Silicon Valley...

Trip Start Apr 05, 2008
Trip End Jul 19, 2008

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Flag of Colombia  ,
Sunday, June 15, 2008

Somewhere in the Medellin night, after an indeterminate number of drinks, in a random, unidentified bar, a conversation much like the following took place:

'Nup.  No way'.
'Yeah.  I reckon.  You can tell the difference.'
'Aha ha.  I agree.  Definite difference in shape.'
'Yeah.  But there's no way that they could be'.
'You reckon?  Compare hers to hers.  Definite extra perkiness.'
'I'm still not convinced.  They're too good to be real.'
'Why don't you just ask her?'
'What?  Ha.  That would be funny.'
'Yeah.  Go on.  Or I will.'
'I don't know.  That's pretty random.  Imagine if someone came up to you and...'
'C'mon'.  It's the only way to settle it.  Fuck it.  I'll do it...'

Somewhere in the Medellin night, after an indeterminate number of drinks plus a few, in a random, unidentified bar, a further conversation, much like the following, took place:

'What the fuck did you touch them for?'
'She said I could.'
'And so you just grabbed them?'
'Definitely?  Did she say so?'
'What did she say exactly?'
'They're real.  Good hmm?'
'In english?'
'In english.'
'Fuck off'.
'Y'know, that's the first time I've ever touched a pair of breasts other than my own...'

Conversations similar to teh above are, probably, not uncommon in Medellin.  It is, apparently, the plastic surgery capital of the world.  Or at least close to.  Such a place has a significant reputation to live up to.  However, Medellin does it with aplomb, cosmetic surgical intervention striking you anywhere you turn.  Seriously everywhere. Indeed normal.  If you don't have them, you're the odd one out.  Old woman have them.  Girls far younger than the legal drinking age have them.  Yes, I even saw a cat that had them (this may or may not be true).  I read somwhere, but I now don't recall where, that the prevalance of silicon in Medellin is largely due to Medellin's former status as the centre of the world cocaine trade.  Apparently.  Don't ask me why that means fake body parts all over the place - I guess drug lords liked them big.  In any event, the reality remains, and it is one scary, bouncy and far too perky reality.  Ha.

The theory attributing Medellin's curvaciousness to the drug lords is, indeed, a popular theory.  However, my own personal view is that the female of residents of Medellin are paying homage to the great Colombian artist, Fernando Botero.  Medellin born and raised, Botero's sculpures dominate the public artistic landscape of central Medellin, his ludiscrously proportioned, voluptuous and humorous bronze figures in the Plaza Botero in particular a highlight.  If you are not familiar with Botero's work, I can probably sum it up for you in a single word - fat.  Not 'ph' fat.  Just plain old 'fat'.  LIke everything being seen through one of those crazy mirrors that makes everything look fat.  Not 'ph' fat.  Just plain old lazy bastard fat.  Having viewed a reasonably large collection of his work in Bogota, it's clear to me that his work is at its most impressive in sculpture - the central focus of his work, the roundedness aka 'fat', most effective and striking when experienced in three dimensions.  Fat.  Not 'ph' fat.  Just good old 'if it sits on you it's gonna hurt' fat.

Speaking of which, my ass hurts.  Too much information?  Reflecting back on my time in the Medfeelin area, it occurred to me that the majority of my stay was spent sitting.  I attribute this pain in my ass to all of this sitting on it.  It's not my fault though - hear me out.  Firstly, Medellin's zona rosa is made for sitting around on your ass, hurting it, drinking coffee or, if you don't mind a dabble, with a bit of beer, rum or tequila.  The upside is, if you are one of those people who don't mind sitting around on your ass, adding to its general pain, having a dabble, you are at least likely to be surrounded by some of the most beautiful people that a single city has ever seen - up there with Split, Croatia (top of the Top 5).  The leafy cafe and bar zone of Medeelin is luxurious if not cheap.  Around the Parque Lleras, restaurants, bars and clubs fan out like the numberous shady umbrellas that sprout above, greeting the more-often-than-not surgically enhanced in the evenings with the repetitive rhythm of Reggaeton.  Far too much sitting around here.  My ass is not happy about it.

However, following a conversation that I had with my ass last night, it seems that it is far more concerned with the amount of time that it's been sitting on a bus.  Its point, generally, was '2 day trips and then an overnight bus?  What the fuck?  You're killing me...'  Indeed, my ass was making a fair point.  After listeng to its argument, i accepted responsibility for one of the day trips - the 6 hour return journey to Sante Fe de Antioquia, a small colonial town out of Medellin - which was probably not worth my time or subsequent pain in the ass.  However, the other day trip I vehemently defended.  This trip was the trip that I like to call The Trip of the Devil of the Death from Hell to 'El Penol' - 'The Stone'.  Now, there are 2 rules in life that I have found to be undeniably true.  The first is 'always bet on black'.  I have Wesley Snipes to thank for that one.  The second rule is that anything called 'The _____ (insert single word)' is always fucking cool.  After my visit ot 'The Stone' my confidence in this rule has grown no end.  And ever since my visit to 'The Stone', I have been unable to stop saying 'The Stone'.  Unfortunate, isn't it?  Rising out of the water a couple of hours from Medellin, The Stone is the highlight of an extraodinarily beautiful man-made reservoir.  According to a middle aged Colombian-American dude that I met at The Stone (6 The Stone references for anyone who is counting), this area was dammed about 40 years ago, flooding the area and an existing town in the process.  Legend has it that following a hot Medellin summer, the old church of that town emerges from the flooded waters as a reminder of that town.  Cool.  From The Stone, the reservoir spreads out and surrounds, the damming creating a hypnotic archaepeligo of tiny islands as far as the eye can capture.  Brilliant.  The highlight of Medellin no doubt.  The Stone.  The Stone.  Say it with me.  The Stone...

So, to the Top 5.  A big part of latin america is latino music.  And of course, dance.  Ground shaking reggaeton, salsa, meringue, samba, cumbia.  But it seems that one thing the latinos are not so good at is the ballad.  So much so that they have resorted to stealing a heap of english language ballads and spanicizing them.  Through the streets, cafes and buses of south america, I've heard them.  Here are the top 5:

5.  Angels - formerly Robbie Williams
4.  Everything I do, I do it for you - formerly Brian Adams
3.  Careless Whispher - formerly George Michael
2.  2 out of 3 ain't bad - formerly Meatloaf
1.  Total eclipse of the heart - formerly Bonne Tyler

To the Caribbean Coast.  Cartagena and Santa Marta...
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