Colombian Confusion

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During my first two weeks in Colombia I was really confused. It may seem that such amount of time is enough to know the country enough to write anything about it. In reality, I had too many expectations, so many that I was unable to perceive the reality that was just in the reach, waiting to be discovered.

I am travelling through Latin America for seven months now and I get surprised all the time by how many different flavours it has. You can find many similarities across from Mexico to Argentina, at some point you may just have the impression that every other country is not so much different to another. One of the best thing in travelling in Latin America is the amount of subtleties, ready for an attentive observer, a person willing to understand Latin America. Here are some of them.

Provincial motorbikes

The main transportation method for Colombian province is Chinese made, small motorbike, often worth something under a thousand dollars. Meant to carry maximum two people is able to transport up to five: a man, his wife and three kids. The motorbike runs around according to some exotic rules. And I don’t mean chaotic traffic where the biggest and loudest vehicles go first. I mean a simple rule, if you can ride there, you will go there. Wrong way, taking over without even looking whats ahead and everything in a mysterious rhythm of 40 kilometres per hour.

DSC03878Yarumal.

Death on a motorbike

Recently Medellin made a law which bans transporting a male passenger on a motorbike. Unfortunately it’s none of those funny “Absurd regulations from the US”, the reality is dark and dull. The regulation is aimed in contract killers that work in pairs. The job is simple and goes fast: the driver gets to the target and the passenger does the execution. That might be either black humour or the future of Medellin, but I see some place for women here.

DSC04236Medellin centre.

The best place to live?

They say: go and live in Medellin, it’s cheap, there is an eternal spring, nice people, good parties and beautiful women. I guess you can hide yourself in a bubble somewhere in rich El Poblado and pretend that everything is great. Actually I have the impression that many tourist actually believe that. Travelling on a motorbike teaches you that every city has its brighter and darker sides: the trip to the hostel involves seeing all different neighbourhoods of the city. And Medellin has many dark and unpleasant sides. Going through poor areas makes you understand, that besides few lucky people having the opportunity to enjoy their lives there are so many that are just struggling to make a living.

DSC04200Medellin centre, every afternoon Police has to make sure that after dark nobody of those remain there.

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