Medellin, Guatape - Guatape Medellin
Trip Start Jan 31, 1996
301Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Black Sheep Hostal
Medellin, with a population of 2.5 million, sits in a narrow valley surrounded by mountains. Clay coloured high rise apartments and office buildings dominate the valley floor and climb up the hills toward the mountain peaks. When I first heard about Pablo Escobar getting shot on a rooftop while trying to escape his captors in Medellin, I'd envisioned him running across single storey colonial buildings, maybe tripping here and there along dilapidated broken clay tiles. But after seeing Medellin, I began to conjure up a Spiderman-like Escobar, swinging from one 40 storey tower to the next
At just under 1,500 metres above sea level Medellin has been dubbed the City of Eternal Spring. But it’s not like any spring you’d find in or around Toronto. The days are fry an egg on the sidewalk hot, but granted, the nights are pleasantly cool. It’s a city where doctors who work with plastic must be the wealthiest of the wealthy. Where pretty is another level altogether. Women, tall and short, have the most gigantic, perfectly formed breasts in all the world here in Medellin. It’s a place where women’s clothing designers obviously require special training. Those who can afford it will have their arses and lips made proportionately larger too. Doctors from the USA could take lessons from their counterparts in Medellin, given the results we’ve seen with Cher and Bruce Jenner. And in a city where women bounce right back up if they happen to fall while on the dance floor, what more could a John Travolta, Saturday Night Fever, kind of guy ask for.
Ellen didn’t like the big city. We decided to visit the town of Guatape, a two hour bus trip from Medellin. With a population of only around 2,000, Guatape is 500 metres higher than Medellin, sits on a lake and gets downright cold at night. It’s a beautiful little town where the bottom portion of each and every home is brightly painted in the owner's signature design. It’s also a town that not so long ago was off limits, even to Colombian tourists, who were trapped in their own towns and cities because of the violence that resulted from the drug trade
But now all has changed. Even the police, instead of carrying machine guns, tote simple shotguns and pistolos. The town square (parque central) is surrounded by little eateries and billiard parlours. One of the pool rooms had tables I hadn’t seen in years; pocketless three ball carom tables, where in order to score a point, the player hits both of the other balls with a single shot from his cue ball. Remembering how good I used to be at caroms, I watched a couple of fellows play for about five minutes, hoping they’d ask me to join in, then snuck off when I realized how easily they would have beaten the crap out of me. At an outdoor restaurant we ate fresh caught trout, butterflied, then fried in garlic and washed it down with cool Club Colombia cerveza. We didn’t even go near the lake, but Guatape was still one of the hi-lights of our trip to Colombia.