Meddling in Medellin

Trip Start Mar 14, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Colombia  ,
Sunday, January 25, 2009

I found a cheap flight to Medellin Colombia so here I am....becoming the jet setting backpacker. And as luck would have it, my crazy Christmas mates from Australia are here too.   Natalie, Tom, and Chloe are performing the saintly task of volunteering in an orphanage on the outskirts of Medellin.  I am acting as the devilīs hand that encourages us all to go to the Zona Rosa, stay out too late, and then just sleep in when they have to get up for work in the morning.  However, after I settled in, I decided I would help out with the kids and be a chaperon on a trip to the zoo.  I like zoos so this seemed perfect.  My first concern was that I might have to change some kidīs shitty diaper.  But Natalie told me this group will be between about 8 and 14 years old and assured me they were all toilet trained. My second concern was that I just wonīt like them since school age kids annoy me after about 15 minutes and this was a 4 hour adventure.  Well, as it turned out, the kids were great.  They are really mature for their age, extremely respectful, and really look out for one another, probably because all they know and depend on is each other.  The kids are learning English but they pretty much suck at it so at least my translation services were a big help.  

The next stop took us into the country side.  Jorge, a Colombian medical student we met in Cuzco, took us to his familyīs country home where I demonstrated my Bar-B-Q skills and tolerance for Aguardiente...a Colombian firewater that will choke you to tears if you let it get the upper hand.

I was in Medellin four years ago so Iīve already seen most of the city and itīs museums.  But exploring via the new cable cars was something new.  The Metrocable system stretches from the city center to some of Medellinīs poorest neighborhoods.  Itīs almost like a poverty tour with an eagleīs eye view over the cityīs worst areas and living conditions imaginable.  For a country with so many wealthy people, the disparity between rich and poor was clearly evident here as I rode the multi-million dollar cable car system over the homes of people who probably survive on $2 dollars a day.

Medellin means goodbye to the Ozzies.  They all head home soon and Iīm on my way to the north.  I have an open invitation to visit The Gold Coast in Australia whenever I want so hopefully this goodbye is really just "see you soon." 
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