Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 24 - Medellin (One with my surroundings)

By no means am I complaining but today shole was a hot day, lol. The heat slows you something down kinda serious, no matter. I've been idle too long and I need to be set somewhat free. So the last few days I posted pictures of this black and tan colored building. I found out it is a cultural center that has certain exhibitions. I decided to go check it out and it had some cool art and of course, some views. Take a look!




After this, I decided I would take my homemade yummy sandwich and walk to Parque Bolivar so I could people watch. After walking down a few sketchy streets. I mean prostitutes out at noon, I end up at the park and its beautiful. It was nice just enjoying the shade watching the locals. I think the funniest thing I saw was a man take a plastic cup into this fountain and scoop out water to quickly clean his dog and a bit of himself. 

From there I head up further into the city to the Jardin Botantical Gardens. I have not heard the greatest things about it, but I must admit it was pretty nice considering. Very well kept, it was nice to see people in the park just enjoying the day and their families as well as the sites of the botanical gardens.

I also stopped off to enjoy a creamy helado (ice cream). It was berry-delicious. Cheezy I know, but still.

My favorite are the girls jump-roping. I haven't seen this in years. I might me somewhat inspired.

After too much time in the heat, I called it an afternoon and went back to the hostel to do some reading. I am 200 pages in. It's a page turner that's for sure. Maybe cause its so different from Dracula *e-gags*. I decided to splurge a wee bit on some Chee-tos not Cheese-Puffs.

Soo I am ancy for this Salsa place and it happens. Diego and I venture to El Eslabon Prendido for their live salsa. We pull up and question are we in the right place, when we finally walk in, we know we are. The soul of this place, its coziness, and its phenomenal band just standing on the floor at the front of this crowded bar was AMAZING! A few locals tried to show me a few moves, but I felt more silly than talented.. regardless I went with the flow. This is definitely a place I would recommend for people in Medellin on a Tuesday looking to experience Colombia. There was no pretentiousness, just pure, pure movement. Whew! 


I feel soo girly, then there is Diego, lol!


And there is the guy I met on my first day in Medellin.

I can't believe today is my last day. I was suppsoed to have ventured for a day trip, but I did not get up early enough according to the lady at the front desk. It sounds like I could be doing too much with a full evening of travel to try and do it tomorrow. sighs.. decisions.

A little history for you. I keep talking about splendid views this and that. Medellin is set up in the Andes, so one of its selling points is the mountains. I have also learned why people here where boots year round. The people call themselves Paisas, which are pretty much Colombian Cowboys and representative of their proudness they have for their country! Ha! 

A better pic of the metro which is fabulous!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 23 - Medellin (When in Colombia..)

Today was an absolutely beautiful day and yet I did not have much to do considering most places were closed for the Colombian holiday that no one, including Colombians know what it is for. I have also changed hostels for the 3rd time. I had to downgrade from luxury. Too early in the game to be getting caught up in the good life, lol. I moved from 25K to 18K with two less people sleeping in the room. I chose the top bunk, but after a few climbs, I am like wth! That's my bed on the top in the second pic.

I also took pics of the bathroom. I have come to learn this is the real deal breaker. I can deal with a lot, especially with the purchase of my new satin sleeping bag, but a dirty bathroom.. hmmm. This one is quite clean!

I purposely took a picture of the floor. Hostels would come out soo much better if they steered clear of white floors. If you aren't going to constantly clean it.. then we know its dirty. I am all about illusion.

I like the Tiger Paw hostel less the Auburn and Clemson feel. The kitchen could be a tad bit betterbut its a great bang for the buck. I am super resourceful and made it work with a half pot, a real pot, and a plate that doubled as a cutting board. Bon Appetit!

Soo I finally get stirring have not done any Spanish like I promised myself and instead opt to see Diego's Medellin digs. They lend itself to a peaceful AND hard walk up a never ending hill. The views are stunning though!


Soo Diego and I decided to head out for an early dinner while we tried to figure out how to take advantage of this gorgeous but holiday-day. We walked around Parque Lleras and we opted for this spot. It was fabulous and plentiful!

I'll have to figure out quick how to make this rice. It was delicious!! Like a sweet brown something I can't put my finger on it. The dressing was also great on this salad. It's my first salad since I've been in Colombia and it reminded me how much I miss it so.

After dinner, we still had no plans and did what the Colombians in the area do. Sit outside and have coffee/hot chocalate at the Starbucks of South America, Juan Valdez.

It was a good day, not very productive, but kinda. I did not mention, I finally finished Bram Stroker's Dracula. Let me say.. HATED IT! I've started reading the Help. It's a page turner and interesting at the moment. I'm counting down the days to Cali. I hope to find some people who are open to some Salsa nights. But I'm taking it one day at a time, including the do-nothing days.. you know I'm a busy-body.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Day 22 - Medellin (Fake BBQs and Discotecas)

Today ended up being another late start, but it was a super productive morning. I got some spanish resources installed (I've decided to use this to work on my basic Spanish.. I know D, I know, lol) and I've decided that I am going to party in Cali for 5 days via the Salsa way of life. I've found a cute hostel that has a free hour of Salsa lessons and then they take you out into the town to practice your moves, lol. Should be good fun. Afterwards, I'll move on to something more relaxing as I make my way up to Zona Cafetera (Coffee Zone) until I end up back in Medellin. I am super pysched!

