Posted by: Larzizou | August 11, 2008

Medellin, Colombia

Medellin, oh Medellin. A common cultural heritage probably associates Medellin either to Pablo Escobar (alternatively, El Patron or El Doctor) for drugs or Hollywood afficionados, or to Fernando Botero for the most sensitive to art. Today, the influence of both can still be felt in the city’s mean streets. Although it is raining intermittently for a good portion of the day, sun does shine in between on the upscale zona rosa.

After having spent a night with my two Israeli pals at the Blacksheep hostel, I decide to move to the more happening Casa Kiwi, right above the parque Llares. Translation : the place to be. Casa Kiwi has been open for close to four years by an American from Seattle in his early thirties, with no plan to ever go back.

The place comes close to being the best hostel I have been too. It helps as well that Colombia is notoriously cheaper than all the other countries I have been to in South America (with the exception of Bolivia). For little more than 30 USD, this is the huge room I get : Japanese furnitures, one double bed and one single bed.

In the hostel, I almost only see males, no women. Are my senses betraying me ? Is that because no women no cry ? No and no. I inquire to the master of ceremonies who tells me that the ratio male / female visitors is about 90 / 10.

The not-really-hidden reason is that Medellin girls are reputed to be the most beautiful in the entire country. I have seen some stunningly beautiful women in Bogota, especially at the club Alma where I spent my last evening out, but it does not come even close to what you can see at night around el parque Llares in Medellin. It is outrageous. Even more considering what I have incessantly heard around South America for the past few months : Colombian boys are not up to par with their female counterparts. Arbitrage opportunities to exploit… The parque llares.

As I am reading my new emails at Casa Kiwi, Sam, an Australian sitting next to me, who has been in Medellin for a few days, negligently drops an eye on my screen and screams “I know this girl !” This girl is Carolina, a native of Medellin who had just replied to an email I sent her through my friend Youri, inquiring about what there is to do in Medellin.

Sam goes on “she is waiting in front of the hostel, right now”. I am incredulous : how can it be ? Sam must be confused. As it happens, Sam had met her in a club the day before and they had agreed to meet up at the hostel. When she comes into the guest houste, she confirms that she is, indeed, Carolina, who just replied to my email, and know my friend Youri.

It gets even more coincidental as I learn that Youri had met her in Buenos Aires (she just returned from Buenos Aires where she spent a year), when we were there together. That the very afternoon we were booking our boat tickets to Punta del Este together with Ouah-lait, he saw her in Florida street with her family and had a chat with her, while we were waiting and strolling a few meters away.

Me, her and Sam.

Graphic art on the city’s walls.

We take the subway to go downtown and then a cable car up the hill that overlooks the city.

This area is much poorer than where we reside.


Our international group composed of Australians, an English man, and obviously a French person.

Corporacion Mundial de la Mujer translates into The Global Company for Women. Isn’t it sexist ?

We then take the subway back to the city center…

On the city’s main place, masterpieces from master Botero.

The reason why the penis is in a slightly different color is because… people touch it ! True story.

My fiancee.

Men have always been – and will always be – women’s slaves. Below, a very typical scene in Medellin : la senorita made el gordo lose his head and walked on it.

El Herbario, one of the best restaurants of Medellin. Swanky design too.

So far, I have said male backpackers, not always on their right minds (see picture immediately below), were visiting Medellin for its appealing chicas

For the sake of being exhaustive, I must add that many of them also come for drugs. Doing (pure AND cheap) cocaine at any time, even after partying, before going to sleep at 6am, or in the afternoon, is an attraction to Medellin – and more generally to Colombia – in itself. Below, people considering the pros and cons of doing some at 6am.

At a cafe, in the Oviedo mall. Guess what I am looking at…

This ! An important portion (some even say a vast majority) of Medellin’s (beautiful) women resort to plastic surgery. Colombia is at the cutting edge in this discipline. After all, weren’t calves implants conceived and first performed in Cali ? To put things in perspective, you need to know that a nose job performed by the best cost no more than 1,500 US dollars. Stepping into Medellin for the first time is a terrifying experience for a young man, probably quite similar to entering a theme park named BBL (Big Breast Land). I am pretty sure the girl on the right with the black t-shirt has fake breasts.

This is Josh, a future law student in New Heaven, on a quest to learn Spanish (he schedules a plethora of rendez-vous with Colombianas to that end). I met him at my hostel in Bogota and again here. Getting prepared to seduce the prettiest girls in town (a.k.a. drinking).

The only club open after 4 am. Reputed to be full of drug dealers and prostitutes. Not the best place I have been to, but I met a gorgeous Brazilian girl from Minagerais. Too bad her friends pressured her to go.

The local tabloids. France’s “first lady” naked on the cover. No comment.

Carolina, met in a club, teaches me more about the country and its people. The picture is not so rosy as it seems in a (male) tourist eyes.

About 80 percent of the population is poor, students prostitute themselves to make ends meet, druglords still have undue influence, and so on. However, not having to experience that, I decide to stay one more day – and enjoy greatly.

My last meal in the city, at Mezeler.

The food is excellent and combines Lebanese influences with local flavors (yummy yuka).

Re-reading it, I find this post to be extremely mediocre. Oh well…

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Responses

  1. Hi!
    I found your post searching for articles about Medellin. Although I don’t agree with some things you said about Medellin I am really glad you enjoyed my beautiful city and us pretty ladies.I specially enjoyed the pictures, some of them gave me butterflies. (I live in New York but was born and raised in Medellin).
    and btw it is called El Parque Lleras.(not llares).and I also love that spot, nice restaurants n night clubs.
    Enjoy ur travels!
    Sonia V.

  2. The Brazilian girl you met was born in Minas Gerais, not Minagerais like you wrote. Minas Gerais is a big Brazilian’s state that is in the center of the country. It’s name means something like “general mines”. His capital, Belo Horizonte, is a famous city because it has beutiful girls and many good pubs. It’s name means “beatiful horizon”.

  3. Thanks for the info ! I have had the opportunity to meat other girls from Minas Gerais, and most of them were stunning. I’ll have to get there some day…

  4. I visited Medellin for the first time for 5 days last week. Much of what you wrote is right on.
    I fell in love with the city. We stayed in Pablado.
    I visited El Parque Lleras, Savaneta, and a few other areas I can’t remember the names of.
    We went to a club called Babylon where women got in and drank for free (Ladies Night) and we paid the equivalent of $15 and drank free til 1:30 am.
    No matter where we went, or what (or who) we did, we always got our money’s worth and then some.
    The ladies were outstanding, and yes, bring your Spanish “A” game, as English is not spoken much if at all.
    We will all be coming back. I can’t wait.
    Deisy y Valentina, Mucho gusto conocerte !!

  5. I remember from when my wife & I lived in Medellin for the school year 1986-7, while we taught the COLEGIO CRISTOBAL COLON, I would pedal my Stumpjumper most days to work. When my wife received her bicycle, we would pedal together, and the showers at school were muy frio! I also remember us pedaling up and over the oriental, past the airport, going to Miro’s place. Another feature I remember is El Gordo, the fat one’s statue. But now I cannot find it anywhere in fotos. Does anyone have knowledge of this in Medellin? Please reply. Thanks! Gracias!


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