Pura Vida Travels - A Guide To Travel In Latin America








On Tuesday my amigo John gave me a tour of the city. Heís Colombian but lived in the states for many years so his English is excellent. Not only does he know Medellin very well but the political history of Colombia as well. It was a fascinating day and I learned an incredible amount about the struggles between the paramilitaries, guerrillas, and the army that have been going on for the past 50 years in Colombia.

We started off by going to the site of Pablo Escobarís grave. If you are not aware of who Pablo Escobar is Iíll give you a brief history. Pablo Escobar is the guy who brought the scourge of cocaine to the USA and the world. At one point he was actually the second richest man in the world. He built half the city of Medellin with drug money and had thousands of people killed in the process of building his empire. Itís an odd conundrum because he is revered by some and hated by most. It depends on whether he put food on your table or killed your family on what you think of him. You will notice that his grave isn't marked. The reason being he was afraid his enemies would come and dig up his corpse...



Cemetary

Escobar's Grave

My Amigo John

After the morbid curiosity tour was over we headed to Itagui and hopped on the metro to ride into town. The metro in Medellin is awesome. Itís a clean, fast, safe, and cheap way to get around town. The stop we got on at is the last stop on the southern side and we rode almost the entire length. At the northern end of the metro there is a cable car that goes up the mountain through the poorer neighborhoods to Santo Domingo. The government put it in 2 years ago to make it easier for people from these neighborhoods to get jobs but it has become a tourist attraction as well. The views on the ride up are spectacular. Unfortunately, the neighborhoods below are very dangerous areas. Up until a few years ago they were entirely controlled by guerillas that patrolled the streets wearing ski masks and carrying machine guns. Anyone that was caught out at night after 10 PM was shot and killed no questions asked.

I took a short video on the train by accident...I was trying to take a picture and had the camera set to video instead.



View Of Itagui

Me And A Cactus

Riding The Metro

Train Station

Medellin River

Medellin River

View From The Train

Me In The Cable Car

View From MetroCable

View From MetroCable

View From MetroCable

View From MetroCable

View From MetroCable

View From MetroCable

View From MetroCable

When you reach the end of the cable car line you are at an elevation of 7100 feet. Against my friend Johnís wishes we got out at the top and walked around a bit. It was VERY obvious they donít see many gringos in these parts. It was around lunchtime when we got there and there was a school right across the street that was having recess. The kids were waving at us, trying to speak English to us, and generally treated us like a curiosity. It was an interesting experience to say the least. Not wishing to press our luck we didnít wander very far or stay very long but it is an experience I wonít soon forget. On the ride down the hill there was a very cute girl sitting across from me. She kept smiling at me (another ego boost) and I asked to take her picture. Well, she was a pretty girl but camera shy.


End Of The Line

Playground

Sugar Cane Juice

Recess

Police Take Your Ticket

Pretty, Shy Girl

Riding Down The Mountain

Riding Down The Mountain

Riding Down The Mountain

At the bottom we took the train into el centro to have a look at the center of town. The first stop was the museo de Antioquia (Antioquia is the province that Medellin is in) that houses many works of Colombiaís most famous artist, Botero. The strange looking statues in the photos were all done by him and are some of his most famous works. This is not a place where you want to wander around too far off the beaten path. The police all carry machine guns here for a reason and itís not because they think they look cool. They are loaded and ready to be used so keep that in mind before bringing the family here.


Riding Down The Mountain

Get Your Ice Cream

Museo De Antioquia

Me And A Statue

El Centro

Botero Sculpture

El Centro


Click Here For Pics Of Day 3 In Medellin


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