* Disclaimer: this blog contains naughty words. If you might be offended its time to stop reading now*

It was about 40 degrees when we were due to leave Cartegena, and we were sweating just breathing so we flaked out and caught a taxi to the airport for our flight to Medellin. We knew our flight had been delayed 30 minutes before we left the hostel but it ended up being about 1 1/2 hours late by the time we took off. No bother though, since we didn't have anything or anyone waiting for us. 

Arriving into Medellin, I decided to go to the bathroom while Ty waited for our bags to come from the plane. Finishing my business I looked down and saw something brown and floppy hanging under the wall between my cubicle and the next one which looked like the fake fluffy hair some ladies have on winter coats. That's weird I thought, its a bit chilly since we are at altitude but its really not cold enough for a winter coat. Next thing I see a pair of creepy eyes staring up at me. 'What the fuck do you think you are doing' I shouted out, before grabbing my stuff and rushing from the stall. A couple of local ladies were walking in and wondering what all the commotion was all about. All of my ability to speak spanish vanished in that moment and apart from 'there's a man!' the only word i could remember was 'veramos', which was completely inaccurate as it actually means 'we see', but clearly they understood my agitated state and the fact that I was bashing on the door of a closed cubicle and went outside to find security. I followed them out and the next minute the fucking creep saunters out like 'oh no security, I was just cleaning'. Like fuck you were buddy. I was so shocked that it had happened and just kind of wanted to get out of there so I headed back over to where Ty was waiting with our bags, and he bustled me off into a taxi. Sitting in the cab and all the right spanish words to explain the situation came rushing back to me, and even today as I write this I'm so annoyed with myself for not sticking up for myself more and trying to make myself more understood so that security would have hauled him away, because I basically let him get away with it, and I know he is the type of slimy bastard who will probably do it again. I just don't get what is hot about watching someone pee but I just hope that next time he gets caught by a feisty latin american senorita who will kick his ass. 
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Hanging on the cable car with Jesus & Jakoba
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View from the cable car
20 years ago Medellín was considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world, and had a highly disproportional homicide and kidnapping rate. It was the home of the drug lord Pablo Escobar and the so-called Medellín Cartel, who virtually took over the city during that time. Since his demise in the mid-1990's, the cartel  has been disbanded and the city has rebounded tremendously. In 1991 there were 6500 murders in the city, by 2009 the murder rate decreased to 2900 and during the first six months of 2012, only 614 homicides were registered. A vast improvement by any standards! (cant believe im saying 600 murders is an improvement but still!)

Medellin is much bigger than I had anticipated and is situated in a valley surrounded by majestic mountains on all sides and driving over the hill from the airport we were greeted by the twinkling lights of the sprawling metropolis. 

Downtown, and El Poblado (the slightly wealthier suburb where our hostel is) have a very metropolitan feel about them. The city boasts an impressive, affordable and immaculately clean metro system and a plethora of buses making it very easy to get around, but we felt completely safe walking about during the day. In fact, I probably owe Ty an apology. I have felt just as safe in both of the countries I was so eager to avoid because of their reputations, El Salvador and Colombia, than I did within Europe. Just like any big cities, common sense is needed but I have not felt dodged out at all while we have been here (minus the airport incident!). 

Colombia has a reputation for its beautiful senoritas and I had joked with Ty before we arrived that I wouldn't be letting him out of the hostel unless he was blindfolded. Medellin is developing a reputation as the South American hot spot for medical tourism, and although nose jobs and senoritas abounded, Ty schmoozed his way into the good books by saying none of them were worth leaving me for haha.
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The sprawling metropolis
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Botero lady standing on a man's head
Rising up over one of the city's poorer suburbs is a cable car, which takes tourists and locals alike to Park Arvi, a sprawling forest full of walking trails at the top of one of the mountains. The ride up gives fantastic views out over the city. We actually thought we were heading to the botanical gardens so it was a nice surprise to stumble across the park, being enjoyed by thousands of locals since it was a public holiday. Hiking down to what we thought was a lake, we were a bit disappointed to find just a stream (wrong directions maybe?). Ty dipped his toes in but his facial expression said it all - FRESH! a bit too chilly for a swim I think! It was surprising that the forest was very silent, seemingly void of birds or animals even though I'm sure there must be some there. 

We spotted the actual botanical gardens on our metro ride back to the hostel so headed down there the next day. We wanted to visit the butterfly house but when we got there at just after 12 the lady told us they were going for lunch and to come back at 2. When we got back at 2.20 the door was padlocked. A 2 1/2 hour lunch break seems a bit ridiculous when the place is only open from 10 - 4pm anyway but oh well. There's supposedly a really interactive science museum so we walked over to visit that only to find it too was closed. Not our day! We wandered along the bustling streets to the central plaza which is full of art by reasonably famous Botero who is known for his 'fat' sculptures. The plaza is a great place to people watch so we treated ourselves to a glass of wine and sat on the terrace of one of the restaurants and just soaked up the atmosphere. 

We met a lovely couple at the hostel called Jesus and Jakoba, who we visited Park Arvi with yesterday, and we spent the evening trading travel tips as they are on their way north and us on our way south. 

Colombia is known internationally for its emeralds and my lovely boyfriend decided that he wanted to buy one for me, so on our last day we decided to visit a couple of the shopping malls to see what we could find. Our legs got a good work out walking up and down Medellin's steep streets but unfortunately we didn't find anything that was quite right within our price range.

Next stop: Cali
 





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