July 27th, 2010
*We hosted our first paying guests at Su Casa Colombia this past week: Haileigh, Ashley, Joanna and Colleen. All four live in or around beautiful San Francisco. Haileigh and Ashley arrived four days before Colleen and Joanna so technically they were the San FranTastic Two at this point, but let’s not split hairs.
Day two of Ashley and Haileigh’s visit was both Noah’s 28th birthday and the night of a huge fireworks celebration commemorating Colombia’s 200th birthday so we knew we had a big day ahead of us. Our first mission was to give the ladies a better view of Medellin, and where better to do that from the Metrocable?
The Metrocable is a gondola lift system connected to the metro lines that shuttles passengers to and from the hard to reach barrios located on Medellin’s steep mountainsides. Most gondola lifts around the world are used as ski lifts or for tourism purposes, but here they are used to connect otherwise isolated towns to the rest of the city, thus providing more job opportunities and reducing crime. Best of all, a ride on the Metrocable is free with the purchase of a Metro ticket!
The views from the Metrocable were impressive and really showed our guests a different side of the city. It was the first clear day in weeks so we took advantage of the opportunity to take several gorgeous photos of the valley. On our way back down the Metrocable came to a halt twice, which I’m sure happens whenever slower passengers get on, but this certainly made acrophobic Haileigh nervous while we were suspended in the air. I’m sure she’ll agree that the vistas and pictures were more than worth the scare!
Next on our to do list was to get the birthday boy a present he’d been wanting every since we went to Guatape in February. We finally found the game Sapo, kind of like corn hole or washers but with more opportunities for points, and Noah had to have it. We are looking forward to many a Sapo tournament in the days to come!
In the evening we set out on foot for the Medellin River where the fireworks show was taking place. Four lanes of highway had been blocked off along the water and we found ourselves shoulder to shoulder in an enthusiastic crowd that went on as far as the eye could see. The fireworks show was absolutely spectacular and too good for words so we have plenty of pictures and videos to make you feel like you were there.
After the show we found a nice spot on the grass next to the river for people watching and toasting with Medellin’s drink of choice: Aquardiente. After getting a photo with a friendly cross dresser we walked to the Metro and made a brief stop at Plaza Cisneros for a photo shoot with the 300 eighty-foot tall light sabers that were illuminated for the festive occasion.
Our night ended at Parque Lleras, the nightlife hotspot, where we drank more Aquardiente while waiting for our cousins and friends to arrive. Our group decided to go dancing at a club called Octavia, where I had to use a fake ID for the first time in years. It’s rare, but sometimes they will card you in Colombia. To say we cut a rug would be a gross underestimation. We cut the rug, they replaced it, and then we cut it again. It was a bad day to be the rug. There’s only one picture that can really sum up the night, and I think it really captures up the energy, movement, and our unwillingness to stay in one place:
Check out our blog tomorrow to read about our Rumba class with the fabulous Andrés, fork bracelets at the artisan fair, and our attempt at salsa dancing. To get our updates emailed directly to you, enter your email under the banner on the right hand side and click Sign Me Up!
March 25th, 2010
On the weekends we’ve been exploring different regions of the country and we’re still waiting to see a part of Colombia that doesn’t look like paradise. Our first week here we went to our family’s ranch (or finca in Spanish) 2 hours outside the city. It is the ultimate place to relax. We spent our time in hammocks, playing board games, watching two iguanas fight it out for the alpha male title, and star gazing while drinking wine. Our busiest day was the Cabalgata, a huge community organized horseback ride through the mountains. This is one of my favorite things to do in Colombia. After hours of riding on horseback everyone met up at the two local bars; live music at one, cockfighting at the other. You don’t get a more authentic experience than this!
We spent another weekend with our family at a finca in a part of of Colombia I’d never been to. Along the way we stopped at one of Colombia’s most iconic spots: El Peñol. It’s this giiiiiigaaaaantic rock in the middle of all of these lakes and islands. The view was spectacular and we were amazed at how varied the landscapes in Colombia are. We drove through a charming city called Guatapé which reminded us of Lake Arrowhead village, except every house had so much character with brightly painted patterns, we’d never seen anything like it.
This finca was at the base of these enormous mountains and we could constantly hear the sound of the rushing water from the bordering creek with water clear and clean enough to drink. Our crew of 13 people took a hike up the mountain and then cooled off by swimming in one of the many creeks. We spent hours playing a really fun game called sapo (frog) where you try to throw rings into one of 15 holes, including a frog’s mouth. Shockingly, this was a game I could beat Noah in, making it my new favorite game.