Monthly Archives: January 2011
This place where the river runs North. Medellin. A sprawling city nestled between a few giant mountains. I’ve realized since arriving in Colombia that the streets are specific-product oriented. Looking for a new phone? Maracaibo es el calle para ti. There is one street of all hats, and the next is lined with lighting fixtures.
Today, wandering behind that church, the ornate black and white one, the one with all the big ole Botero statues, I found the street of dictations… Seven or eight old men sitting on crates behind old-school typewriters, eagerly waiting to take dictation, type out your c.v. or help you finalize that silly handwritten love note you haven’t had the heart to send as is. Supply and demand folks. Give the people what they need.
I took the metrocable up the mountain (to the North-East) today. As you get higher and higher the houses change from crumbling red brick to strapped together, recycled wood shacks. From rosy ceramic tile roofs to sheet metal. The paved roads become more intermingled with the red dirt ones. Laundry hangs from the line everywhere you look. Puppies rumble in the streets. A young boy asks me for money so I give him the soda in my hand. It’s all I have to give at the moment kid but it’s yours if it’ll make you happy.
Large black carrion birds scrounge uptown, or down river, from the city. A newborn on the train who’s ears are already pierced. I cherish these moments of introspection laid upon me by this (ever-shrinking) language gap. Once in a while it’s the less you understand, yet the more you take in.
What a beautiful place. I got in last night, calm as a kitten, despite my embarrassingly pitiful rendition of the spanish language. Arrived at the Cranky Croc, a hostel in La Candelaria. A funky little establishment with a quaint cafe, communal kitchen and mossy courtyard inside. Wandering around the city today I found myself coming to street corners and choosing my direction by looking for the next patch of trees or a photo-worthy piece of graffiti. Bought a compass for a dollar and a chocolate croissant for fifty cents. Looming over the city is a lush mountainside mostly shrouded in clouds. Wild flowers grow on the rooftops and besides all the road construction, the run-down, paint-peeling architecture invokes an exotic sort of nostalgia. Once again I find myself, a stranger in an unknown land, the scent of adventure at every turn.