Medellin by motorcycle

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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”

 

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Alive or dead I am coming back here – Cartagena, Medellin and Guatape

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Alive or dead I am coming back to this place.

I can’t even think how many times I have changed my trip plans.

It was a 2 day decision to book a flight, get my visa, take a bus to Panama city with my amigita Mar and arrive to Cartagena, Colombia.

Mar and I spent very fun two days in Panama city. The hostel where we stayed wasn’t in the safest part of Panama. It was in Casco Viejo and with me looking the way I am, and even with much lighter hair after all the sun I got, we had to walk carefully around, but we did it!

We went again to the Panama Canal and to Panama Viejo to see the old ruins  of Panama City. Then, we shopped for shoes for two days and got shorts and jeans. We took a lot of pictures and ate a lot of pasta and mangos we found on the street.After that, Mar took off to see more Panama and I took a flight to Cartagena!!!

At the airport in Cartagena I met a very nice Colombian beauty from Medellin who told me a lot about Colombia and gave a contact in case I am heading that way. We got to talk a lot because it was raining and storming outside.

When I arrived to Cartagena and settled down in a hostel, there was a lot of music, drinking, and dancing going on. I set my backpack down in a very crowded dorm and went outside to fine new best friends. I took about 2 seconds before a guy asked me if I want to sit with them.

Of course I did!

A whole day on the bus gave me a terrible hunger and all I was dreaming about after meeting a group of eight Israeli people is – empanadas. I took off and when to the city in a search for food.

The light, police, tourist, bars, parks, fresh sea breeze were all over. I was falling in love with this city!

When I got back, there were two guys in my dorm, obviously latinos, and more obviously very hot. They were talking to two other girls and the conversation went along about dancing.

–      Dancing? I said with a huge smile full of braces and excitement! I want to come.

–      Let’s go, one of them said. And the next thing I knew I was rushing to the bathroom to put my jeans and lipstick on.

We went out to Tu Candela : a few girls from Holland, and the two Columbian soldiers from Bogota. I learned the typical dances, rocked reggateon, had to really adjust my salsa to the Colombian style, and just had fun.

The next morning the Colombian guys asked if I wanted to go to Playa Blanca with them. Since it was supposed to be my first day in Cartagena, I almost said no, but because they were sort of locals I agreed and after dancing till 3am, we were out on a boat at 8 am on our way to the beach.

The guys didn’t really bargain and I wasn’t sure if that was because they were living most of the time in a closed environment or because people simply don’t bargain in Colombia. People are very nice here, (and beautiful I must say) but just being a tourist always makes you wonder if the locals don’t pump the price for your accent.

On the beach you can almost never close your eyes. Empanadas, ice cream, bracelets, ceviches, beer, fish, water, foot massage are all over you.  But we had fun, took pictures of the fish, ate a lot of coconut rice and even got to ride one of the tubes where they drop you off in the middle of the sea.

When we got back to the hostel, the guys wanted hamburgers and arrepas with cheese. We went to the supermarket and they ruled. It was such a big difference being with them. You suddenly felt like a woman again. They were making decisions, buying you drinks, open doors, giving a hand, even helped me to buy a chip for the phone and called to get a bus schedule.

The only thing, since they were traveling only for a week and wanted to get the most out of the trip, I spent way much more money then I normally would, but I definitely got to do a lot of things I wouldn’t do.

We went to the beach two times, went out every night of the week, ate great fish and rice, had a lot of beer, and went to a mud volcano where there was a lot of giggling, floating in the mud, and where I got washed by an older lady. Never happened to me before!

Now I am in Medellin where I got back together with Kyle, Jose and met this awesome girl Kelly who has been travelling with them for a while.

I have to say, I am honestly in love with Colombia, culture, people and the two cities I have been to so far.

Alive of dead, I am coming back here. Just need to go to Bogota to figure out the visa.

HOSTEL IN CARTAGENA: El Viajero

PLACES TO DANCE SALSA: Tu Candela

BEACHES: Playa Blanca