My first week in Medellin is something of a blur. I hadn’t started taking notes back and my memory isn’t so clear. I enjoyed myself. I intended to go on a walking tour which I signed up for. Unfortunately I got to the metro station early, couldn’t see anyone and wondered if I was in the wrong place. We were meant to meet in the north part of the metro station. I decided to follow my iphone compass. I walked to two different metro stations, thinking it was all one giant place. When I realised where I was it was too late to meet the tour. I think I walked south. Never trust an iphone compass, I often crosscheck the compass with the sun, but at noon that doesn’t help.
A few more Israelis joined our hostel. I believe it’s their tradition that after military service they go travelling. South America seems to be a popular destination. I imagine Asia is also popular. I’d also guess it’s rare for any of them to travel around the Middle East, if they’re even allowed to. I’m also told they’re not allowed in Bolivia, so I’m curious if I’ll meet any there. One guy was a chef, so one night we had a delicious hummus made from scratch, with bread. It’s a more filling dinner than you’d expect.
One of the Colombians, a soldier on holiday at our hostel, explained to us there were two Colombias. I think he did, he didn’t speak any English, and my Spanish needs improving. But from what I understood, there is the Colombia we get to see. The beautiful landscape, the friendly people and affordable lifestyle. The new, modernised Colombia. And then, mostly hidden from view up in the mountains and jungles, there is the serious poverty that hasn’t improved for the last 50 years. And the crime that goes with it. Selfish as it may be, I’m glad I don’t have to see that side of the country.