They say that the most beautiful women of Latin America can be found in Colombia and the city with biggest ratio of pretty girls is Medellin. So I was there and unfortunately I have to admit, that during my two week stay the prettiest girls I saw were… on the airplane to Fort Lauderdale in Florida.
In Colombia plastic surgery is quite cheap, easily accessible and common. There is even specific type of tourism called “Medical tourism”, where people (mainly women) from more developed places (usually the US) travel to Colombia just to improve their looks. And what’s interesting, while browsing the list of typical treatments I found “knee fat injection (?)” and “ankle fat injection”. To this day I was thinking that fat is supposed to be taken out of the body, but it seems that for some parts of the body it can be injected as well.
There is some dependency between Colombian women looks and availability of plastic surgery. I tried to find the reason for that and bumped into this website, where the author claims that due to drug wars many men were killed and todays women don’t have sufficient male partners. The competition among women is bigger but they can help themselves by improving their bodies. The source of this information is quite suspicious (the author wrote that there is seven times more women than men…) so I’ll just leave that as a curiosity.
My first night in Medellin was quite tough. After unusually productive evening, where I was able to match together couple of hundreds words, making a whole piece eventually little bit better then mediocre, I went to bed. I was lying down with this strange excitement, observing the rush of thought and waiting for sleep that wouldn’t come. Eventually I got to this strange realisation of a simple fact: “For sure! Here I am in Medellin, the city of Pablo Escobar, here you can get cocaine even in tap water”. Damn, I don’t want to know their methods of smuggling drugs.
Medellin was a city of Pablo Escobar, but that was 25 years ago, when he was still alive. After breaking the Medellin Cartel new organisations showed up and all the madness that Colombia witnessed for decades moved closer to the United States. Currently it bothers poor Mexicans, but that’s for another time.
Nightlife in Zona Rosa in wealthy El Poblado is full of tourists and street vendors that sell chewing gum, cigarettes and… coke. To be honest, I heard this magical sentence “Amigo, yo tengo cocaina! (Dude, I have cocaine!)” before, in Cartagena, in a daytime, on a street in touristy area. The dealer didn’t even try to whisper, but being little bit mysterious he accented his statement like he wanted to explain that my pointless, sunday walk is about to end, at last! Sometimes in Colombia if you have white skin and you wear flip flops it means the same as you would write “I’ll buy cocaine” on your forehead. But I started to build this knowledge about coke before, during my travels across Central America. Because their borders leak as hell.
The proximity of the source of white powder makes its quality and price much better than in United States or Europe. So much that sometimes during long hostel evenings, when everybody drink beer, the most popular person becomes the one that still has something left.
The cocaine industry has many different sides. Starting with farmers, that can grow coca and support their families, continuing with fat fishes and their cartels making profits that you can count in millions of dollars, there are corrupted politicians having their private and unofficial armies (paramilitary groups). Somewhere in the jungle hides leftist guerilla, but there are also regular drug traffickers, that risk their freedom but can make a lot of money really fast. And eventually there are those, that actually enable the evil machine: consumers in the US, Europe and Australia. They pay much more money than the price in Colombia, for the drug of a quality much lower than original. And they don’t have any idea what kind of problems drug business actually causes.
There is no way to estimate the size of this unofficial branch of Latin American economies, the times where the cocaine was a drug for elites are over. Demand, export and availability increases, the government of US loses the drug war, their citizens still consume, while in Mexico some gangsters abandon busses full of massacred bodies. Citizens of El Poblado in Medellin are happy with their wealth and their banks are looking for new ways to legalise money from drug trade. The states of Colorado and Washington legalise marijuana that you’ll be able to buy it from vending machine. Somewhere in Honduras, under the cover of night another little airplane lands with a new batch…
They say, go to Colombia, try cheap and good coke. It’s cheap for sure, I heard it’s quite good as well. You are not going to get my review though, because I didn’t try it. Even if I would, I wouldn’t have any other experience to compare with. Because I stick to green tea, yerba mate and coffee. Oh yeah, I drank some of that before my first night in Medellin…
“Colombian confusion” is on. During my work on this entry I heard the sad news: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Colombian writer and Nobel Prize receiver died today in Mexico. I don’t know his work, I just read a few pages of “One Hundred Years of Solitude”.
They say: read it. And you don’t even need to go anywhere, because Marquez, one of the greatest representative of magical realism, will take you on a trip you’ll never forget.