I am selfish. I am so selfish that I almost didn’t write this. In fact I’m still not sure if this is a good idea. Medellin was absolutely incredible.
It is perfect exactly the way it is, and I am terrified that once word gets out, it is going to be overrun and ruined by Americans and Europeans. There are already way too many English, Australian and German backpackers in that city. Once the Americans find Medellin they will try to turn it into another Costa Rica. That is why I don’t want to write this.
I guess it is too late to turn back so here goes. Medellin sits in a valley that is five thousand feet above sea level and it’s surrounded by lush green mountains that tower several thousand feet above the city. The Medellin River runs through the center of the town and there are several other mountain streams that flow into it. In Poblado, the area where we stayed, there is a stream that flows through the tree covered neighborhood. Even though it runs through a city of over three million people it looks like a jungle stream and has thick vegetation and massive stands of bamboo growing out of it. Medellin is the perfect balance of modern city and tropical mountains.
In Medellin, the temperature was perfect every day. It rained often but the rain usually passed in the time it took to finish my rum on the rocks. Once the rain disappeared the sky turned blue again and all that was left of the storm were delicate halos of clouds that caressed the tallest peaks around the city.
There were three lovely parks in Poblado that we walked through every day. The neighborhood was covered in beautiful old trees and if you looked up through their leaves you could see the city crawling up the green hills and Andes Mountains soaring beyond. The surroundings were so tranquil and beautiful that they gave me a sense of relaxed delight as soon as I walked out of the hostel.
Medellin had a great light rail system that ran next to the Medellin River and made getting around town easy. Over the course of the last eight days, Phil and I explored a great deal of the city. Literally every few blocks we would see something or someone and turn to each other and say “This place is awesome!” or “I’m moving here!” Even after a week we were still doing this. Around the fourth day my proclamations that I was going to move to Medellin became serious. I love the ocean, California and surfing but someday I am going to live in that city. Occasionally Phil would say, “How am I supposed to go back to Toledo after this.” I would calmly tell him that that is exactly the point of this trip. But in the back of my mind I was thinking, ‘How am I supposed to go back to Hermosa Beach after this?’
The Paisas, people from Medellin, seemed to get so much joy out of life. They were always smiling, laughing, kissing and dancing. In Medellin, any place with music playing and five square feet of free space was a dance floor. And trust me, these people could dance. No, that isn’t right, they couldn’t not dance. On several occasions I watched a waitress waiting for food or a tray of drinks and her feet were subconsciously moving with the music. Whenever I met a Paisas, they welcomed me to their city with big genuine smiles and a flash of positive energy. They knew they had something special and they like to share it.
Before I got to Medellin I was told that the most beautiful women in the world were there. I figured that there are beautiful women in every big city and Medellin probably had its fair share. I was totally wrong. It is an incontrovertible fact that the most beautiful women in the world are from Medellin. They all had spectacular eyes, smiles, bodies and skin, but there was also this glossy aura around them that cannot be described and that I have never seen anywhere else in the world.
I feel like a kid who has discovered a secret and magical playground. It is so wonderful that I have to tell someone about it, but I’m afraid that if word gets out all the big fat kids will show up and break the swings and the slides. It would be horrific to find something so miraculous and then destroy it by running my big mouth. Making a mistake like that would be impossible to live with.
No, wait. I was just kidding. Medellin isn’t that great. In fact Medellin is a terrible place. If you go there you will get kidnapped and shot. For the love of God, save yourself, and stay away!