Last night after uploading photos and blogging I headed down to the hostel bar. When traveling solo it is a necessity to strike up conversation with others so that you don’t spend your evenings by yourself. I asked what they were drinking (rum and cokes) and joined them. The Medellin Anejo is a pretty good rum in my opinion. I’m considering updating my Beer and Pizza reviews to include Rum. Beer, Pizza and Rum reviews.
After about an hour of talking and the usually travel pleasantries like where are you coming from, where are you going, how long will you be here, we started to plot the evening. The French guy, Julian has been going back and forth between Colombia and Central America while the Brit, Guy, is heading home in a couple of days. Since Guy is leaving tomorrow night he wanted to check out the Luces de Navidad last night. I planned to eventually go see them but joining along with two others was a better idea.
So, luces de Navidad, what can i say… they are by far the most incredible display of Christmas lights that I’ve ever seen. Cities within Colombia compete but Medellin always win. The river that goes through Medellin is light up and has fountains and lights that stretch as far as the eye can see. There were water fountains with children playing in them and families just having a great time. We took some photos of each other and headed to the bridge for a better look at the river. We were standing there for no more than a few minutes and a family came up to introduce themselves. A man with his wife and his mother were enjoying the Christmas lights as well and offered us some shots of Aguardiente (think Ouzo or Sambuca for Colombia). The people in Colombia are so incredibly friendly. I am having such a good time meeting locals even if I can only understand 1/4 of what they say.
After the lights we headed back to El Poblado where the hostel is, in order to change into clothes to go out. All three of like electronica so we tried to find a place to go. Unfortunately, Wednesday night isn’t very happening so we ended up staying close to the hostel and ate at a really good Mexican restaurant in Parque Lleras. It was perfect timing because Medellin was playing a huge soccer match against another Colombian team in a final of some tournament. Medellin won, 1-0 and the party started. The entire Parque Lleras turned into a festival with flags waving and people chanting, it was quite the experience. We had a few beers and wandered around a bit. Guy ended up going to sleep but me and Julian wanted to head out again and some of the other people at the hostel, including the owner also wanted to go out. We ended up at a bar in Parque Lleras where we hung out for a little bit and I decided it was time to head back around 3am. I figured we’re probably going to hit up a late night club at some point so I wanted to save the money and didn’t want to risk seeing sunrise and wasting away today.
That being said, I still wasted today away. That’s OK though, I needed a down day. Guy is heading out on a night bus to Bogota tonight but Julian is staying a bit longer. The big group that just showed up last night includes a few Americans and Canadians who have either met up along the way in South America were already together.
So I made the executive decision to stay in Medellin for the rest of my time in Colombia. It is just too nice and too relaxing to leave. I’ll be missing some of the smaller towns but something tells me I will be back to Colombia soon. Medellin has met and exceeded my expectations as a cool city to be in. It is so easy to get around in and the people are so nice. There is a lot to do no matter what you’re into. On my way to this little café with wi-fi I saw a trendy little delivery Sushi restaurant. Now, I’m not saying I like sushi but that has to be a sign that your city is pretty cool. It kind of has a Holland V feel from Singapore. Now, this is just the El Problado/Parque Lleras region. There is still a lot more going on outside of this upscale area that I’m currently in.
Tonight looks to be pretty fun. A bunch of us from the hostel are doing the Medellin micro-brewery tour. 15 mil pesos ($7) for samples of their wheat, pale, and amber ales. It is supposed to be really nice. I had planned to do the Pablo Escobar tour today with Guy and Julian but that never panned out. I’m getting kicked out of my private room on Saturday and will be moving into a dorm. I’m actually looking forward to saving money by doing this. The dorm is $10 per night with a locker under the bed for my personal stuff. I’ve made friends with a few people so it won’t be as awkward. I’m not usually a dorm person but in this case it’ll be fine.