Spent the morning looking up things to do in Medellin, and the rest of the day not doing them. In the evening had a chat with the owner, Victor, and a pretty Israeli girl just arrived that day. Victor was in love, but he had an interesting way of showing it. He started an argument about Israeli politics, “you’re killing them” [about Palestinians].
“Of course, they’re killing us.” [about Israelis]. The owner walked off, not wanting any part. I stayed silent. You never change anyone’s mind in those kind of debates, and I didn’t want her to feel ganged up on. I think many Israelis already feel the whole world is against them. In a kind of ironic way. She also said there is no such thing as Palestine. That is technically correct in many places, as most of the world does not accept Palestine exists as a state, including Israel. This blog isn’t really meant to be political, so I don’t want to get into it too much, but because I’m not a smart man I’ll summarise my basic take on the situation below.*
We went to Poblado, the stylish neighbourhood, on the metro. It’s no New York subway or London tube, but Medellin is the only city in Colombia with a metro system using trains. And it’s up to a good standard. Although there are a variety of prices suggested, the lowest of which is 2,200 pesos. Yet all journeys seem to cost only 2,000, don’t trust the boards.
Poblado is the party neighbourhood. The most expensive gringo trap in the city. Unfortunately our Israeli friend doesn’t like reggaeton, and we couldn’t find a salsa place we all liked. But Poblado has a cheapskate option too. Get some beers and sit in the park, Parque Lleras, with everyone else too cheap to go to a bar. It’s basically your own outdoor bar and I prefer it compared to not being able to hear anyone I’m talking with. A magician gave us a private show, for tips. We had our beers and went back to our hostel.
*Just to alienate some of my readers: To me, the founding of modern Israel is similar to the founding of pre-revolution America. A large group of Europeans feel persecuted (quite rightly), travel to a faraway place, take the land from the natives under the name of their God. Fight, kill (and be killed) and drive the natives drive them into the worst places. The main differences I can see is that the land is a lot smaller, and the former Europeans also claim they were natives once which is true enough. If there’s no such thing as Palestine, then to me those people living there should be considered Israelis, but I’m an idealist.
This is how countries were and are made, sad as it is. And it leaves an indelible fear of outsiders – in most places it’s a fear of immigrants, just ask Donald Trump.