In Medellin for a week now and loving the vibe of this energetic city. My observations so far are that it’s young, fun, and changing really quickly.
I first heard about Medellin maybe 6-7 years ago when some friends of friends had come back from extended stays there. “Colombia? Is it safe?”, I had asked. Fast forward to 2018 and Colombia is a poster child for transformation. The drugs and violence of the past have diminished drastically and the locals are positive and proud of where they are today.
The Metro system of Medellin is the hallmark of this attitude. Constructed ~30 years ago, this is the only metro system in Colombia and the Paisas (locals from this part of the country) are super proud of it. My Paisa guide during my city walking tour informed us that any litter, graffiti, etc. on the metro is extremely frowned upon, but those rules don’t apply as soon as you’re not on the metro system! The coolest part of this metro system are the gondolas that are part of the public system! Medellin is a city that sprawls out from the centre of a valley, so the outskirts of the city climb up the surrounding mountains. I had the chance to take it from San Javier station to La Aurora and got a chance to see the glowing lights of this sprawling metropolis at night — all for 2400 COP (~$1 CAD).
Paisas are so friendly, and though the majority do not speak English, some of the younger ones here do. At a few of the language exchanges I’ve been to, they are patient and eager to help me practice my extremely limited Spanish. These Colombianos are keen and smart; most have taught themselves English and are well onto learning a third or fourth language. I feel like such an amateur. Everyone, from the little old man who went out of his way to help me on my first morning when I was lost looking for my Airbnb, to the friendly senorita at the corner shop who patiently helps me recharge my SIM card, has been so helpful and nice.
There are already a lot of expats here, mainly digital nomads or those on extended travels who came and liked it so much they decided to stay longer. It’s also a place for retirement, I’m told, where your pensions and savings from North America can go a lot further.
There are virtually no asians here; I get a lot of looks walking around. I think I found the only place on the planet where there are no Asians 🙂
Photos of a lot of graffiti and street scenes shared here.