18.12.2011 - 20.12.2011 25 °C
I feel dug up as we try to hail a cab at 5am on Sunday morning in a still dark bogota. Thank god it's not raining. Finally a little yellow taxi spots us and stops. We jump in and head to the airport. We fly out over bogota as the sun is rising. I miss this as I do my usual, which is an immediate pre/during take off snooze as soon as I'm settled in my seat.
We land in Medellin 40 mins later. Uncle Netto is there to meet us. He takes us straight to a roadside restaurant which serves amazing breakfasts! I'm told I have to try a speciality chorizo. I can't face a whole one so steal a taste of Ricardo's. Netto speaks English! For a few days I leave the bubble. A delicious scrambled eggs on arepa, a smooth coffee, yum.
We arrive at the very plush flat in the south east. It's beautifully set into the mountains with an impressive vista over the whole of Medellin. Medellin im told is a stark contest of a city. The nice bits are really nice. The roads, houses, hotels, shops, restaurants all nicely turned out. Wow I'm impressed. The north of the city is not so nice and a massive sprawling favela. On Monday we divert to see the centre which is frenetic and crazy. Ricardo buys me a panama hat from a small sombrero shop in the centre. We stop in an oldy worldy book shop in the back streets and buy an aniversary edition of Cien Anos de Soledad. I resolve to be able to read this at some point in the future. I want to understand Gabriel in Spanish. The centre is full of eveything going on at once. Noisy farther christmas's selling stuff. They look like dan ackroyd's dirty Santa in trading places. It's chaotic and is in fact a stark contrast to the relaxed hilly area where the uncle lives. We find a small street selling antiques. I cast my eyes over the wares, some very cool old wicker furniture and some beautiful mirrors. I was hoping for some tiny frames I could easily slip into my baggage. Or something small. But I can't find anything. Then back into a yellow cab, this time the driver is young and looks rather worse for wear. I can see his bloodshot eyes reflected in the rearview mirror. We cross the city and weave our way back up to the flat. I like Medellin. That evening we all pile into the Toyota land cruiser. Netto, Lina, Carlos, Ricardo, Esther and three kids. Geronimo, Sara and Victoria! We head into town to see pueblita paisa. Which is up a hill in the middle of Medellin. It's an old bit of preserved town. A little square with shops and a sort of museum. Netto decides that we need to try every Colombian street food.
Obleas - paper thin round wafers which a fat smear of Arequipe (toffee or dulche de leche).
Mango viche / green mango slices with lime juice and salt.
Strawberry fruit salad with condensed milk on top.
Bunuelos with natilla - fried dough balls with sugar jelly.
Then we all pile in the car again to see the Christmas lights. I'm talking serious lights. 42 million of them. Quite spectacular. All along the river. As we glide along the roadblock we are offered yet more treats! Popcorn, freshly fried potato chips, corn on the cob. The washed down with sugar cane juice.
Back home some wine to take the edge of the sugar. Then bed, we rise early to catch a bus back to Armenia.
Bleary eyed. Sugar come down? We get dropped at the bus station.
5 hours to Armenia on Flota Occidental.