Monday, 12 December 2011


I can't seem to keep on top of my updates, and to think that before we started travelling I worried in case I would get bored. No chance! It's a struggle even to check email, write the diary, write on here every now and again, book hostels for where we're headed and read up on them. It's amazing how far from your life you become, and how quickly you get used to it: following basic needs like eating, sleeping, excreting, seeing and learning. A huge indulgence, where your time, your day, tomorrow, is all your own. 
     In every hostel you have to fill in your name, age, occupation and passport number. Marketing and communications feels very alien right now. Once I wrote Engineer. I think I'll make up a new occupation wherever I go, ha!
     Once we left our adoptive Colombian family we headed for Salento, in the coffee region; a tiny little town beside the Cocora Valley, where the wax palm trees are that are symbolic of Colombia. We spent a day walking through the mountains, crossing rivers on bouncy bridges and jumping over cow pats and horse pats (can you call horse poo pat?). After a few days here and lots of rain, we went to Medellin, the land of the Paisas. I learnt afterwards that the Paisas get their name from back in the day when Antioqiua wanted independence from Colombia, they wanted to become 'Paisa A', 'Country A' with A for Antioquia. Interesting huh? And the Paisas are different. They have a recognisably different accent and are uber friendly. I also later learnt that in this region a strain of Alzheimers is common here, possible due to a Basque back in the 18th century who moved here and who had over a hundred children. The family is now up to 5,000 members and through them and lots of intermarriage, the strain has grown. There is now a study here into Alzheimers. That's my lot for silly information for today.
     Two interesting things to tell of our experience in Medellin are that we went up the cable car to Santo Domingo which was a day to remember. Walking down that slope gave me thighs of steel (if momentarily). It was a gradient of 50 degrees I swear. Later we were told that walking down there a few years ago we would have come out naked. I'm glad it was this year we did it. This change may well have something to do with the fact that a huge library of modern architecture has been built here and a metrocable developed to join this poor area with the city. The mayor invested a lot of money in improving the situation for the less fortunate, which not many mayors around this neck of the woods do. 
     The other thing of interest is that we had a run-in with a mad American off his head on drugs at 10 am on Sunday morning. It was like seeing someone thinking he was in a computer game, scarey at the time, sad in retrospect.
     From Medellin we went north to the Carribbean, Yeah baby. 

More of that soon.