Anywho, me and Emily (California) decided to head back into the Central Part of town and explore the area and ended up going to a famous museum, Museo of Antiquoa. It houses a ton of Botero's work and a few of his scultpures and a few other goodies. It was a great museum even if the staff was very keen on you visiting the museum in a certain order. It was a staff person at every corner talking about this way and that way. There was no escaping them. We were trapped. Anywho a few pictures from the Plaza and the Museum.

Better views of the government building.


This painting was soo crazy real. My picture of this picture does not do it justice. It is perfection, the lines, details, etc

Some Botero for ya..

First vending machine I've seen.

Oh, I used my student ID and got in for free (cost $8K), cha-ching! lol.

After the museum, Emily and I separated and I met up with Diego to attend his Spanish instructor's "BBQ". Emphasis on the quotes, lol. Can you say adventure zone to get here? I thought it was supposed to be a quick trip. We left with the sun high and reached the final destination at super dark. Let's dig a bit deeper into this here journey. We get on the Metro and connect to the Metro Cable Line. In order to reach the professor's house, we have to take another metro line. Okay, fine. How about they closed it and it took a lot of finagling to let us through. These folks shut the line down if there are not enough people utilizing it. WTH?! lol. At least on the flip side, it's a nice cable ride to see the city change over to this wooded, natural land, escape kind of thing. Sorry I don't have any pics, but I could steal some if you like. Just let me know. 

We arrive at the end of the Metro Cable and call the Professor to let her know we are here. Do you know she was on her way for an 1hr and make it so bad, she did not even come, the death cab from hell came. He picked us up, saw a hustler opportunity and picked up some other people too. He squeezed one on the back seat with us and then 3 in the hatch. I am not joking. I wish I had room to reach my camera and take a pic. I was on the Georgia Cyclone, Indy 500, the Audobon. This man was whipping and turning and then would slow down a wee bit and honk and Hola! everyone he passed. I wonder was this guy drunk.

Sooo 30 minutes later with a few detours, we finally reach the professor's abode, which I learn is in Santa Elena. Wiki says it is a rural farming area up in the mountains, east of MedellĂ­n, and composed of 17 small villages called: “veredas". 
Now the BBQ is supposed to start at 6pm, but we are the only people there and by now we are all starving, lol. This sweet lady does not even have the fire starting. People please look below. I don't know what kind of fire she planned on starting. Even the dog is like arrrgh.

On top of that, it was freezing. We were some thousands of meters above sea level and so it was chilly. I brought a jacket, but had I know, I would have brought my sweater. Anywho, she says she'll start the BBQ when a few more people arrive. People it's 7pm and they fire is not going, nor is there any meat prepped, or anything! Hmmmm, this makes people of color look ontime. Soo we meet a few people and one says to us, so what are you guys eating. WTH *eyes pop out of head*. That was my cue to signal its time to go. How do the people here not know a BBQ is supposed to happen? Welll, we decide its time to go and we look for the professor. She isn't here and we find out she went to the store to pick up some items for the evening. Can you say strike 10? The conclusion, we travelled for hours expecting to eat, arrive, wait, and still don't eat. We left hungry AND cold.. what a bad combination.

On the walk home though, I stopped for a quick bite at this empanada-ria per recommendation of Diego. They had this patel de polla. It had potatoes, chicken, and was golden fried. I suck on pictures for this.. it disappeared. I plan to get another before I leave and will pic it. I started adding picante and it scared the poor lady. She says muy picante.. so I stop thinking I had overdone it. Wrongg answer.. Colombians really don't like spice. It's impressive to me. 

Soo since tomorrow is a holiday, we decide that we are gonna go out and club. There is a Barrio (colombia) that is supposed to have the REAL DISCOTECAS, not just bars where people sit around and drink. And booy did they have the discotecas. We went to Karma and had a fabulous time. The Reggaeton was great and they threw in a few American songs, I heard Black and Yella and something else. What was my favorite was that the TV in the club showed nothing but hip-hop music videos. I saw some Ne-Yo, Pitbull, Rhianna, Method Man, Common, Kanye, and a few others, lol. 


They are more current than I am. Maybe I'll punish myself to online videos, yes, no, maybe?! Does it sound fab if I see if they have closed captions in Spanish? Did I mention that they roll in posses here too. Big groups go out and get bottles or have drinks and only talk to each other. Before you say it, I know I wouldn't understand anyway, but it's just the principal. Buttt I did see this fiyah fanny pack. Look over to the right of me, lol. It's a jiggling baby!

Some randomness..

1. These are the benches in the Metro. I believe they are to keep people from sleeping on them.

There was a man that was staying at the hostel. I thought he got into a fight and I said aha! He's recovering from plastic surgery. I believe he had the whole she-bang - nose job, face lift, chin, and some botox. He's healing quite nicely though.

2. There is a baby perv staying at the hostel. When I was doing some quick email on one of the public terminals he was talking to me while surfing the meet hot girls site. Very weird guy. I met him a few days ago and then he left. He said he was in Medellin trying to rekindle the flames with an old girlfriend, but it was a no-go. So I guess he wastes no time. I did find in my research their are brothels around and for $100,000 pesos, you can have a nice night in a decent room. Soo who knows. I am not judging, promise! Just observations.

A rollercoaster of a night, but a good one. Let's see what tomorrow holds!