Colombia is a happy place and shows that through a lot of festivals. There are festivals every month….. except November. ‘Why not November?’ I hear you cry. Coz it’s too friggin wet. It rains pretty much every day. The pattern seems to be that it rains every night and every afternoon, and that rain is very, very intense. In Bogotá, the rain is a little cold too.
We flew into Medellín during the afternoon rains/thunderstorms which caused our medium sized train to be tossed around like a medium sized plane in a thunderstorm. I don’t like bumpy flights but was slightly distracted by Andy, a charming Kiwi orchid grower who had recently relocated to Colombia, as he tried and failed to look calm, using an arm against the roof and the other against the seat in front to wedge himself into the seat whilst he talked rapidly about ‘afternoon rains’.
There was also rare civil disturbance occurring in town as we landed due to a public servants strike getting ugly. This caused the still slightly illegal Uber drivers to be even more paranoid than normal.
When you mentioned Medellín to anyone outside Colombia, they normally want to talk about Pablo Escobar. If you do the same to a Colombian they start to wax lyrical about what a beautiful city it is, about how much we will like it and about its great climate. In November this means the rain is much warmer than Bogotá, but cooler than the Caribbean coast.
We have a flat for a month in the Laureles area of the city, a safe, walking friendly, relatively flat and green suburb to the south west of the centre (Airbnb, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, AU$40 per night) and are loving being able to unpack, wash pants without a kerffufle, cook for ourselves and occasionally watch Netflix with a glass of wine in hand. The travelling stuff is great, but a bit of normality is great too.
To get to know the area we went to an expats meet and greet in a local pub, called rather imaginatively ‘The Local Pub’. In my head, I had an image of a bunch of people like us, standing around chatting, swapping tips and resulting in people to stay in touch with for the next month. After a twenty something telling us we must push ourselves to get out of our comfort zones, another telling us about his failed Tinder date resulting in him waking up in hospital and an exceptionally dull retired, Trumpesq American cornering us with lines like ‘I don’t mean to name drop, but I used to work for Microsoft’ & “The poor have the Metrocable (a cable car public transport system), to get them into town so they have all the opportunity they need, we left.