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The real Jose turned up at 8am and took V&J off for a whistle stop tour of everything Medellin had to offer. First up was Santa Fe, a beautiful small colonial town outside of Medellin where all the wealthy Colombians go at the weekend. However, it was Tuesday which meant that the three of us only had to share the postcard pretty town with the locals. Next up was a bridge built 1897-1923. The most impressive thing about this bridge (apart from the fact it was built by Colombians and still stands) is the materials were brought hundreds of miles from the coast on horse back.

Back in Medellin we zoomed up to another Mirador to check out the city from a different perspective. At the top of the hill was a strange miniature village with old furniture still in the reconstructed rooms. Not entirely sure what that was all about but the view was nice from up there.

We drove back to Jose’s apartment (where he still lives with his brother and sister) and had a traditional Colombian soup before heading out to see the slums. We were forced to leave his car behind because in Medellin the law only allows certain number plates to be on the road at particular times of the day. This is true in many Colombian cities and is a relatively successful way of keeping the traffic constant.

The slums were interesting and having Jose explain everything made it even more fascinating. The ultimate juxtaposition of riding a pristine cable car over the jumbled, crowded assortment of slum shacks was crazy. The government had built the cable car to give people access to parts of the slums that were so dense cars can’t get in. The most amazing thing was that, after 15 years, the metro (of which the cable car is a part) is still in pristine condition, there is not a single spec of evidence that would suggest disrespect. Imagine what it would look like after a day if it was built for Slough.

On our return we stopped off at the Botanical gardens to see some orchids, for which Medellin is famous as well as a load of other species of plants and trees that J had no interest in. After this relaxing peaceful stroll it was back on the Metro to Downtown. This was definitely anything but peaceful and relaxing. The streets teemed with people and traffic could hardly move, crazy people preached for the end of the world and some people swang their hips in time to a busker playing his guitar. Following Jose through the chaos he pointed out all the land marks and some Botero statues and gave us more history.

Tired and hungry having seen everything in one day we returned to the hostel for a beer. Matthew and eventually Eduardo (a Brazilian we had met the day before) then joined the trio for dinner. Conversation turned to war in Iraq and Jose who had lived in UAE for several years offered some interesting views and insights. He blamed prior intervention from the western world post WWI and WWII for all of the areas problems. The theory was that there were no problems in the middle east prior to the wars. It was the dividing up of countries by the victors in the western world (in order to claim who’s is who’s) that initiated tension and unrest. This, combined with ‘Green Zone’, really left a bitter taste when thinking about America.

  1. Ian (Reply) on Friday-27, 2010

    Sounds good over there. The weather here in the UK is terriable, I feel sorry for people at Reading and Leeds festivals.

    So when will you be coming home?????

    • V & J (Reply) on Friday-27, 2010

      We are home! Brap!

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