A week has passed since my arrival to Colombia.
Isn’t it odd how events and experiences seem to determine our perception of time more than clocks and calendars?
I give Bogota much more credit than I had originally given it upon my arrival. My flight came in at 10pm and the dimly lit streets, flooded with partiers and locals gave me a feeling of uncertainty that I couldn’t quite shake. Perhaps it’s because mostly everyone I spoke to told me to “be careful” and to be hyper cognizant of my surrounds and my belongings while out there.
When you are somewhat inculcated with fear regarding something you have yet to experience, it’s hard not to project those insecurities and fears onto the said subject.
But of course, you learn (hopefully) from your experiences.
Luckily, and thankfully, I met an amazing roomie that I spent the following 48 hours with. She invited me to the graffiti tour the following morning, it was then that I started to fall for the city.
The tour was wonderful. Quite informative about the political, and socio-economical status of the city, and of the country. The art depicted much of the tension and turmoil that the habitants of Colombia have been experiencing for years. There was also art that spoke of beauty, sexuality, psychedelia, the native/indigenous connection to the planet, and intentions perhaps unknown to the viewers and maybe even the artisits themselves. It was also donation based, which I feel, made it much more authentic; it’s not something commercial that takes place solely for the purpose of profiting from tourism. You could tell the guide was very passionate about what she was doing and the information she was sharing. For anybody traveling to Bogota Colombia, I highly recommend the graffiti tour.
A couple days later I took an overnight bus to Salento, a quaint little town, known for its coffee farms, and the Cocora Valley, a beautiful hiking spot filled with palm trees.
I had not really been a fan of coffee, until I came to Colombia, Jesus Martin Cafe in particular. Oh Dios mío. Cold presses are now, my life. Most of Colombia imports all of the good coffee and leaves the mediocre stuff around, but this place was on another level. Imagine love-making, in a cup, medium roasted, and topped with a bit of almond milk. Yes, this is what it is like.
I also went on a coffee tour since I had time to kill before checking in to my hostel. This is also something I recommend for all of you coffee lovers travelling to Colombia. We picked beans, talked about the different types of coffee, and learned a bit about the production process. The tour ended with a cup of coffee that was a bit strong for me, but I appreciated the experience nonetheless.
The Cocora Valley hike kicked my butt. But the view that followed the strenuous inclines and steep declines made the sore muscles very much worth it. It was 6 hours of hiking through dense foliage and muddy tracks, but seeing the countryside of Colombia was a gift in itself, and the varying circumstances of the experience made it a venture worth recommending, for those traveling to Salento, Colombia.
Oh, Medellin. I heard that I would like this place. What was once the most dangerous city in Colombia is now the city in that travelers decide to reside in after visiting.
El Poblado, is the touristy area that most people who visit tend to stay in. It’s filled with shops and restaurants, bars and bakeries, hostels and hotels ready to welcome any venturer who walks through their doors.
The ‘Real City Tour’, a donation based tour that is a popular attraction on the collective traveller’s ‘to-do’ list, will show you a different side of Medellin. I think the name speaks for itself. We talked about Escobar, the drug trade, saw prostitutes marketing in front of churches and porn being sold on the streets. It was quite the culture shock, for sure, and also a reality check; most places aren’t only the glitz and Glam that is promoted by media or other travellers, on the inverse, there is an abundance of crime, theft, poverty and transaction of paraphernalia, enough to balance the scale, if not tip it in its favor.
Not to mention, someone on the street successfully opened my fanny pack yesterday, but I noticed in time to cover it with my hand and give him a snide “WTF?!” glare. I wonder if guilt is felt, at all, or if the desire for money supersedes any sort of sympathy/empathy.
But I made some friends, connections from different parts of the world. Many of which who have left their jobs back home and decided to travel the world. My heart, calls for it. Will I answer? If so, what will I say?
Perhaps I shall soon find out. In the meantime, I’m planning on making the most of my last week of traveling. ❤