First Impressions of Medellin

We’ve been in Medellin for several nights so far. The apartment we are in now reminds us a little of the one we rented in Bogota. Both are spacious, 50-year-old apartments with large bedrooms and plenty of space. The Bogota place had more of the furniture, paintings, and personality of the previous owners. This place is larger but has less furniture, so seems a bit spartan. Apparently they’ve had trouble with theft by some of their Airbnb guests.

Karen and the kids have been busy with work and school while I do the shopping, cooking and try to teach myself some new things. We have taken some time to explore the neighborhood a bit. I took the photo below at a nice cafe & bookshop a couple of blocks away. They have live blues and jazz some nights, but there wasn’t anyone playing when we went. We enjoyed some postres (desserts) and coffee. Sydney tried a flan, which is also pictured below. Earlier in the afternoon we had a delicious and affordable meal at a vegetarian store & restaurant around the corner.

A Typical Noisy Day

It is much more lively and noisy than where we were in Itagui. Itagui was noisy Monday through Saturday thanks to construction of a new building directly across from us. Friday and Saturday nights had music blasting from some local joint a few blocks away. At times it could be quite quiet. The street we are on now has 5 lanes and lots of shops, schools, and other businesses along it. It is busy almost all the time.

The intersection seems to get more than its share of drivers who think if they can just get past the stop line before the light turns red it is all good. If they happen to be in the middle of the intersection blocking traffic going the other way when the light changes, so be it. This is a city that has people tooting horns if you are not rolling forward within milliseconds of the light turning green. If you are blocking the intersection? You are going to hear about it, and so are we.

Even More Noise!

As if the day to day noise and chaos wasn’t enough, we’ve already been fortunate enough to experience some exceptionally noisy events.

The first was some sort of demonstration march slowly making its way down the street. They were kind enough to stop right below our 13th floor windows for several minutes while they went through their scripts of chants. Don’t have the volume up too loud when you watch the videos. Who knew a few hundred people could make so much noise!

The second exceptionally noisy event was a national soccer championship game taking place in Medellin. Atletico Nacional S.A. is one of the city’s professional teams. They were playing against Cali, vying for their 16th league championship. Pablo Escobar once had an interest in Atletico Nacional, but that is another story. Today we are talking about how loud the fans are when they are happily watching their team win. One of the videos below is a clip of them scoring their 4th goal on a penalty kick and the ensuing revelry from the crowds spilling out of the bars on the streets below. The final score was 5-1.

Mostly Work, But Some Play

It is amazing how fast time flies sometimes. We’ve been here for a week and a half as I write this. (And about a week since I created the first draft!) The kids have been plugging away at their online classes. Karen is working hard editing and working with me on a new (the fourth) version of her website. I’ll be sure to announce it here once it is done. It’s going to be great!

We have managed to wander around a bit on the weekends. The first weekend was simply a “let’s get out of the apartment and stretch our legs” activity. We picked a good direction because we found Parque Bolivar and Botero Plaza. If you are a little rusty on your South American history and don’t know who Simon Bolivar was, leave a comment below. If anyone asks about him, I’ll have the kids do some research and write a blog post about him. Bwahahaha! They should know this stuff anyway since they are traveling here, right? 🙂

Fernando Botero is a figurative artist, sculptor, and favorite son of Medellin with a style of art all his own. We visited a museum in Bogota filled with his art and were happy to find more works here. I’ll have to post the photos I took in Bogota. The Botero museum there was free and allowed pictures! So nice that the art can be enjoyed by all.

The style that Botero has, formally called Boterism, is what we’ve been calling “Chubby Art.” Wikipedia says that it “depicts people and figures in large, exaggerated volume.”