definitely a tour that none of the tourists get to do. I was a lucky one.
Then we grabbed a few beers and went to the very top of a hill to see the Cristo of Medellin and the best view of the city. I was overwhelmed with all I learned about the “reality” of Colombian neighborhoods and the beautify of the city.
I am deeply falling in love with this place and am really hoping to get a visa to stay longer. “The only risk is that you might want to stay”